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Haverford College
Department of History

Paul Jefferson

Associate Professor of History

Office: 1 College Lane, #1
Phone: 610.649.7841




Professor Jefferson offers courses in American and in African American Intellectual History. To wit: History 243a, African American Political and Social Thought: Black Modernism, 1895-1945; History 247b, The Metaphysical Club: American Pragmatism in Theory and Practice; History 255a, American Intellectual History, 1619-1863; History 255b, American Intellectual History, 1863-Present; History 343a, Topics in American Intellectual History [inter alia: Social Science, Ideology, and Public Policy, 1890 to the Present; and American Constitutional Law: History, Theory, Sociology and Politics, 1787 to the Present]; and History 343b, Topics in African American Intellectual History [inter alia: Autobiography as History; Two Faces of Cultural Nationalism: The Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement; and Black Paris: Art and Ideology in a Modernist Diaspora, 1925 to 1975].


Specializing in the 19th and 20th centuries, his research explores themes of "agency under [institutional and disciplinary-linguistic] constraint," taking African American intellectuals as his primary cases in point. Reading between the lines of the liberal consensus on race relations that emerged prior to World War II, a consensus formed by the professionalizing imperatives of modern American social science, Jefferson reads the work of the first three generations of black sociologists--W.E.B. Du Bois, George Edmund Haynes, Charles S. Johnson, and E. Franklin Frazier--as instancing an ideologically equivocal [would-be] counter-racial discourse. Du Bois and Oliver Cromwell Cox are taken to be exceptions proving the homogenizing rule.

Recent publications


  • "Present at the Creation: Rethinking Du Bois's Practice Theory," in Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, volume 9; ed. by Rutledge M. Dennis (Greenwich, CT, 1996), 127-169. Roger Lane—