Carole Boyce-Davies

Carole Boyce-Davies is a student-first, Caribbean-American radical intellectual committed to social justice. She is currently the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters in the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Africana Studies and Literatures in English at Cornell University. From the mid-1980s and throughout the 1990s, she was a popular award-winning professor at the State University of New York, Binghamton. In 1997, she was recruited to build the African Diaspora Studies Program at Florida International University where she served three successful terms until 2007 when she joined the Cornell faculty. She is an African Diaspora scholar in scholarship and in practice and is a popular speaker on several related topics. In 2015, she was appointed to the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon which she deferred. In 2022, she had the amazing experience of being a visiting professor at the School of Foreign Languages (FLEX), University of Havana during which time she conducted interviews on women and leadership in Cuba, focusing largely on Havana.

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, she studied at the University of Maryland (B.A.) and Howard University (M.A. in African Studies) and received her Ph.D. in African Literature at the University of Ibadan on Commonwealth Scholarship from the government of Trinidad and Tobago. She has held named professorships including being the Herskovits Professor of African Studies at Northwestern University from 2000-2001; Fulbright professorships at the University of Brasilia, Brazil, and University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Her distinguished visiting professorship in Fall 2014 at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing, China is one of the most memorable. In 2015, she was appointed to the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Chair in African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon.

Her publications include Black Women’s Rights. Leadership and the Circularities of Power (2022), the prize-winning classic Left of Karl Marx. The Political Life of Black Communist Claudia Jones (Duke University Press, 2008). Her Black Women, Writing and Identity: Migrations of the Subject (Routledge, 1994) is considered a theoretical staple for scholars writing about Black women’s writing in global contexts. In addition, she has to her credit over 100 published journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Boyce-Davies has also published the following critical editions: Ngambika. Studies of Women in African Literature (Africa World Press, 1986); Out of the Kumbla. Caribbean Women and Literature (Africa World Press, 1990); a two-volume collection of critical and creative writing entitled Moving Beyond Boundaries (New York University Press, 1995): International Dimensions of Black Women’s Writing (volume 1), and Black Women’s Diasporas (volume 2) and Claudia Jones Beyond Containment: Autobiographical Reflections, Poetry, Essays (Banbury: Ayebia, 2011). Her Caribbean Spaces: Escape Routes from Twilight Zones, dealing with the issue of internationalizing Caribbean culture was longlisted for the BOCAS Prize in non-fiction in 2014. She has also appeared in the documentary film Looking for Claudia Jones (by Nia Reynolds, 2013) and The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo (by Yaba Badoe, 2014).

A sampling of publications specifically on the African diaspora include: The African Diaspora: African Origins and New World Identities (with Ali Mazrui and Isidore Okpewho, Indiana University Press, 1999); Decolonizing the Academy. African Diaspora Studies (Africa World Press, 2003) and the editorship of the 3-volume The Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora (Oxford: ABC-CLIO, 2008).

She has published over 100 journal articles in major journals a sampling of which include Pan-Africanism, Transnational Black Feminism and the Limits of Cultural Analyses in African Gender Discourses, Feminist Africa 19 (2014): 78-93;  Occupying the Terrain: Re-Engaging “Beyond Miranda’s Meanings: Un/Silencing the ‘Demonic Ground’ of Caliban’s Woman”, American Quarterly.  Forum on Sylvia Wynter, 70:4 (December 2018): 837-84; Decolonizing Literary Studies in Africa and the Caribbean. Presence Africaine, Special issue:  Ujuzi!: Décoloniser les Humanités/Decolonizing the Humanities, 197 (2019): 111-130. Recent Book chapters include Writing Black Women into Political Leadership:  Reflections, Trends and Contradictions in Black Women and International law: Deliberate Interactions, Movements and Actions (Cambridge University Press, 2015): 23-34; Foreword: On Borders, Walls and Other Man-Made Barriers to the Human”, Preface to Border Transgression and Reconfiguration of Caribbean Spaces.  Eds. Fred Reno and Myriam Moise. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020): v-x and The Transnational Black Left Feminist Politics of Claudia Jones in The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories, 2021: 266- 273.

Recent publications include: “Introduction” “The End of Exile” Sylvia Wynter’s ‘End of Exile.’  New Readings of The Hills of Hebron.  Interviewing the Caribbean (online E-Journal, University of the West Indies) May, 2023;  “A Right to be Radical: Claudia Jones (1915–1964) and the ‘Super-Exploitation of the Black Woman’.” The Palgrave Handbook of Communist Women Activists around the World.  Ed. Francisca de Haan. Palgrave Macmillan, 2023: 97-116; “Reparations, Knowledge and the Decolonial University.”  CODESRIA Bulletin, Nos 2 & 3, 2021 – Special Issue: Pan Africanism and the Emancipatory Project for Global Africa: 43-48 “Espaços Caribenhos: Fugas das Zonas de Crepúsculo.”  Contemporânea – Revista de Sociologia da UFSCar, v. (Brazil) 10:3 (2020) Setembro – Dezembro de 2020: 1183-1200; “Caribbean Global Movements.” Introductory essay to Black Scholar Special Issue. 51:2  June, 2021: 1-7; .“The Transnational Black Feminist Poetics of Claudia Jones” The Routledge Companion to Black Women’s Cultural Histories.  Ed. Janell Hobson. 2020.

Her popular essays and reviews  have appeared in The Guardian (London), The Washington Post, The Crisis, Ms Magazine, Ithaca Journal, The Black Scholar, Miami Herald, Trinidad Express, Trinidad Guardian, Caribbean Today, Caribbean Contact, Newsweek.

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