"Of the Meaning of Progress": DuBoisian Double Consciousness, Propaganda, and the Rhetoric of Scientific Racism
Rodrigues, Donald T.
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.