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Title page for ETD etd-07182013-224223

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rodrigues, Donald T.
Author's Email Address don.rodrigues@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07182013-224223
Title "Of the Meaning of Progress": DuBoisian Double Consciousness, Propaganda, and the Rhetoric of Scientific Racism
Degree Master of Arts
Department English
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Houston A. Baker, Jr. Committee Member
  • The Souls of Black Folk
  • racism
  • Du Bois
  • Social Darwinism
  • eugenics
  • double consciousness
Date of Defense 2013-08-01
Availability unrestricted
This thesis considers the function and purpose of propaganda across three notable moments in the career of W.E.B. Du Bois: his journalistic work for The Crisis, his sociological and curatorial work for the 1900 Paris Exposition, and his fictional and autobiographical work in The Souls of Black Folk. This paper argues that Du Bois's international public relations campaign built for the "new Negro" at the 1900 Paris Exposition, as well his vision of “progress” articulated in Souls, respond to violent and nonsensical rhetorics emerging from the journals and lecterns of prominent Social Darwinists and eugenicists. The implications of this project point toward a framing of Du Bois’s double consciousness as the ethical and epistemological foundations of a radical, pro-Black liberation movement in its infancy in the first decades of the 20th century.
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