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Centre for Gender Studies

Nydia Swaby

BA (Rollins College) MA (Sarah Lawrence College)


Nydia A. Swaby
Centre for Gender Studies

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Nydia Swaby
Email address:
Thesis title:
Gendering Political Blackness: The Diasporic Dimensions of Black Women’s Politics and Activism
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Nydia is a first year PhD student at the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London. She holds a BA in Anthropology and a minor in African American Studies (Rollins College, Winter Park, FL) and a MA in Women's History (Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY).

PhD Research

Drawing on archival and ethnographic data, my thesis traces the genealogy of the black women’s movement in Britain looking specifically at the discourse and deployment of ‘political blackness’. In particular, I examine the issues that converged in the 1970s and 80s to foreground ‘black’ as the basis for mobilizing women from seemingly disparate diasporic and transnational communities to engage in collective activism, and the ways in which contemporary black women’s organizations and black women activists utilize ‘blackness’ as a central organizing metaphor. Throughout, I aim to shed light on the discourses and practices that constitute what I have come to describe as gendered political blackness.

PhD Conferences

  • ‘Politically Black: Diasporic Women’s Activism in Postcolonial Britain’ (2014). Paper presented at The Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians (Big Berks), University of Toronto, May 2014.
  • ‘Gendering Political Blackness: Using Intersectionality as Theory and Method’ (2014). Presentation at a workshop with Professor Kimberle Crenshaw, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London, April 2014.
  • ‘Black British Feminist Scholarship and Black Feminism’ (2014) Discussant at Feminist Exchanges Roundtable discussion with Professor Kimberle Crenshaw, United States Embassy, London, April 2014.
  • ‘The Spatialities of Black Women’s Resistance’ (2014). Paper presented at Gender Matters Too, International Women’s Day event, SOAS, University of London, March 2014.
  • ‘Contemporary Black British Feminism’ (2013). Presentation at A Vindication for the Rights of Black Women Panel Discussion, Girton College, Cambridge University, October 2013
  • Race and Second Wave Feminism. Discussant at Sisterhood and After: Intergenerational Conversations of Second Wave Feminism, The British Library, October 2013.


CoHaB, Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging


Black feminist theory and praxis; black studies; diaspora theory; gender studies; social movement theory