Dr. Z'étoile Imma is Michael S. Field Assistant Professor in the English Department and the Africana Studies Program at Tulane University. She earned her doctorate from the University of Virginia where she was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African and African American Studies PreDoctoral Research Fellowship. Her work studies gender and sexuality in contemporary Anglophone African literature, visual culture, performance, and new media. Through her teaching and research, Dr. Imma seeks to contribute to African gender analysis, Black feminisms, postcolonial queer studies, and the larger project of decolonizing knowledge production.
Her major work in progress, Our Queer Mandela: Simon Nkoli, the Archive, and the Making of an African Queer Icon, analyzes a diverse set of visual and discursive texts which archive the life and times South African anti-apartheid, gay and lesbian rights, and AIDS activist Simon Nkoli. Imma is currently developing her second project, Love Stories from Africa, in which she considers how representations of love and urban desire in emergent African literary and visual texts interrupt long-standing local and global discourses on African bodies, spaces, sexualities, and gender, as well as, challenge increasingly pervasive homonationalist ideologies. She has published chapters and articles in Representation and Black Womanhood: The Legacy of Sarah Baartman (Palgrave), Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Africa (Carolina Academic Press), Research in African Literatures, and Journal of Lesbian Studies.
Previous to joining Tulane University, Dr. Imma was Assistant Professor of English and Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame and served as a Visiting Lecturer of English at the University of Witwatersrand. Alongside her scholarly work, Imma, a Cave Canem affiliate, continues to write creatively and has published poems in African Voices, ShadowBox, and The Brooklyn Review.