About Paul M. Farber

Paul M. Farber is a historian and curator from Philadelphia. He is currently the Managing Director of the Penn Program in the Environmental Humanities. Farber received a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. He previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Haverford College, a Doctoral Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C., and a visiting scholar in the Urban Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Farber's research focuses on transnational urban history, cultural memory, and creative approaches to civic engagement. His current book project – Boundaries of Freedom: An American History of the Berlin Wall (Forthcoming, University of North Carolina Press) – examines representations of the Berlin Wall in American art, literature, and popular culture from 1961 to the present. He traces the multifaceted story of how the Berlin Wall emerged as an integral part of the cultural imagination in the United States during the Cold War, especially related to matters of race, gender, sexuality, and national belonging. 

Throughout his research and curatorial work, Farber maintains a continued practice of working directly with artists in order to together engage, revisit, and re-imagine their archives. Farber is the Artistic Director of the public art and history project, Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia. He previously curated the traveling exhibition, The Wall in Our Heads: American Artists and the Berlin Wall. He has been invited to lecture and lead workshops at the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, and the Barnes Foundation, as well as Georgetown University, Stanford University, and the University of Wisconsin. He served as the inaugural Scholar in Residence for Mural Arts Philadelphia. 

Farber has contributed essays to several edited collections and advised the production of photography books including Leonard Freed's This Is the Day: The March on Washington (Getty Publications, 2013), Nathan Benn's Kodachrome Memory: American Pictures 1972-1990 (powerHouse, 2013), and Jamel Shabazz's Pieces of a Man (ArtVoices, 2016). He is the editor of a new critical edition of Made in Germany (Steidl Verlag, 2013), and is the co-editor of a special issue of the journal Criticism on HBO's series, The Wire (2011). His work on culture has also previously appeared in the GuardianMuseums & Social IssuesDiplomatic HistoryArt & the Public SphereVibe, and on NPR. He was included on Dell's inaugural #Inspire 100 list, a group of "world changers" who use technology to empower social change. 

Fellowships: The Center for World Performance Studies at the University of Michigan, German Historical Institute, and Postdoctoral Writing at Haverford College.

Panels: National Endowment for the Humanities, Percent for Art Program – City of Philadelphia, and Ecotopian Tools for WetLand.

Board Leadership: A Long Walk Home.