Boatema Boateng

Associate ProfessorBoatema Boateng


Ph.D. in Communications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2002)


Dr. Boateng’s research interests include Critical Legal Studies, Cultural Studies, Transnational Gender Studies, and African Diaspora Studies.

Her research projects focus on the regulatory dimensions of knowledge and its production, as embedded in legal (and other) regimes and in cultural objects and practices. In her book, The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here: Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana, she examines the ways that intellectual property law converges with histories of subjugation along lines of nation, gender and race to produce and regulate both subjects and knowledge. She argues that the status of different kinds of knowledge and culture within the law is a function not only of their inherent qualities but also of their location in such histories. In addition, she examines devalued conceptions of knowledge and subjectivity as resources for challenging and critically rethinking intellectual property law. Her current research takes a similar historical perspective in examining U.S. copyright law in relation to the categories of “art” and “craft,” and the racial and gendered consequences of that relation for cultural production.

Selected Publications

“The Hand of the Ancestors: Time, Cultural Production and Intellectual Property Law.” Law and Society Review Vol. 47 No. 4, 2013.

“Authoring Cloth: The Copyright Protection of Fabric Designs in Ghana and the U.S.” in Cynthia Chris and David Gerstner (eds). Authorship and Media New York: Routledge, 2013.

The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here: Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011.

“Whose Democracy? Rights-based Discourse and Global Intellectual Property Rights Activism” in R. Mansell and M. Raboy (eds.) The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy. Blackwell, 2011.

“Local and Global Sites of Power in the Circulation of Ghanaian Adinkra” in Paula Chakravartty & Yuezhi Zhao (eds.)   Global Communications: Toward a Transcultural Political Economy. Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.

“Walking the Tradition-Modernity Tightrope: Gender Contradictions in Textile Production and Intellectual Property Law in Ghana” American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law Vol. 15 No. 5, 2007.

“African Textiles and the Politics of Diasporic Identity-Making” in J. Allman (ed) Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004.