Paul J. Edwards is an Assistant Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and a book reviews editor for The Black Scholar. He is currently a Fellow at the Center for the Ballet and the Arts at New York University. His research and teaching span across the fields of African American, gender and sexuality , and performance studies. His current book project, The Black Wave: The New Negro Renaissance in Interwar Germany, reveals the effects of the New Negro/Harlem Renaissance in Germany from 1925 to 1938. Drawing from conversations in global Afro-modernism, the book reflects extensive archival research in Germany, Austria, and the United States. At the heart of this project is the insight that the Black arts renaissance extended beyond the known centers of the Black Atlantic and had a profound effect on the cultures of Weimar and Nazi Germany.
Paul holds a PhD in American Studies from Boston University’s American and New England Studies Program (AMNESP), where he also completed a graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. In support of his research, Paul received a Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship and a Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) research fellowship, as well as a Dissertation Fellowship at the Boston University Center for the Humanities. During his time at Boston University, Paul served as the facilitator for BU’s Critical Pedagogies Forum and Graduate Student President in AMNESP.
Paul has published “Staging the Great Migration: The Chocolate Kiddies and the German Experience of the New Negro Renaissance” on Modernism/modernity‘s Print Plus platform. “‘Bury the gold again before the Europeans bring us their culture’”: Witzblätter and the Paradox of German Anti-Colonialism,” an article focused on popular images of colonial African subjects, can be found in German Studies Review. His most recent work, “The Circumstances of Color: The Jim Crow Translation of Jonny spielt auf,” is available in Modern Drama. Paul has also written reference material for The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance and The Black Power Encyclopedia: From “Black is Beautiful” to Urban Uprisings, and he has published an interview with Jakari Sherman in The Black Scholar. A review of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview at Woolly Mammoth appears in The Drama Review.
Prior to joining the faculty at SMU, Paul held a postdoctoral fellowship in African American Literature under the late Cheryl Wall at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. At Rutgers, Paul taught “The Fugitive Frame,” a course that explores the genre conventions of the slave narrative that have influenced twentieth-century film and neo-slave narratives. Prior to teaching at Rutgers, he held a lectureship in History and Literature at Harvard University. At Harvard, Paul taught American and European postwar novels and American queer fiction, as well as advising senior theses on a wide range of topics. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Harvard University in 2017 and 2019. Paul was also awarded the Hoopes Prize for senior thesis advising. In addition, he has taught courses on race in American film and Black intellectual thought at Drew University. He has also been nominated for the Honoring Our Professor’s Excellence (HOPE) award at SMU for the academic year 2020-21.
Paul has delivered lectures at Harvard University, Drew University, Rutgers University, the Institute for Modern Language Research at the University of London, and the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University Berlin (Freie Universität). Paul received his B.A. in Music from Wesleyan University with honors and with a focus on ethnomusicology and American music history.
He can be reached at pjohnsonedwards at gmail dot com