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W.E.B. Du Bois, Race, and Human Rights

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Du Bois' sociological thought reveals an overlooked tension in the pursuit of human rights, a tension between universal human rights for all people, in general, and a race-specific human rights agenda for blacks, in particular. Du Bois recognizes both universal human rights for all individuals, groups, nations, and international bodies (regardless of race, gender, class, and other human divisions) and case-specific human rights for particular individuals, groups, nations, and international bodies (with regard to race, gender, class, and other human divisions). I aim to demonstrate why Du Bois' acknowledgment of universal and case-specific human rights, and dynamics of their interrelationship, improves contemporary sociological thought about the complexities of addressing human rights issues and provides a more nuanced model for human rights social action.

Affiliations: 1: Southern Methodist University


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