How Does it Feel to Be a Problem? DuBois, Black Moralism and Secular Struggle for Change
Dr. Anthony B. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Rice University. Dr. Pinn is the founding director of Rice’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL). In addition, he is Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies (Washington, DC). His research interests include religion and culture; humanism; African American religious thought, religion and embodiment, and hip hop culture. He is the author/editor of over 35 books.
“The problem of the Twentieth Century,” Du Bois writes in The Souls of Black Folks, “is the problem of the color-line.” While undeniably impactful, what the color-line pronouncement points to, however, is only one dimension of a dualism, what Du Bois references as the “Negro Problem.” Shortly after making this statement, he asks a question: How does it feel to be a problem? In this lecture, Dr. Pinn will explore the manner in which Du Bois’s response to this question suggests the outline of a mode of moralism sensitive to the dynamics of blackness in the U.S. This Black Moralism pushes against the tendency to think about justice work as framed by the certainty of outcomes, and instead prompts a sense of struggle as perpetual rebellion without assurances. In this way it says something to and about secular humanism in a context of racial disregard.
Secular Humanism Studies; The Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts; Africana Studies Program; Department of Philosophy; Department of Religious Studies; Division of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Location: School of Informatics and Computing; Room (IT) 152
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