Brent Hayes Edwards is a professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University, where he teaches courses in African diasporic literature, black radical historiography, and jazz studies. He has published essays and articles on topics including African American literature, Francophone literature, theories of the African diaspora, black radical intellectuals, cultural politics in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, surrealism, twentieth-century poetics, and jazz.
His book The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism was awarded the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association and the Gilbert Chinard Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies. He has published scholarly editions of classic works by Frederick Douglass, Joseph Conrad, W.E.B. Du Bois, and of the great Jamaican writer Claude McKay’s last novel, Amiable with Big Teeth, co-edited with Jean-Christophe Cloutier.
His most-recent book, Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination, was called “Dazzling … [a] compellingly original perspective,” by Publishers Weekly. Fred Moten, professor of performance studies at New York University, calls Edwards “the finest literary scholar of his generation―an intellectual and artist of transformative force. His work reshapes the study and the making of world literature and art.”
Edwards has translated essays, poems, and fiction by Edouard Glissant, Jacques Derrida, Jean Baudrillard, Sony Labou Tansi, and Monchoachi. He was awarded a 2012 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant for his translation of Michel Leiris’s Phantom Africa. He was co-editor of the journal Social Text from 2001 to 2011 and serves on the editorial boards of Transition Magazine and Callaloo.
Edwards has a bachelor’s degree from Yale and a master’s degree and doctorate degree from Columbia. He was a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow.
Phantom Africa (2017)
Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination (2017)
Amiable with Big Teeth (2017)
The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (2003)
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Video: Roundtable discussion of Amiable with Big Teeth