Jan 23

Black Intellectuals in the Age of Empire

Guest Lecturer: Corey D. B. Walker, Ph.D. Candidate, American Studies, College of William and Mary

Corey D. B. Walker is a Ford Foundation Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate in the Program in American Studies at The College of William and Mary. He is a contributor to the forthcoming Harvard Guide to African American History and has held research appointments at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.

ABSTRACT: African American cultural studies has paid inadequate attention to the formation of African American intellectuals in relation to the larger social, political, economic, and ideological constructs of the Atlantic world. Such an oversight is reinforced by the prescient observation of noted novelist Richard Wright when he writes in The Outsider, "[They] never expected to see a black intellectual and did not know when they saw one." In this class session we will explore the modes, manners, and methods in and through which certain African Americans began to self-consciously construct an identity and represent themselves as intellectuals around the turn of the century.


Hazel Carby, "'Of Lasting Service for the Race': The Work of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper," in Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist, 62-94.

Wilson J. Moses, "The Lost World of the Negro, 1895-1919: Black Literary and Intellectual Life before the 'Renaissance'," Black American Literature Forum, 21.1-2, (Spring-Summer, 1987), 61-84.

Michelle A. Stephens, "Black Transnationalism and the Politics of National Identity: West Indian Intellectuals in Harlem in the Age of War and Revolution," American Quarterly, 50.3 (1998), 592-608.


TEXT A Brief Biography of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper

TEXT A Brief Biography of W.E.B. DuBois

An Integrative Model of African-American Intellectual Formation

Opening Quotes