Wesleyan portrait of Garry  Bertholf

Garry Bertholf

Assistant Professor of African American Studies


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BA Colby College
MA University of Pennsylvania
PHD University of Pennsylvania

Garry Bertholf

Garry Bertholf is an assistant professor in the African American Studies Department. Before joining the faculty at Wesleyan, Dr. Bertholf was an Andrew W. Mellon Visiting Faculty Fellow in the Humanities Unbounded Initiative at Duke University. From 2017 to 2019, he was 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 Circle’s graduating class of 2019; and from 2014 to 2017, he was an assistant professor of Digital Rhetorics, Comparative Media, and Civic Culture in the Department of English at Clemson University, where he received both the Award of Distinction from the National Scholars Program’s graduating class of 2017 and the 2015-2016 Faculty Member of the Year Award from the 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, the inaugural postdoctoral fellow of the Program on Race, Science, and Society, an affiliate fellow of the Penn Humanities Forum 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 Department of History and Politics at Drexel University and as a preceptor 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). His research and teaching focus on Africana literature and black critical theory, particularly late-nineteenth and early- to mid-twentieth-century African American literature and literary criticism, as well as the intellectual and cultural history of the African diaspora. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, south: a scholarly journal (formerly the Southern Literary Journal), Viewpoint Magazine, Diacritik, The Martyr’s 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 paired transcriptions of John Coltrane’s 1957 Carnegie Hall performances of Thelonious Monk’s “Epistrophy.” His current book projects are tentatively titled “The Black Charismatic: Demagoguery and the Politics of Affect” and “Afro-pessimism and Black Optimism in Africana Literature.”

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Thur. 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET (Zoom) and by appointment on the following Tuesdays: 9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, and 12/7.

Course Assistants for AFAM 101-01 (Fall 2021): Gissel Ramirez (’24) and Yohely Comprés (’24).


Senior (Honors) Thesis Tutorials 

Lilah Hixson ’22 (English Department, Fall 2021; ENGL 409-52)

Darielle Matthews ’22 (College of Social Studies, Fall 2021; CSS 409-85)



Fall 2021
AFAM 101 - 01
Intro to Africana Studies

AFAM 264 - 01
Reading Hortense Spillers

Spring 2022
AFAM 202 - 01
Intro to African American Lit

AFAM 315 - 01
Black Literary Theory