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Elleke Boehmer

Internationally known for her research in postcolonial writing and theory and the literature of empire, Elleke Boehmer (BA(Hons), MPhil(Oxon), DPhil(Oxon)) currently works on questions of migration, identity and resistance in both postcolonial literature and writing of the colonial period, in particular of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. A Rhodes Scholar (1985-88), she is Professor of World Literature in English, a Professorial Governing Body Fellow at Wolfson College, and Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson. Elleke writes both fiction and non-fiction, cultural history and criticism. Her best-selling short biography of Nelson Mandela (OUP VSI series) has been translated into Arabic, Thai and Portuguese (Brazil region). Furthermore, she is director of the Marie Curie funded International Training network ‘CoHaB’, and recently she was Co-Investigator, with Professor Susheila Nasta of the Open University (PI), on a large AHRC-funded project ‘Making Britain' to investigate the many rich South Asian contributions to British social, cultural and political life in the period 1870-1950.
Elleke Boehmer's main research and supervisory interests include anti-colonialism since 1870; life-writing and auto-biography; modernism, masculinity and empire; and the cross-overs between feminism and nationalism in colonial and postcolonial writing. She has a continuing concern with what it means to represent beauty and death, especially in postcolonial narrative and poetry.

Series featuring Elleke Boehmer

  • Great Writers Inspire
  • Challenging the Canon
  • The Leonard Woolf Symposium
  • Leonard Woolf's The Village in the Jungle (1913): A Day Symposium
  • TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities
  • Humanitas - Visiting Professorships at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge
  • Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (OCCT)
  • Alumni Weekend
  • Indian Traces in Oxford
  • Perceptions of Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue
  • Interviews on Great Writers
  • Censorship in Literature in South Africa
# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Elleke Boehmer speaks to Kate McLoughlin Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, Elleke Boehmer speaks to Professor Kate McLoughlin, Tutorial Fellow, Harris Manchester College on post war reconciliation and literature. Elleke Boehmer, Kate McLoughlin 08 Dec 2017
2 Me and My Beliefs: Challenges of Identity and Society Me and My Beliefs: Challenges of Identity and Society held on 28 November 2017 Libby Lane, Jas' Elsner, Shaista Aziz, Elleke Boehmer 06 Dec 2017
3 Conflict and Community: Panel-led Workshop 2 Mobilising the wide-ranging expertise of the speakers, this workshop explored questions of narrative, community and the special commemorative needs that arise in the wake of civil war and terrorism. Rachel Seiffert, Lyndsey Stonebridge, Harvey Whitehouse, Helen Small 24 Nov 2017
4 Poetry and Life-Writing: Panel-Led Workshop 1 Bringing together experts working at the intersection of literature, human rights, foreign policy and peace initiatives, this workshop explored the role of poetry and life-writing in post-war healing. Dunya Mikhail, Philippe Sands, Lord John Alderdice, Jeremy Treglown 21 Nov 2017
5 Memoir and Memory: Aminatta Forna in Conversation with Elleke Boehmer Launch event for the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Series. Aminatta Forna, OBE (novelist and memoirist, Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetics at Georgetown University) in conversation with Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English, Oxford). Aminatta Forna, Elleke Boehmer 20 Nov 2017
6 M. NourbeSe Philip on the haunting of history M. NourbeSe Philip reads from She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks (1988) and Zong! (2008) as she describes her poetic development. M NourbeSe Philip, Marina Warner, Matthew Reynolds, Elleke Boehmer 25 Aug 2017
7 Kamila Shamsie on writing history in A God in Every Stone Author Kamila Shamsie reads from her 2014 novel A God in Every Stone, and discusses it with Prof. Elleke Boehmer and the audience. Kamila Shamsie, Elleke Boehmer 25 Aug 2017
