Shehnaz is a writer, curator, critic and cultural theorist whose main research themes are the politics of the body.
Previously, Shehnaz was a journalist at Newsweek International and then an editor at The Economist; she is still a contributor to The Economist's culture blog, Prospero. Shehnaz's most recent publication is 'Smart-ening up the hijab: the materiality of contemporary British Muslim veiling in the physical and the digital' (The Routledge International Handbook to Veils and Veiling, Routledge 2017). She presents internationally at conferences and symposia, and at a wide range of institutions beyond the academy including, for example, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Currently, Shehnaz is working on a new book experimenting with polyvocality as decolonal feminist writing. The book explores ideas of embodied narrative.
Shehnaz's main research themes are the politics of the body, in particular embodied expressions of radical identity that privilege gender and race in cultural and artistic art and design practice. She is also researching experimental methods, especially through feminist writing, towards decolonial epistemological and cultural praxis. Shehnaz's research sits at the interface of cultural studies, material and visual culture studies and contemporary fiction.
Shehnaz supervises PhD students and runs specialist workshops in SoAH on themes of embodiment: most recently she has led sessions on autofiction and decolonial languages of the body. Shehnaz also runs College-wide series such as The Politics of the Gaze reading group; in the 2019/20 academic year she will be running Emotional Positions, a multi-genre series of reading groups, events and podcasts exploring lived experience in the contrariness and complexities of our contemporary moments. Shehnaz is co-founder of OPEN, a History of Design/SoAH research initiative that draws on decolonial emotional positions to reconceive contemporary art and design.