Excellence Recognized

Table of Contents

Fall/ Winter 03


Excellence Recognized

Double congratulations to English Professor Brent Edwards, who won both the 2003 FAS Award for Distinguished Contributions to Undergraduate Education and the 2003 Board of Trustees Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence. The former is given to reward outstanding teaching and service to the Rutgers undergraduate community, while the latter award recognizes recently tenured professors whose scholarly work shows exceptional promise.

With wide-ranging research and teaching interests in modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, colonial and postcolonial theory, science fiction, and black experimental music and writing, Professor Edwards has already won a Curriculum Development Award for his ability to bring densely interconnected scholarly work into the classroom. His recent work examines the relationship between jazz culture and other forms of black expression, a topic he has developed in published essays, lectures, and highly rated courses like “Black Music and Literature” at Rutgers.

Professor Edwards’s first book, published in 2003 by Harvard University Press, is The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism. In this book, he looks at international alliances and collaborations between black intellectuals in the 1920s and 1930s. He argues that the African diaspora (the dispersion of people away from their native homelands), which began as a historical condition, has remained important as a set of intellectual and artistic practices. The book examines the print culture created by a wide variety of editors and writers who were working, individually and collaboratively in both New York and Paris, to re-imagine the meaning of race across barriers of nationality and language. Reviewers have called the book “nothing short of a masterpiece” and “an exciting, innovative and extremely important study,” noting, “the combination of its theoretical adeptness, its rigor, and its depth of scholarship is quite remarkable.”

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