Zeba Shahbaaz

Assistant Professor khan thomas pic
Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy


Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington
M.A., North Carolina A&T State University
B.A., Florida State University

116 Humanities


Dr. Shahbaaz is a teaching and research scholar in the fields of English literature and Africana Studies. Through a blend of critical engagement and creative activities, Dr. Shahbaaz enthusiastically invites her students to explore the intricacies of Black life and culture, as the focal point of her teaching. Dr. Shahbaaz's research interests span a wide range of topics, encompassing African American and African diasporic literature and history, Literary Theory, Africana Studies, Caribbean Literature, Self-care and Identity, Black Feminist Thought, and Black Popular Culture and Music Studies. Moreover, Dr. Shahbaaz is committed to equipping her students with essential professional skills, including technical and transferrable writing abilities, critical thinking prowess, and creative projects for future career application.


“A Face-off with Self: Examining Black Exceptionalism and Cultural Rootedness in Teju Cole’s Open City and Colson Whitehead’s Apex Hides the Hurt” South Atlantic Review. Forthcoming. 2024.

“Bag Lady: Unpacking Black Women’s Experiences in African American Literature and Black Popular Music using bell hooks’ Healing Practice and Teaching Praxis.” College English. Vol 85. No. 3. 2023. pp. 243-259.

“Conjuring Roots in Dystopia: Reconciling Transgenerational Conflict and Dislocation in Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring and Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying.” Mobility, Spatiality, and Resistance in Literary and Political Discourse, edited by Christian Beck, 1st ed., Springer Nature, 2021, pp. 73–90.

Selected Conference Presentations

“The Power of Testimony: A Call for Help, Justice, and Freedom in Black Autobiographical Writing.” 14th annual Conference, African, African American & Diaspora Studies (AAAD). 2024.

“Coming to America: Addressing Stereotypes and the Hype within the African Diaspora.” 9th Annual Africa Conference. Tennessee State University. Nashville, Tennessee. 2023.

“(Re)Imagining Black Women’s Self-Care in Virtual Reality.” Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies’ Herman C. Hudson Symposium: Speculative Blackness: Imagining Black Future(s). Bloomington, Indiana. March 30th, 2019.

“Explore Black History Month in Virtual Reality.” Black History Month Program. Monroe County Library Auditorium. Bloomington, Indiana. February 18th, 2019.

“Living on the Outside: The Complexity of Preserving the Black Self in ‘White’ America.”42nd annual National Council for Black Studies (NCBS) Conference. Atlanta, Georgia, March 15th-17th, 2018.

“Graduate Student Leadership and Research in Black Studies PhD Programs.” 102nd annual meeting and conference for the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH), September 28th, 2017.

"Repelling Machiavellian Archetypes and the ‘Master’ narrative in Baldwin and Tupac’s Expressions.” Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies’ Herman C. Hudson Symposium: Resistance: Theory and Practice Through the African Diaspora. Bloomington, Indiana. April 1st, 2017.

“Embodied Dystopia: The Prevalence of Severed ‘Roots’ and Transgenerational Conflict in Brown Girl in the Ring and Brother, I’m Dying.” The Department of Geography’s 11th Annual Indiana University Landscape, Space, and Place Conference. Bloomington, Indiana. March 2nd-3rd, 2017.

“Connoting ‘Darkness:’ Colonialism and the Dominance of Language in Chinua Achebe’s Man of the People, “English and the African Writer,” and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.” 42nd Annual Conference for the African Literature Association (ALA): Justice and Human Dignity in Africa and the African Diaspora. Atlanta, Georgia. April 6-9th, 2016.

“We or Me: Rejecting Racial Essentialism for Authenticity with the ‘Act’ of Passing in James Weldon Johnson’s The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, and Nella Larsen’s Quicksand and Passing.” Identity and Culture: Engaging Interdisciplinary Conversations Conference at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Greensboro, North Carolina. March 1, 2014.

“Teaching the Othello Complex: Student Writers Rewrite and Address the Postcolonial Narrative of “Othered,” “Subaltern,” & “Marginalized” Global Entities.” 85th Southern Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference. Atlanta, Georgia. November 8-10, 2013.

“Mobile to Immobile: Exploring Movement in Sutton E. Griggs’ Imperium in Imperio, Charles Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition, and Frank Webb’s The Garies and Their Friends.” Department of English’s Southern Graduate Conference at the University of Mississippi. Oxford, Mississippi. July 18-20, 2013.

Classes Taught TSU

ENGL 1010: Freshman English I

ENGL 1020: Freshman English II

ENGL 2013: Black Arts and Literature

ENGL 2023: Black Lit Short Story and Novel

ENGL 3010: Critical Approaches

ENGL 4010: Special Topics, Afrofuturism and Black Futures

Select University/Department Committees

Faculty Senate Professional Development Committee

English Major Assessment Committee

Career Preparedness Committee

Online Program Committee

College of Liberal Arts Africana Studies Committee

Technology Committee

English MA Program Committee