I am a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in American History at Northumbria University.
I did my graduate work at the University of Manchester. Before joining Northumbria in 2018 I was a Teaching Fellow in US History at the University of Birmingham and a Fulbright Scholar at Elon University in North Carolina.
My teaching and research focuses on black history and print culture in Britain and the United States. More broadly, I'm interested in the relationship between media representation, racial and cultural politics, and social justice.
My first book, Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr: Popular Black History in Postwar America (University of Illinois Press, 2020), focuses on popular African American periodical Ebony as a vehicle for black history education and the role of its influential editor Lerone Bennett Jr. in this process. I am also working a number of other projects, including an intellectual biography of Bennett (under contract with the University of Massachusetts Press), and a cultural history of black media architecture in Chicago.
Feel free to explore this site to find out more about my work.
EBONY MAGAZINE AND LERONE BENNETT JR.: POPULAR BLACK HISTORY IN POSTWAR AMERICA
From its launch in 1945, Ebony magazine was politically and socially influential. However, the magazine also played an important role in educating millions of African Americans about their past. Guided by the pen of Lerone Bennett Jr., the magazine’s senior editor and in-house historian Ebony became a key voice in the popular black history revival that flourished after World War II. Its content helped push representations of the African American past from the margins to the center of the nation’s cultural and political imagination. E. James West's fresh and fascinating exploration of Ebony’s political, social, and historical content illuminates the intellectual role of the iconic magazine and its contribution to African American scholarship.
"E. James West’s book is the first major examination of Ebony as a forum for black historical discourse and the magazine’s long-time executive editor Lerone Bennett Jr.’s multifaceted thought, work, and scholarship as a leading popular historian of the black past and vital contributor to the post-war black history movement. A well-researched and accessible study situated within the growing field of black intellectual history, Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr. is a major contribution to our understanding of what West aptly calls 'popular black history.'"
-- Pero G. Dagbovie, Distinguished Professor of History at Michigan State University and editor of the Journal of American Studies
© E. James West, 2019