Paul J. Edwards is a Postdoctoral Fellow of African American Literature at Rutgers University and a book reviews editor for The Black Scholar. His current book project, The Black Wave: The New Negro Renaissance 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 ethos founded in performance, modernism, and Black studies. At the heart of this project is the exploration 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. The manuscript is currently under consideration by University of Michigan Press.
His article “Staging the Great Migration: The Chocolate Kiddies and the German Experience of the New Negro Renaissance” appears in Modernism/modernity‘s PrintPlus platform and “‘Bury the gold again before the Europeans bring us their culture’”: Witzblätter and the Paradox of German Anti-Colonialism” will appear in German Studies Review in 2021. He 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 an interview with Jakari Sherman 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 has previously held a lectureship in History and Literature at Harvard University. At Harvard, Paul taught American and European postwar novels and American queer fiction. He has overseen senior theses on Black property rights and its contingent art production and on the figure of Roy Cohn in American theater. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from Harvard University for “America’s Queer Canon” in the 2017 Fall Term and the 2019 Spring Term. He was also awarded the Hoopes Prize for advising the senior thesis “A House is Not a Home: Heirs’ Property, Black Women’s Art, and Intestacy in the South Carolina Lowcountry.” In addition, he taught courses on race in American film and Black intellectual thought at Drew University.
He has spoken at Harvard University, 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).
He can be reached at pjohnsonedwards at gmail dot com