CORVALLIS, Ore. - Harvard professor Tommie Shelby will discuss the challenge that class differentiation among black Americans poses for their political solidarity in the first lecture of Oregon State University's 2005-06 American Culture & Politics speaker series at 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 17, in Room 206 of Memorial Union on the OSU campus.

The lecture will examine W.E.B. Du Bois, legendary African American civil rights activist, scholar and poet of the 20th century. Focusing on his account of the relationship between black ideals, group solidarity and elite leadership, Shelby argues that Du Bois, while never fully rebutting the charge of elitism often made against him, put forward a conception of black solidarity that fuses moral principle, racial identification and self-interest into a basis for collective action across class differences.

This interpretation does not eliminate the threat of class-based fragmentation within the greater black population but does show that black American political cooperation is still possible and necessary.

Shelby is John L. Loeb Associated Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, where he is on the faculty of the Department of African and African American Studies. His research interests include political inequality and social justice.

Shelby has written "We Who Are Dark: The Philosophical Foundations of Black Solidarity" (to be released in November 2005), and his articles have appeared in such journals as Ethics, Philosophy & Public Affairs, Political Theory, Philosophical Forum and Social Theory and Social Practice.

Shelby earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh and has taught at Ohio State University. He currently is a visiting fellow at Princeton University's Center for Human Values.

The lecture series American Culture & Politics is presented by the Thomas Hart & Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities in cooperation with the OSU Department of History. For more information, phone 541-737-3421 or log on to

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Christie Schwartz, 541-737-8560