Dr. Zubeda Jalalzai

Zubeda Jalalzai
Department, Office, or School
Department of English
  • Professor

I have been teaching at Rhode Island College since 2000 in the areas of early-19th-century American Literature, Postcolonial theory and Literature, and Literary Theory. I have published in the fields of Early American Literature, Transatlanticism, Native-American Literature, Postcolonial Theory, Afghanistan, and Islam in America. My current research involves Afghan travel narratives from the 18th century to the present day, which I am developing into a book manuscript titled, “Overland to Afghanistan: Travel Writing and the Afghan Romance.” In January 2015 a chapter from this work appeared in the collection, Asia and West, edited by Elisabetta Marino and Tanfer Emin Tunc (Macfarland & Co. Inc.). I have also published an edited collection of essays on the connection between 19th-Century American Literature and the Islamic World called “Washington Irving and Islam” from Lexington Books.

A fun project that I completed in 2011 was a photo-essay, Wayside Whaling: Moby Dick and the Whale Ornament in Contemporary New with photographer Jason Fiering that examines the visual elements in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick in relation to issues of representation in both the novel and contemporary New Bedford. The New Bedford Whaling Museum featured this essay as both a digital and physical art exhibit starting in November 1, 2012. Furthermore, the museum used the essay as the center piece for a Flickr group: Signifying the Whale.

At RIC I also co-chair the Open Books-Open Minds, common book committee. Bringing the enthusiasm of reading to the larger campus as well as designing events and the spring student conference have been highlights of my teaching career.

When I am not taking photos of whales in New Bedford, working on an OBOM program, or rushing to meet a deadline, you may find me hiking in the Adirondacks with my husband, three children, and a wild Basenji pup.


B.A., St. Lawrence University

M.A., Binghamton University

Ph.D., State University of New York (Buffalo)​

Selected Publications


Globalizing Afghanistan: Terrorism, War, and the Rhetoric of Nation-Building. Co-edited with David Jefferess. Duke University Press, 2011. 

Overland to Afghanistan: Travel Writing and the Afghan Romance. Current book project.

Washington Irving and Islam. Critical Essays. Lexington Books, 2018.

Articles & Chapters

“Drawing the Durand Line: Pakistani Afghans, Borders, and Transnational Insecurity.” Crossing Borders: Essays on Literature, Culture and Society. Edited by Tapan K. Basu and Tasneem Shahnaaz. Farleigh Dickinson University Press, Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group, 2016. 79-91.

“The West in Afghanistan: 18th-19th Century Colonial Ambassadors, Soldiers, Adventurers in a Racialized ‘Free’ Land.” The West in Asia and Asia in the West: Essays on Transnational Interactions. Eds. Elisabetta Marino and Tanfer Emin Tunc. North Carolina: McFarland & Co. Inc., 2015. 20-33.

"Teaching Transatlantic Americanism." Teaching the Transatlantic Eighteenth Century. Edited by Jennifer Frangos and Cristobal Silva. Cambridge Scholars Press (UK), 2010. 135-54.

“Teaching “Historical Fiction and Maryse Condé’s, I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem.” African American Review 43.2-3 (Summer/Fall 2009): 1-13).

“Race and the Puritan Body Politic.” MELUS. 29.3-4 (December 2004): 259-272.

“The Personal Quests of Saira Shah.” Sexing the Political: A Journal of Third Wave Feminists on Sexuality. Ed. Krista Jabcob. 3.2 (May 2002). 

“Trading Feminisms: French and Postcolonial, Spivak’s Ethics of Exchange.” Literature and Psychology: A Journal of Psychoanalytic and Cultural Criticism 48.4 (2002): 33-45.

“Puritan Imperialisms.” The Connecticut Review 23.2 (Fall 2001): 69-84.

“The Ethics of Love and Indifference: Readings of Brotherhood and Isolation in Wilson Harris and V. S. Naipaul.” Journal of West Indian Literature 9.1 (April 2000): 70-82.“Tricksters, Captives, and Conjurers: The Roots of Liminality and Gerald Vizenor's Bearheart.” American Indian Quarterly 23.1 (Fall 1999): 25-44.


COLL 202 Open Books-Open Minds Mentor Program
ENGL 100 Introduction to Transnational “Islamic” Writers (English 100)
ENGL 120 Literature and Identity: The Muslims are Coming!
ENGL 120 Storytelling, Self, and the Arabian Nights
ENGL 161 Western (World) Literature
ENGL 163 Introduction to Islamic (non-“Western”) Literature
ENGL 301 American Literature to 1860
ENGL 303 The American Novel to 1914
ENGL 201 Introduction to Literary Studies
ENGL 202/300 Introduction to Literary Theory
ENGL 207 American Literary Survey, From Contact to the Present Day
FYS 100 Savage Desire: Cross Cultural Attraction in Colonial Contexts
FYW 100 Honors
RIC 100 Introduction to Rhode Island CollegeThe “Oriental” Tourist: Colonial and Postcolonial Narratives of Travel (Graduate)
The Body in Early America (Graduate)
Early America as Transatlantic Utopia (Graduate)
Gothic America (Graduate)
Transatlantic Islamic Literatures (Senior Seminar)
Muslims in America (Senior Seminar)
Native-American Presence in Early American Literature (Senior Seminar)


Mary Tucker Thorp College Professorship for 2019-2020​