Dr. Robin M. Boylorn earned her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida. She is Associate Professor of Interpersonal and Intercultural Communication at the University of Alabama where she teaches and writes about issues of social identity and diversity, focusing primarily on the lived experience(s) of black women.
As a critical autoethnographer she studies culture through the context of lived experience. Her current research focuses on racialized representations of gender/sex. She coined the terms "ratchet respectability" and "blackgirl (one word/no space)" to critically engage representations and lived experiences of black womanhood. She uses ratchet respectability to discuss the oxymoronic and problematic class characterizations of black women on reality TV, and theorizes blackgirl (one word) as a way of understanding the indivisiblility of race and gender in the marginalized lives and experiences of black women.
As a scholar/activist, writer, speaker, and thinker she is committed to a life and work (life's work) that prioritizes social justice, is rooted in love, self-care, and accountability, and is housed with honesty and humility.
She describes herself as:
crunk, creative, courageous, generous, ambitious
a poet, a professor, a visionary, a realist
a sports fan(atic), a storyteller, an old school hip hop head
an Alice Walker womanist (or a black feminist)
a cultural critic, a christian, a contradiction
a fashionista, a loner, a wordsmith, a misfit
a writer, a hustler, a survivor, a keeper
a fully recovered former people-pleaser
charming, discerning, smart, quick-witted
a North Carolinian living in Alabama by way of Florida
who is a writer who teaches, and/or a teacher who writes
about taboo topics and truth
She is also: loyal, liberal, honest, ethical, focused, independent, sentimental & "sensitive about her shit." (Badu)
Boylorn's work concentrates on ways of documenting marginalized lives and making them accessible and available to wide audiences. She seeks to give voice to silenced experiences and offer strategies for talking about and across difference (in its many manifestations).
Her first book, Sweetwater: Black Women and Narratives of Resilience (Peter Lang, 2017/2013), which is currently available in a Revised Edition, received the inaugural H.L. "Bud" Goodall, Jr. and Nicholas Lee Trujillo "It's A Way of Life" Award in Narrative Ethnography in 2013, the 2013 Book of the Year Award from the National Communication Association's Ethnography Division, and the 2014 Outstanding Qualitative Book Award by the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. The book offers a semi-auto/ethnographic narrative that includes the intergenerational experiences of black women growing up in a small rural community in North Carolina.
She is co-writer (with Brittney C. Cooper and Susana M. Morris) of The Crunk Feminist Collection (The Feminist Press, 2017), and co-editor of Critical Autoethnography: Intersecting Cultural Identities in Everyday Life (Left Coast Press, 2014). Her current book project, Blackgirl Blue(s) (under contract with Routledge), is an autoethnographic prequel/sequel to Sweetwater, and theorizes blackgirl identity and blackgirl (one word) autoethnography.
She is currently past chair of the Ethnography Division of the National Communication Association, and a member of the NCA Research Council (formerly the NCA Research Board).
She is also a member of the Crunk Feminist Collective, and a commentator for Alabama Public Radio.