Welcome to my website!
I’m Barbara Boswell, a writer, scholar and facilitator, passionate about writing and its healing and transformative potential.
Writing for me is not only my profession, but a spiritual calling and vocation. I believe in writing as a form of activism and a way of healing ourselves and others. My books reflect these values. And Wrote My Story Anyway: Black South African Women Novels as Feminism (Wits University Press, 2020) examines how Black South African women writers use fiction as a tool of activism, a black feminist praxis, and a way of transforming the self and society. It excavates the often-ignored intellectual contributions of Black women writers in South Africa, casting their novels as sites of theory production.
I am also the author of Grace: a Novel first published by Modjaji Books in 2017, which tackles the taboo of gender-based violence. It won the University of Johannesburg's 2018 Debut Creative Writing Prize, and is used in creative writing workshops I offer to youth as a tool to discuss gender, sexuality and gender-based violence.
Currently based in Cape Town, South Africa, I am an Associate Professor of English Literary Studies at the University of Cape Town. Here, I teach and study Black diasporic women’s writing, Black South African women’s literature, and queer theory. I earned a PhD in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2010, after joining the Department of Women’s Studies as a Fulbright Scholar. I am a proud alumna of the University the Western Cape, where I completed an M. Phil in Women’s and Gender Studies, and of CPUT, from which I obtained a B.Tech degree in Journalism.
As a teacher I have developed interests and curricula in South African literature, transnational and intersectional feminist theory, and representations of race and gender. I have taught at a number of universities at home and abroad, including the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Virginia, where I was an ACLS Postdoctoral fellow at the Carter G Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies. I have also taught at the English Department at the University of the Witwatersrand and in Gender Studies programmes at the Universities of Cape Town and the Western Cape.
Please browse around my website and blog. Thank you for engaging with my work.
Photo credit: Yazeed Kamaldien