Du Bois Visiting Scholar Talk: JingJing Zhang
Thursday, August 1, 2019
W. E. B. Du Bois Center
W. E. B. Du Bois Library, Floor 22, Room 2220
W. E. B. Du Bois: Propagandist and Prophet
It is widely acknowledged that Du Bois’s legacy has been largely defined by his political involvements. In contrast to his rival Booker T. Washington who had a talent for speech, Du Bois diligently “wrote” himself into the leadership of the African American civil rights movement. Whether through journalism, academic research or literature, “Du Bois was fearless in the face of genre - even when some of the genres that he sought to embrace did not fully embrace him in return.” (Henry Louis Gates, The Black Letters on the Sign: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Canon). Though he never gained the title of novelist, as a propagandist, Du Bois fearlessly crossed the borders real and imagined to define and interpret his understanding of race issues. He advocated his belief in the Talented Tenth (The Quest of Silver Fleece), the rise of Africa and Asia as a community of shared future (Dark Princess), the idea of socialism and Marxism (the Black Flame trilogy) through the practice of novels. This research mainly focuses on his speculative short stories. Du Bois investigates the future of race; meanwhile analyzing the “color line”, “double consciousness”, and the “veil” as well as their roles in forming the world with future perspective.
Jingjing Zhang is a 2019 W. E. B. Du Bois fellow and a visiting scholar in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at UMass Amherst from August 2018 to August 2019. She is currently a lecturer in Zhejiang International Studies University, Hangzhou, China. She completed her PhD in Foreign Languages and Literatures specializing in the tension between art and propaganda in Du Bois’ novels at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. She is now working on her provincial project, which is set to be completed in June 2021. The project will present the trajectory of Du Bois’ literary thoughts and his practice of them. It will also include the translation of some important pieces of Du Bois’ works.