Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Deegan, Mary Jo. (2011). “Archival Methods and the Veil of Sociology.” Pp. 123-140 in Rethinking Race and Ethnicity in Research Methods, edited by John H. Stanfield, II. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.


Copyright 2011 Mary Jo Deegan


Archival methods of research are crucial to reconstruct. interpret. and evaluate contributions of early sociologists that are hidden behind the veiIs of racism and sexism. Many of these founding sociologists profoundly shaped their communities and created important organizations to combat social inequality and injustice. Their lives as intellectuals were frequently controversial. which made them political anathemas to mainstream sociologists, usually white males working in prestigious universities who wanted money. fame, and prestige for the new discipline and its leaders.

In this chapter, [recount how r began a career using historical research to understand the rich. alternative history of the profession. First I discuss how my biographical location led 10 questioning mainstream accounts of the social construction of the profession. Then I discuss four projects to show how this research method emerged from the people and topics I analyze. The first major study in which I used and developed this method was Jane Addams and the Men of the Chicago School. 1892-1920 (Deegan 1988a). Although this was not a study in race relations, I developed my archival expertise and methods doing it. I subsequently applied this technique to three projects in race relations: ··W. E. B. Du Bois and the Women of Hull-House . 1896--1899" (Deegan I 988b). A New Woman of Color: The Collected Writings of Fannie Barrier Williams (2002a) and Race, Hull-House, and the University of Chicago: A New Conscience against Ancient Evil (Deegan 2002b).