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Garry Bertholf is an assistant professor in the Department of African American Studies at Wesleyan University. His research and teaching focus on Africana literature and literary criticism, critical theory, and Black intellectual history. His work has appeared in Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies JournalJournal of Popular Music Studies, south: a scholarly journal (formerly The Southern Literary Journal), Viewpoint Magazine, DiacritikThe Martyrs Shuffle, The Philosophical Quarterly, the Nation Divided series at the University of Virginia Press, and the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha series at the University Press of Mississippi. He is also the author of Black Sophists: A Critique of Demagoguery (Ph.D. Diss., University of Pennsylvania, 2013) and paired transcriptions of John Coltranes 1957 Carnegie Hall performances of Thelonious Monks Epistrophy.” Professor Bertholfs current book project (tentatively titled The Black Charismatic: Demagoguery and the Politics of Affect”) has been supported by a residential faculty fellowship at Wesleyans Center for the Humanities and by the Provost Fellowship (also at Wesleyan). He is currently an advisory board member at the Center for the Humanities and Co-Director of the inaugural Africana Studies Colloquium Series at Wesleyan.


Before joining the faculty at Wesleyan, Dr. Bertholf was an Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Faculty Fellow in the Humanities Unbounded Initiative at Duke University and an assistant professor of English and Africana Studies at Davidson College, where he was elected to honorary membership in the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society by the Delta Circles graduating class of 2019. Prior to that he was an assistant professor of Digital Rhetorics, Comparative Media, and Civic Culture in the Department of English at Clemson University, where he received the Award of Distinction from the National Scholars Programs graduating class of 2017 as well as the 2015-2016 Faculty Member of the Year Award from the former College of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities.


Professor Bertholf was trained at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the first recipient of the Ph.D. in Africana Studies and the inaugural postdoctoral fellow of the Program on Race, Science, and Society; he was also an associate scholar of the Penn Humanities Forum (now Wolf Humanities Center) on Violence, and a lecturer of cultural studies and criticism in the Critical Writing Program of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing. In addition, he has held previous appointments as a visiting assistant professor of Africana Studies in the former Department of History and Politics at Drexel University and as a preceptor for Cornel West in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University. He has organized a number of academic symposia and colloquia, ranging in theme from The Future of Hip-Hop” (2010) and “The Future of Race and Science” (2014) to “Slavery, Violence, and the Archive” (2019) and “Black Feminist Ecologies” (2021). Together with the students in his Black Literary Theory” course, he organized a hybrid salon on The Future of Black Studies” (2022). 

During the 2024-2025 academic year, Professor Bertholfs research will be supported by a residential faculty fellowship in Wesleyans College of the Environment Think Tank on Agency.”

The Future of Hip-Hop Symposium at Drexel University (12/02/2010). From left to right: Lupe Fiasco, Garry Bertholf, and Michael Eric Dyson.

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