Paul J. Edwards is a Lecturer in History and Literature at Harvard University and the book reviews editor for The Black Scholar. Paul holds a PhD in American Studies from Boston University’s American and New England Studies Program, where he also completed a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. He received the Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship (2012-2015) and Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) research fellowship (2015-2016) and the Dissertation Fellowship at the Boston University Center for the Humanities in the Spring of 2017. During his time at Boston University, he served as the facilitator for BU’s Critical Pedagogies Forum. He graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelor of arts degree with honors in Music with a focus on ethnomusicology and American music history.
Paul’s current book project, Performing Blackness in Interwar Germany, reveals the extent of the effects of the New Negro/Harlem Renaissance in Germany from 1925 to 1938. The materials in the book are drawn from extensive research in the United States, Germany and Austria. Where other scholars have relied on an approach that privileges a German studies methodology, Paul follows an interdisciplinary project founded on performance, modernism, and Black studies. At the heart of this project is to reveal that the effects of a Black arts renaissance extended beyond the known centers of the Black Atlantic and formed an important element of culture in Weimar and Nazi Germany.
At Harvard, Paul has taught on American and European postwar novels and American queer fiction. He has overseen senior theses on Black property rights and its contingent poetry and the figure of Roy Cohn in American theater. He is the recipient of a Excellent in Teaching Award from Harvard University for the 2017 Fall Term. In addition, he has taught courses on race in American film and Black intellectual thought at Drew University.
In the past, Paul has presented papers on various subjects, including Civil War-themed popular music, suburban sound constructs, and pre-Marxist socialism in the United States. He has spoken at Drew University, Rutgers University, the Institute for Modern Language Research at the Universty of London, and the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University Berlin (Freie Universität).