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Shelby Swafford

Shelby Swafford, Assistant Professor of Practice

Shelby Swafford is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the School of Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She received her B.A. in Relational Communication from the University of South Florida (2014), her M.A. in Communication Studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2016), and her Ph.D. in Communication Studies with an emphasis in performance studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2023). She also holds an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Dr. Swafford has taught courses in performance studies, interpersonal communication, small group communication, public speaking, gender and sexuality studies, and university studies. Her research interests include activist performance, reproductive justice, feminist and queer theory, health and disability studies, and autoethnographic and archival methods.

Her published work appears in Text and Performance Quarterly, Cultural Studies ßà Critical Methodologies, and Journal of Autoethnography, as well as edited collections Intercultural Health Communication Pedagogy and Palgrave Handbook of Disability Studies. She can often be found performing her creative/scholarly work on the Marion Kleinau Theatre stage.

Dr. Swafford has also been an active member of the SIU community, particularly within organizations committed to issues of gender and sexuality. She has previously served as the Chair of the annual SIU Conference on Women and as the faculty advisor for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies registered student organization.

SIU Communications Studies Professor Shelby Swafford Office: Comm Bldg, Room 2006B


  • Ph.D., Southern Illinois University, 2023

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests 

  • Activist performance
  • Reproductive justice
  • Feminist and queer theory
  • Health and disability studies
  • Autoethnographic and archival methods