8 Readers and Readings Prof. Elleke Boehmer and Dr Erica Lombard consider how our reading experiences are shaped by various factors, from publishers’ decisions about book covers to the text itself. Elleke Boehmer, Erica Lombard 25 Aug 2017
9 Migration, Memory and Identity Part of the Humanities & Identities Lunchtime Seminar Series Laura van Broekhoven, Elleke Boehmer, Karma Nabulsi, Gayle Lonergan 07 Jul 2017
10 Disability Narratives and Histories Launch event for the TORCH Disability and Curriculum Diversity series. Marie Tidball, Helen Hillman, Richard Sandell, Elleke Boehmer 04 Jul 2017
11 Images of Mithra Book at Lunchtime discussion Dominic Dalglish, Josephine Quinn, Elleke Boehmer, Robert Bracey 03 Jul 2017
12 Repositioning Women's Health Care: A Case Study on Women Who Survived Ebola in Sierra Leone Part of the Humanities & Identities Lunchtime Series Elleke Boehmer, Fatou Wurie 27 Jun 2017
13 Everything in Everything: Anaxagoras's Metaphysics Book at Lunchtime discussion Anna Marmodoro, Elleke Boehmer, Naoya Iwata, Simona Aimar 06 Jun 2017
14 Volcanoes: Natural Disaster Narratives and the Environment in Caribbean Literature A panel discussion Elleke Boehmer, Imaobong Umoren, Richard Scholar, Anne Castro 05 Jun 2017
15 InHabit: People, Places and Possessions Book at Lunchtime Seminar held on May 3rd 2017. Antony Buxton, Linda Hulin, Jane Anderson, Cathy Oakes 10 May 2017
16 Living Bilingual Professor Elleke Boehmer (Director of TORCH) delivers a talk as part of the Creative Multilingualism and TORCH Bitesize Talks at Linguamania, Ashmolean Museum. Elleke Boehmer 22 Feb 2017
17 Session 6 Sixth session in the Perceptions of Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, held in Oxford in June 2016. Elleke Boehmer, Roger Crisp, Ashwini Deshpande, Devaki Jain 09 Aug 2016
18 Session 5 Fifth session in the Perceptions of Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, held in Oxford in June 2016. Elleke Boehmer, Francesca Rhodes, Lloyd Pratt, Tarunabh Khaitan 09 Aug 2016
19 Session 4 Fourth session in the Perceptions of Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, held in Oxford in June 2016. Diane Elson, Elleke Boehmer, Linda McDowell, Roger Crisp 09 Aug 2016
20 Session 2 Second session in the Perceptions of Inequality: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue, held in Oxford in June 2016. Elleke Boehmer, Roger Crisp, Lloyd Pratt, Ashwini Deshpande 09 Aug 2016
21 The Prospect of Global History How can global history can be applied instead of advocated? James Belich, Elleke Boehmer, Richard Drayton, Hannah-Louise Clark 27 Jul 2016
22 Cosmopolitanism and Empire Elleke Boehmer considers the cosmopolitan outlooks, experiences and values of Indian travellers to the west in the late 19th century. Elleke Boehmer 05 Apr 2016
23 Authorship, Politics, Celebrity: Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives In this roundtable discussion, Caroline Davis, Olivier Driessens, and Peter D McDonald reflect on literature as a mode of public intervention. Elleke Boehmer, Caroline Davis, Olivier Driessens, Peter D McDonald 02 Apr 2016
24 Book at Lunchtime: Arcadia A Book at Lunchtime discussion of Iain Pears' interactive novel Arcadia Elleke Boehmer, Alex Butterworth, Emily Short, Iain Pears 07 Mar 2016
25 Wharton in Wartime A roundtable discussion to mark the publication of Alice Kelly's critical edition of Edith Wharton's First World War reportage Fighting France: From Dunkerque to Belfort (Edinburgh University Press, 2015). Alice Kelly, Shafquat Towheed, Dame Hermione Lee, Elleke Boehmer 11 Feb 2016
26 Indian Arrivals, 1870-1915: Networks of British Empire Elleke Boehmer discusses her new book with Megan Robb, Faisal Devji and Santanu Das Elleke Boehmer, Faisal Devji, Megan Robb, Santanu Das 23 Nov 2015
27 Comparative Encounters between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi Part of "Book at Lunchtime", a fortnightly series of bite size book discussions, with commentators from a range of disciplines. Xiaofan Amy Li discusses her new book "Comparative Encounters Between Artaud, Michaux and the Zhuangzi." Xiofan Amy Li, Elleke Boehmer, Wang Xing, Matthew Reynolds 20 Nov 2015
