Gerald Early is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters in the African and African American Studies Department at Washington University in St. Louis, where he has taught since 1982. A noted essayist and American culture critic, he has written dozens of essays and books, including Tuxedo Junction: Essays on American Culture (1989); The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture, which won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism; This is Where I Came In: Essays on Black America in the 1960s (2003), and, most recently, A Level-Playing Field: African American Athletes and the Republic of Sports (2011). Early is also the author of several anthologies, including the Best African American Essays 2010 and Best African American Fiction 2010, and was twice nominated for Grammy Awards for writing album liner notes, of which he's written many.
Early previously served as director of the African and African American Studies Program from 1992-1999. He has also served as the director of the American Culture Studies Program, and was the founding director of the Center for the Humanities at Washington University. He is also the executive editor of The Common Reader, Washington University’s new interdisciplinary journal that is published under the auspices of the Provost.