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Boatema Boateng

Associate Professor

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

 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 is along two main trajectories. In the first, she examines race, gender and authorship in U.S. quilting. In the second, she considers ways in which the indigeneities of Black people in Africa and the diaspora can be understood in relation to each other.

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

  • “Black Indigeneities, Contested Sovereignties.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2023.
  • “Not African? Contested Origins of Wax Print and Its High Fashion Appropriation.” Textile Museum Journal, Vol. 48, 2021.
  • “Cultures of Property: African Culture in Intellectual and Cultural Property Regimes” in Jane Anderson & Haidy Geismar (eds). The Routledge Companion to Cultural Property. New York: Routledge, 2017.
  • “Women Out of Africa: Naming, Knowing, and the Conditions of Being” Cultural Studies<-> Critical Communication. Special edition on “Gender, Nation(alism), and Colonialism: Twenty-first Century Connections,” Vol. 16 No. 4, 2016: 400-413.
  • “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.

Graduate Courses

  • COGR 264: Feminisms in Critical Dialogue
  • C0GR 275: Creating to Think
  • COGR 294: History of Communication Research
  • COGR 201B: Ethnographic Methods


Undergraduate Courses

  • COMM 138: Black Women in Feminism and the Media
  • COMM 162: Advanced Topics in Cultural Industries: Communication for Indigenous Justice
  • COMM 190: Knives and the Female Body: The Social and Cultural Meanings of Cosmetic and Other Surgeries
  • COMM 10: Introduction to Communication