28 The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's Legacy 60 years since the publication of the series' final volume, a distinguished panel explore Tolkien's literary legacy. Elleke Boehmer, Stuart Lee, Patrick Curry, Dimitra Fimi 16 Nov 2015
29 The Lord of the Rings: Tolkien's Legacy 60 years since the publication of the series' final volume, a distinguished panel explore Tolkien's literary legacy Elleke Boehmer, Stuart Lee, Patrick Curry, Dimitra Fimi 09 Nov 2015
30 The Silk Roads: A New History of the World Peter Frankopan discusses his new book with Averil Cameron, Robert Moore and Elleke Boehmer Peter Frankopan, Averil Cameron, Robert Moore, Elleke Boehmer 27 Oct 2015
31 Narrative & Proof: Two Sides of the Same Equation One of the UK's leading scientists, Marcus du Sautoy, argues that mathematical proofs are not just number-based, but also a form of narrative. Marcus du Sautoy, Roger Penrose, Laura Marcus, Ben Okri 22 Jan 2015
32 Creative Commons OCCT event - The Point of Comparison The Point of Comparison Mohamed-Salah Omri, Elleke Boehmer, Ben Morgan, Nicola Gardini 20 Sep 2014
33 Creative Commons Intercultural Literary Practices - Theorising Interculturality Dr. Birgit Kaiser (Utrecht), Prof. Peter McDonald (English), and Prof. Elleke Boehmer (English) Birgit Kaiser, Peter McDonald, Elleke Boehmer 20 Sep 2014
34 Histories of the Self A roundtable discussion with Lynn Hunt (Humanitas Visiting Professor in Historiography), Lyndal Roper (Regius Professor of History) and Elleke Boehmer (Professor of World Literature in English). Lynn Hunt, Lyndal Roper, Elleke Boehmer 29 May 2014
35 Creative Commons Why should we study Postcolonial Literature? Professor Elleke Boehmer of Wolfson College, Oxford, discusses her current research and proposes why we should study Postcolonial writers such as Achebe. Elleke Boehmer, Sarah Wilkin 31 Jul 2013
36 The Village in the Jungle Roundtable A discussion of key passages from Leonard (and possibly Virginia) Woolf, led by Hermione Lee (Oxford), Anna Snaith (KCL), Elleke Boehmer (Oxford), David Trotter (Cambridge), Susheila Nasta (OU), Nisha Manocha (Wolfson). Hermione Lee, Anna Snaith, Elleke Boehmer, David Trotter 24 Jun 2013
37 Creative Commons 'The Village in the Jungle' Roundtable Discussion This Roundtable Discussion offers several ways into the life and work of Leonard Woolf from the perspectives of several academics. Hermione Lee, Anna Snaith, Elleke Boehmer, Nisha Manocha 18 Jun 2013
38 Creative Commons Race and Resistance Across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century Elleke Boehmer and Imaobong Umoren talk about their research network which is investigating how twentieth-century activists, artists and intellectuals challenged racially oppressive hierarchies and sought to achieve equality. Elleke Boehmer, Imaobong Umoren 24 May 2013
39 Creative Commons Kipling, the Elton John of his age? Professor Elleke Boehmer discusses why Kipling's writing, and his poetry of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in particular, launched him to international fame across the British Empire. Elleke Boehmer, Dominic Davies 08 Oct 2012
40 Creative Commons Postcolonial Women Writers Professor Elleke Boehmer notes the distinct lack of women writers on the Post/Colonial Writing page of the Great Writers website, and explores why this is the case. Elleke Boehmer, Dominic Davies 08 Oct 2012
41 Creative Commons Olive Schreiner Professor Elleke Boehmer gives a talk on Olive Schreiner (1855-1920), the South African novelist, pioneering feminist, and anti-imperialist polemicist. Elleke Boehmer 07 Feb 2012
42 Creative Commons Indian imperial crossings and the Oxford hub Professor Elleke Boehmer (Oxford) - 'Indian imperial crossings and the Oxford hub'. Elleke Boehmer 02 Mar 2010
43 Creative Commons Literature and State Censorship: A literary perspective Peter McDonald and Elleke Bohemer discuss state censorship from a literary perspective; also discussing the issues of nationalism, modernism and Apartheid. Peter McDonald, Elleke Boehmer 17 Nov 2009
44 Introduction to Indian Literature in translation Professor Boehmer gives a short talk on her current research on Indian Literature in English, looking at the Post-Colonial world of literature and gives an introduction to studying World Literature in the Humanities Division. Elleke Boehmer 30 Apr 2009