Associate Professor of History and African American & Black Diaspora Studies; Director of Graduate Studies

Paula C. Austin is a U.S. historian with a focus on African American history, the history of race and racism, visual culture, urban, education, and women’s history, the history of social science, and the history of childhood. She is particularly interested in interiority and broadening the narrow definitions of intellectual history. Her book, Coming of Age in Jim Crow DC: Navigating the Politics of Everyday Life (NYU Press, 2019) is a social and intellectual history of poor and working class young black people in early twentieth century, racially segregated Washington, D.C.

As an undergraduate, Paula was trained as a creative writer and developed her teaching pedagogy in adult basic education classrooms in New York City. She was the co-editor of Radical Teacher (Vol 106), special issue on “Teaching #BlackLivesMatter,” is the author of “‘Conscious Self-Realization and Self-Direction’: New Negro Ideologies and the Confines of Visual Representation,” in Journal of African American History (Summer 2018), “For Women, Life is Right Hard,” in a special issue on Black Love in Gender, Women, and Families of Color Journal (Fall 2019), and was a contributing author to Colonize This! Young women of color on today’s feminism, eds. Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman, (Seal Press, 2002, 2019).

Dr. Austin shared some of her most recent research on the Black youths of Jim Crow-era Washington, DC, in a video for CAS’s new series, The Journey: How New Ideas Are Born.

View her CV here