Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Pan-African Studies

Degree Program

Pan-African Studies, PhD

Committee Chair

Logan, Mawuena Kossi

Committee Member

McCormack, Michael Brandon

Committee Member

Story, Kaila

Committee Member

Siddiqui, Tasneem

Author's Keywords

W.E.B. Du Bois; Audre Lorde; pan-african development; problem of othering


W.E.B. Du Bois and Audre Lorde’s Pan-African Development: Remedies for the Problem of Othering is an Afrocentric reading of Black U.S intellectual traditions of self-definition from the late 19th to early 21st century. I argue that W.E.B. Du Bois and Audre Lorde adhered to two major Afrocentric principles: balance and justice. At the root of these principles is the understanding that binaries constructed as oppositions create unjust hierarchies. My theoretical approach is attuned to the distinct ways that Du Bois and Lorde communicated the importance of self-definition and Africana spirituality in relationship to other Black intellectual thought. Placing them in relation to other intellectuals in their time is a wholistic approach. An Afrocentric reading helps us to understand how Black feminist and queer thought cohere with Africana philosophy and spirituality. A wholistic Afrocentric approach to liberation is also an intersectional understanding of power. At the turn of the twentieth century, Du Bois had to balance being reflective about interlocking oppressions and taking action to remedy them. During the early twentieth century he balanced the Harlem Renaissance tactic of fighting negative representations through self-definition along with maintaining a strong economic analysis. After Du Bois and other civil rights leaders died during the mid-twentieth century, Lorde was keen to distinguish between spiritual and economic development. As she moved towards Pan-African spirituality, she theorized on how we should care for ourselves as individuals and in relationship to others.

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