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Proud South Side of Chicago native—Chatham to be exact—and HBCU product, Dr. ShaDawn

Battle is an Assistant Professor of Critical Ethnic and Black Studies at Xavier University

(Cincinnati, OH). She also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Justice Renewal Initiative (a

Chicago-based nonprofit that tackles racial inequity in the Criminal Justice System). Dr. Battle

earned her PhD in literature from The University of Cincinnati in 2017.  Her research interests

include African American Literature, Postcolonial Studies, Black Feminist/Womanist Studies,

Critical Race Epistemology, and Hip-Hop Studies.  Dr. Battle’s latest essay, “Singing the ‘Blues’

for Black Male Bodies: Epistemic Violence, Non-Alterity, and Black-Male Killings,” was

published in 2021 in a collection of essays centering Critical Race and Feminist Epistemologies.

Dr. Battle’s current research project—for which she was awarded a National Endowment for the

Humanities grant—focuses on Chicago Footwork, an embodied vernacular dance of liberation.

Her forthcoming manuscript explores Chicago Footwork’s potential for nation-building,

homemaking, and self-actualizing, in response to the socio-political exile, “homelessness,” and

ontological negation experienced by its practitioners. Dr. Battle is concurrently co-directing and

producing a forthcoming docuseries on the culture and art form (of which she is a practitioner),

titled, Footwork Saved My Life: The Evolution of Chicago Footwork (2022). The documentary

examines how each of the five generations of Chicago Footwork are catalyzed by the structural

forces that shape the lives of Black youth on Chicago’s South and West sides.  

Dr. Battle teaches a wide array of Black Literature and Black Studies courses, with emphasis on

the Black musical tradition, state-sanctioned violence, chattel slavery, and Black liberation

politics. Her Anti-Black State-Sanctioned Violence and #SayHerName courses examine the

politics of the carceral state in Black communities – specifically racially gendered discriminatory

laws, policies, and practices that converge in ways that routinely produce disparate and often

deadly outcomes for poor Black men and women who are over-policed and over-criminalized.

Dr. Battle is committed to social justice – namely, to creating the conditions for racial healing

and repair, racial equity, and transformative justice in the material lives of the most marginalized

communities—especially Black folks!

She echoes her favorite rapper in the following declaration: “I will not lose / for even in defeat, /

there’s a valuable lesson learned, so that evens it out for me.”

Dr. Battle is a lover of daschunds (Jackson and Luna), dolphins, D. Rose, and the Delta Kappa

Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated!

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