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X-The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought$
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Nahum Dimitri Chandler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254064

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254064.001.0001

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The Figure of the X

The Figure of the X

An Elaboration of the Autobiographical Example in the Thought of W. E. B. Du Bois

(p.68) Chapter Two The Figure of the X
X-The Problem of the Negro as a Problem for Thought

Nahum Dimitri Chandler

Fordham University Press

Through the privileged example of W. E. B. Du Bois’ s 1940 text Dusk of Dawn: An Essay Toward an Autobiography of a Race Concept, this chapter shows how a critical autobiographical practice might sustain a self-reflexive theoretical account of the grounds of practices of self-identification. It poses the question of the limits of the reception of Du Bois’ s thought among major contemporary theorists. And, it proposes that Du Bois’ s critical account of the problem of identification - one can neither leave it nor keep it - from his turn of the century formulation of “double-consciousness” to his mid-century account, should be generalized to address questions of identity in general in America and across the modern era. Work by Edmund Husserl, Ralph Ellison, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Hortense Spillers, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak are addressed in the course of this exploration.

Keywords:   autobiography of a concept, example, concept of race, essence, categorical distinction, Dusk of Dawn, W. E. B. Du Bois

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