Associate Professor of History and African American and Black Diaspora Studies

African American history; U.S. urban, women’s, and childhood history; history of social science; history of race and education in the U.S.; Black intellectual history

Paula C. Austin is a U.S. historian with a focus on African American history, the history of race and racism, visual culture, urban and women’s history, 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) 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. In 2016, she was the co-editor of Radical Teacher (Vol 106), special issue on “Teaching #BlackLivesMatter,” and 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). She has an article in Gender, Women, and Families of Color, 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). Paula was also the CUNY Graduate Center inaugural archival fellow at NYPL’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and a Jackie McLean Fellow at the University of Hartford. She has served as diversity faculty fellow for professional development at the Center for Teaching and Learning and with the Division of Inclusive Excellence at California State University, Sacramento.

Curriculum Vitae

CAS series: The Journey – Paula Austin from BU Alumni & Friends on Vimeo.