American Sociological Association

Invited Feature Review: The Enslaved, the Worker, and Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction: Toward an Underdiscipline of Antisociology

At the heart of sociology lies a paradox. Sociology recognizes itself as a preeminently modern discipline yet remains virtually silent on what W.E.B. Du Bois identifies as modernity’s “most magnificent drama”: the transoceanic enslavement of Africans. Through a reconsideration of his classic text Black Reconstruction in America, this article offers an answer to the paradox: a profoundly antisocial condition, racial slavery lies beyond the bounds of the social, beyond sociology’s self-defined limits. Consequently, even when actually dealing with racial slavery, social theories—even radical social theories, such as Du Bois’s Marxism—inexorably misrecognize it. Placing the enslavement of Black people at the center of analysis and drawing on the insights of Saidiya Hartman and other radical theorists in Black studies, an underdiscipline of antisociology is proposed as a collective project to provincialize the social and to more adequately account for the incommensurability of antiblackness.


Moon-Kie Jung





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