Delegates of the second Pan African Congress in Bruxelles, Belgium (1921).
Image courtesy of University of Massachusetts Amherst, Special Collections and University Archives, W. E. B. Du Bois Papers Collection.

In August 2016, nearly 40 scholars gather at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association to initiate a discussion about the purpose of the Du Boisian Scholar Network. Acutely aware of the people who were not part of this first conversation, we agreed to reconvene in 2018 with a more diverse base of participants.

We invited scholars from around the country to Northwestern University on May 18-19, 2018 to deliberate and build consensus on the mission, vision, and organizational structure of the Network. The May Convening created space for community-building, critical reflection, and intellectual exchange among scholars who work within a Du Boisian tradition.

This coming year, we will invite scholars to Brown University on May 4-5, 2019 to continue building on this work.



The Convening took place at the Hilton Orrington/Evanston Hotel near Northwestern University.



Following the Pan-African Conference in 1900, W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida Gibbs Hunt organized a series of Pan-African Congresses. These Congresses brought together delegates from around the world to discuss and address key issues of the time, particularly those related to Africa and the African diaspora in the aftermath of European colonization. Discussions at the Congresses were organized around pre-selected topics, with each topical session beginning with remarks from invited speakers to provoke lively discussion among the participants. An important aim of the Congresses was also to develop and adopt resolutions to address these issues.

Inspired by the format of these Pan-African Congresses, the agenda for the May Convening was structured as follows:

FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2018

8:30am - 9:00am: Breakfast

9:00am - 10:15am: Opening Remarks and Provocation

  • Welcome/Introduction of the Provost of Northwestern University (Host Institution)
    Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Northwestern University

  • Opening Remarks from Provost of Northwestern University
    Jonathan Holloway, Northwestern University

  • Welcome on Behalf of Northwestern University Graduate Students
    Morgan Clark, Northwestern University

  • Opening Provocation: What is the problem of the 21st century? What is a Du Boisian sociology? Why a Du Boisian Network now?
    Karida Brown, University of California Los Angeles
    Aldon Morris, Northwestern University

10:15am - 10:30am: Break and Networking Opportunity

10:30am - 11:30am: Provocation #1: Epistemics of a Du Boisian sociology

  • Introduction
    Prabhdeep Kehal, Brown University

  • Remarks from invited provocateurs
    José Itzigsohn, Brown University
    Abigail Sewell, Emory University
    Earl Wright II, University of Cincinnati

  • General discussion

11:30am - 12:30pm: Provocation #2: Support and Mentorship for the Next Generation of Du Boisian Scholars

  • Introduction
    Rocío R. García, University of California Los Angeles

  • Remarks from invited provocateurs
    Vilna Bashi Treitler, University of California Santa Barbara
    Ricarda Hammer, Brown University

  • General discussion

12:30pm - 2:00pm: Lunch and Provocation #3: Using Du Boisian Sociology to Enact Social Change

  • Lunch (provided)

  • Introduction
    Debanjan Roychoudhury, University of California Los Angeles

  • Remarks from invited provocateurs
    Barbara Combs, Clark Atlanta University
    Tukufu Zuberi, University of Pennsylvania

  • General discussion

2:00pm - 2:15pm: Break and Networking Opportunity

2:15pm - 4:15pm: Breakout Sessions by Topic

  • Epistemic (Rogers Room)

  • Support/Mentorship (James Room)

  • Social Change (Bonbright Room)

4:15pm - 4:45pm: Break and Networking Opportunity

4:45pm - 6:00pm: Summary Reports from Breakout Sessions

6:00pm - 8:00pm: Reception (food and drink provided)

  • Introduction
    Kenneth Pass, Northwestern University

  • Performance
    Bomba con Buya (Afro-Puerto Rican ensemble)

Saturday, May 19, 2018

8:30am - 9:15am: Discussion: Building Insurgent Intellectual Communities Through Academic Publishing

  • Introduction
    Karlia Nicole Brown, Northwestern University

  • Panelists
    David G. Embrick, University of Connecticut
    Kimberly Kay Hoang, University of Chicago

9:15am - 9:30am: Break and Networking Opportunity

9:30am - 10:00am: Professional Development Discussion (Concurrent Sessions)

  • Navigating the Academic Job Market as Critical Race Scholars (graduate students)
    Introduction: Brandon Thomas Alston, Northwestern University
    Crystal Fleming, Stony Brook University
    Anthony Ocampo, California State Polytechnic University

  • Getting Tenure as Critical Race Scholars (junior faculty)
    Introduction: Saida Grundy, Boston University
    Amanda Lewis, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Alford Young, Jr., University of Michigan

10:30am - 12:30pm:  Provocation #4: Organizational Framework for the Du Boisian Scholar Network

  • Introduction
    Amy Chin, Brown University

  • Remarks from invited provocateurs
    Tina M. Park, Brown University
    Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz, Northwestern University
    Celeste Watkins-Hayes, Northwestern University

  • General discussion

12:30pm - 2:00pm: Lunch and Adoption of Organizational Framework Resolutions

  • Introduction
    Tunette Powell, University of California Los Angeles

  • Facilitator
    Mary Pattillo, Northwestern University

2:00pm - 2:30pm: Closing Remarks

  • Closing Remarks
    Marcus Anthony Hunter, University of California Los Angeles


It is important the Du Boisian Scholar Network include the diversity of scholars (and their respective institutions) working in a Du Boisian tradition. However, we recognize that many of our colleagues may work within institutions with more limited resources, or may not be affiliated with an institution at all, and may find attending the convening a financial challenge.

Through the generous support of Northwestern University, Brown University, University of California Los Angeles, and the University of Chicago, we were able to provide the meeting free of charge to participants.

In addition to hosting the meeting free of charge to participants and securing discounted hotel room rates at the Hilton Orrington/Evanston, the coordinating committee provided a housing accommodations to graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, as well as a limited number of travel grants to participants. 


NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: Provost's Office; Department of Sociology; Weinberg College; Graduate School; Department of African American Studies; Buffett Institute
BROWN UNIVERSITY: The Office of the Provost; Office of Institutional Equity and Inclusion; Department of Sociology
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES: Department of Sociology; Social Science Division; Scott Waugh Endowed Chair
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO: Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture



Aldon Morris, Northwestern University
José Itizigsohn, Brown University
Marcus Anthony Hunter, University of California Los Angeles
Kimberly Kay Hoang, University of Chicago
Michael Rodríguez-Muñiz, Northwestern University
Karida Brown, University of California Los Angeles
Tina M. Park, Brown University



Celeste Michele Watkins-Hayes
Mary E. Pattillo
Quincy Stewart
Brandon Thomas Alston
Erica Marie Banks
Karlia Nicole Brown
Morgan Rayon Clark
Yannick Coenders
Kenneth Pass