The Global Du Bois

The Global Du Bois brings together a series of data visualizations that challenge the long-held belief that W.E.B. Du Bois’s investment in decolonization is a later move in his intellectual trajectory. Data visualizations will offer researchers the opportunity to explore several data sets: Du Bois’s correspondence, indicating the global span of his interlocutors over the course of his life; Du Bois’s travels, demonstrating his remarkable carbon footprint; citations of his novels, offering strategic insight into how narratives of the global nature of Du Bois’s work have developed; and attendees of key pan-African events during the first half of the 20th century, illustrating Du Bois’s considerable network.

The visualizations are being developed as a digital project for Stanford University Press. I am building the frontend with Bootstrap and JavaScript, using Leaflet.js and D3.js. The backend is a minimal Node environment using Webpack and Babel. The data lives in csv files. Currently, the backend is complete, the front end is almost finished, and I’m in the weeds of data curation.

Photo of the homepage of The Global Du Bois

An older prototype of the project is Visualizing the Global Du Bois, a map of Du Bois’s correspondence built in Neatline.

Photo of the prototype of Visualizing the Global Du Bois: a map with circles indicating locations of Du Bois's interlocutors

Link: The Global Du Bois