W. E. B. Du Bois: Pioneer American Sociologist highlights the contributions of W. E. B. Du Bois on the field of sociology. Robert A. Wortham shines a light on Du Bois’s role in shaping the scientific scope of the sociological perspective through his pioneering contributions in the areas of demography, urban and rural sociology, Southern Black Belt studies, and religion and society. This book provides a journey through the extensive sociological investigations of one of the key figures in the development of sociology in the United States and globally.
Robert A. Wortham is now retired from academia but was affiliated with North Carolina Central University for thirty-four years (1988–2022).
List of Tables
Introduction: W. E. B. Du Bois—Pioneer American Sociologist
Chapter 1. Du Bois and the Atlanta Sociological Tradition, 1897–1910
Chapter 2. Pioneering Efforts in the Development of Scientific Sociology
Chapter 3. Philadelphia’s Seventh Ward—A Demographic, Urban Sociological Investigation
Chapter 4. Rural Sociology—The Farmville, Virginia Social Study
Chapter 5. A Black Belt Study—The Unpublished Lowndes County Survey
Chapter 6. The Atlanta Black Church—A Religious Economy Case Study
Chapter 7. Prayer as Social Commentary in Prayers for Dark People
Chapter 8. The Sociological Legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois
Appendix: A Du Bois Primer
About the Author
Sociologists educated before the 1990s probably encountered the name W. E. B. Du Bois. However, it is unlikely that they encountered his work. Wortham outstandingly details why all sociologists should have direct knowledge of Du Bois’s work. The neglect of his contributions is a glaring example of racism in the history of sociology in particular and in American scholarship in general. Although Du Bois (1868–1963) lived a long and productive life, Wortham concentrates on his pioneering studies during the period 1897–1910… Du Bois’s work was not limited to race. To quote Wortham, “his empirical approach to sociology, grounded in data-driven findings and addressing policy matters related to racial inequality and quality of life, characterized his approach to the study of sociology generally and of social problems specifically” (p. 3). This slim volume documents why Du Bois deserves the titular designation as the pioneer American sociologist. Recommended. Advanced students.
"Robert A. Wortham’s W. E. B. Du Bois: Pioneer American Sociologist is a must read! This book covers Du Bois’s important and often overlooked first tenure at Atlanta University, where he developed the first American school of sociology and made multiple groundbreaking contributions to research methods and substantive topical areas. If you are new to Du Boisian sociology and want to learn why he is considered the father of American sociology, this book is for you!"
"To highlight effectively the path-breaking sociology of W.E.B. Du Bois requires a text conveying keen interpretations of the relevant primary sources, as well as providing the readers with insights into the complexities, not only of Du Bois the sociologist, but also of the field of sociology itself. With W.E.B. Du Bois: Pioneer American Sociologist Robert Wortham has written such a book. Du Bois's signal contributions are all the more accessible to a wider audience due to Wortham's clear writing style and apt descriptions and explanations."
“This valuable book, which discusses Du Bois’s sociology, is long overdue. Wortham clearly documents the broad scope of the pioneering work in sociology proffered by Du Bois during his first tenure as a sociologist at Atlanta University from 1897 through 1910. His critical analysis, using an innovative format, offers a readable and accurate assessment of Du Bois’s significant pioneering contributions to American sociology, still largely neglected. The book includes discussions of the initial empirical research by an American sociologist, the initial program of African American studies, Du Bois’ monumental study of Philadelphia Blacks, and his Black Belt studies, among other pertinent information. This work adds to the existing evidence that W.E.B. Du Bois must not be overlooked as the founder of American sociology.”