Annual Du Bois Lecture: Chad Williams, "The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War"
For nearly two decades, W. E. B. Du Bois attempted to write what he believed would be the definitive history of the African American experience in World War I. In this talk, Chad Williams explores Du Bois’s complex relationship with the history and legacy of World War I and what it reveals about the struggle for democracy, racial justice and peace in the 20th century.
Chad Williams is the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. Chad earned a BA with honors in History and African American Studies from UCLA, and received both his MA and Ph.D. in History from Princeton University.
Williams specializes in African American and modern United States History, African American military history, the World War I era, and African American intellectual history. He is widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost scholars on African Americans and World War I. His first book, Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2010) won the 2011 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians, the 2011 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History and designation as a 2011 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. He is also co-editor of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016) and Major Problems in African American History, Second Edition (Cengage Learning, 2016). His next book, The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War, will be published in 2023 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Williams has earned prestigious fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Ford Foundation and the Institute for Citizens and Scholars.
Williams has published articles and book reviews in numerous leading academic journals and collections, as well as op-eds and essays in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, and The Conversation. He has provided historical commentary for numerous television series, including The Great War (2018), Reconstruction: American After the Civil War (2019), The American Presidency with Bill Clinton (2022), and Black Patriots: Buffalo Soldiers (2022).
The Washington Post: The Buffalo shooting exposes how history shapes the present
The Conversation: As a patriot and Black man, Colin Powell embodied the ‘twoness’ of the African American experience
The Atlantic: Du Bois Gave Voice to Pain and Promise