This past Friday, an array of Oglethorpe students and faculty gathered to hear a talk given by Dr. Obie Clayton from Clark Atlanta University regarding W.E.B. DuBois’ influence on the field of sociology. Dr. Clayton has long list of impressive achievements as he is the Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan, an ASA Edmond Ware distinguished professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and Director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creativity.
Through the course of this lecture, which is a first in a series relating to sociology, many ideas about social issues were discussed, specifically as they pertain to the black American experience.
Over the course of an hour, the life of W.E.B. DuBois was discussed as it pertained to his work. Topics discussed included DuBois’ childhood in the north and his experience as he moved to the then segregated south for college. Experiences like this, among others, would be the foundation on which his later work would be based. He wondered why some people had to experience an inferior lifestyle. He investigated the social circumstances that would answer queries such as: Why would one person end up going to college versus another going to prison?
DuBois is perhaps best known for being an advocate for a liberal arts education for African Americans. His conclusions were based in painstaking research that studied the lifestyle of black Americans. It became his opinion that a liberal arts education was the best path for African Americans to take as a means of social mobility. Essentially, DuBois was of the ideology that one cannot just learn about something, like these societal issues, and do nothing about it.
This experience was extremely enriching and offered the chance to discuss topics that may not be covered in a class. It was interesting talk that went more in depth and taught new things about someone that most people have only vaguely been introduced to. Anyone with any major could stand to benefit from these talks as they share diverse perspectives that can then be applied to any discipline.
If you would like to take part in one of these lectures, simply check out connect.oglethorpe.edu to see when the next talk in the series is occurring. Currently the next talk is scheduled for Friday, September 14 on “Experiments in Sociology.” It will be held in the Earl Dolive theatre, located on the second floor of the Philip Weltner Library. Be sure to come out and learn something new!