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Elleke Boehmer

Professor of World Literature in English


Elleke Boehmer, BA (Hons), MPhil (Oxon), DPhil (Oxon), FRSL FRHistS FEA, is Professor of World Literature in English in the English Faculty, University of Oxford. Professor Boehmer is Executive Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW), based at Wolfson College, and Professorial Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College.

Elleke Boehmer is a founding figure in the field of colonial and postcolonial literary studies, and internationally known for her research in the anglophone literatures of empire and anti-empire. Her writing straddles a range of forms and genres, including cultural history, fiction, criticism, and life-writing. She is a Fellow of the Royal Literary Society and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

In 2020-21, Elleke Boehmer is a British Academy Senior Research Fellow working on Southern Imagining, a major literary and cultural history about perceptions of the southern hemisphere. The study interweaves Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Herman Melville alongside J.M. Coetzee, Benito Lynch, Zakes Mda, and Alexis Wright, among many other southern writers.

Elleke is the Humanities lead on the GCRF UKRI funded Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub (Accelerate Hub), 2019-23, and is involved in exploring the role of narrative and intervention in a range of African contexts. See The Conversation article https://theconversation.com/better-access-to-stories-can-improve-adolescent-lives-in-africa-140495 and the Interventions article listed alongside.

Professor Boehmer is the PI on the widely-cited website Writers Make Worlds, an open educational resource for Black and Asian writing in Britain today. https://writersmakeworlds.com/. The website grew out of the Fell-funded Postcolonial Writers Make Worlds project (2016-18) which asked how our reading of British literature works as a dynamic medium through which new ways of thinking about Britain, and Britain in the world can be shaped.

Elleke Boehmer was the second Director of TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities), 2015-17, and PI on the Andrew W. Mellon-funded ‘Humanities and Identities’ project, 2017-18. She convenes with Professor Ankhi Mukherjee the internationally renowned Postcolonial Writing and Theory seminar which meets fortnightly in term.