Hazel Carby

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Hazel V. Carby is professor of African American Studies and of American Studies at Yale University. Before joining Yale University faculty, she taught English at Wesleyan University for seven years. She currently teaches courses on issues of race, gender and sexuality through the culture and literature of the Caribbean and its Diaspora; through transnational and postcolonial literature and theory; through representations of the black female body; and through the genres of science fiction. Identified as a Marxist feminist, her work primarily deals with detecting and probing discrepancies between the symbolic constructions of the black experience and the actual lives of African Americans.

Dr. Carby is considered a pioneer in black feminism and is also known as one of the world’s leading scholars on race, gender, and African American issues. One of her most influential contributions to African Diaspora studies came with her first book, Reconstructing Womanhood: The Emergence of the Afro-American Woman Novelist. Reconstructing Womanhood offers one of the earliest and most comprehensive studies on black female writers including Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, Anna Cooper, and Ida B. Wells among others. Carby followed this book with Race Men: The Body and Soul of Race, Nation, and Manhood. After Race Men, she penned Cultures in Babylon: Black Britain and African America. Currently she is working on her forthcoming book, Child of Empire. Carby has lectured at numerous colleges and universities worldwide including Columbia University, Stanford University, the University of Paris, and University of Toronto.


Hazel Carby was born of Jamaican and Welsh parents in Oakhamton, Devon, UK, on January 15, 1948. She married fellow Yale professor, Michael Denning, on May 29, 1982.


  • B.A. in English and history, Portsmouth Polytechnic, 1970
  • P.G.C.E. (teaching certificate), Institute of Education, London University, 1972
  • M.A., Birmingham University Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1979
  • Ph.D., Birmingham University Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1984

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