Article written by 2013 DPDF Postcolonial Identities and Decolonial Struggles: Creolization and Colored Cosmopolitanism Research Director Gurminder Bhambra, featured in Current Sociology, Volume 62, No. 4:
US sociology has been historically segregated in that, at least until the 1960s, there were two distinct institutionally organized traditions of sociological thought – one black and one white. For the most part, however, dominant historiographies have been silent on that segregation and, at best, reproduce it when addressing the US sociological tradition. This is evident in the rarity with which scholars such as WEB Du Bois, E Franklin Frazier, Oliver Cromwell Cox, or other ‘African American Pioneers of Sociology’, as Saint-Arnaud calls them, are presented as core sociological voices within histories of the discipline. This article addresses the absence of African American sociologists from the US sociological canon and, further, discusses the implications of this absence for our understanding of core sociological concepts. With regard to the latter, the article focuses in particular on the debates around equality and emancipation and discusses the ways in which our understanding of these concepts could be extended by taking into account the work of African American sociologists and their different interpretations of core themes.