Carolyn Calloway-Thomas

Carolyn Calloway-Thomas

Professor, African American and African Diaspora Studies

Director of Graduate Studies, African American and African Diaspora Studies


  • Ph.D., Indiana University Bloomington


Dr. Calloway-Thomas’s research focuses on the rhetorical/intellectual history of Black Americans, intersections between empathy and race, intercultural/interracial communication, pedagogy of empathy, and civic engagement. She studies how words work in framing people’s perceptions of race and ethnicity, as well as how discourses of change impact Black Americans. She is past president of the World Communication Association. She is coauthor of Fifty Years of Generating Minds: The Groups Program (2019); author of Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective (2010); coauthor of Intercultural Communication: a Text/Reader (2007) and Intercultural Communication: Roots and Routes (1999); and coeditor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse (1993).  Her coauthored book on Intercultural Communication between Chinese and North Americans is forthcoming in 2020.

She has served in many leadership positions, including associate dean of the faculties, member of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Praxis Speech Communication National Advisory Board, director of the Interracial Communications Project (funded by the C. S. Mott Foundation), and past president of the Central States Communication Association (CSCA). In 2012, she was inducted into the CSCA’s Hall of Fame. In 2007, she was invited to participate in the Oxford Round Table conference on diversity and public policy at Oxford University in England. Her national awards include the National Communication Association’s 2020 Samuel L. Becker Award for Distinguished Service;  the National Council for Black Studies’ Paul Robeson and Zora Neale Hurston award for outstanding leadership in advancing the discipline and promoting social justice; a “Presidential Citation” from the National Communication Association for “exceptional service” to the organization and for her efforts in building partnerships between NCA and China; a Ford Postdoctoral fellowship; a Fulbright scholarship to Nigeria, West Africa; a Carnegie scholarship; the National Communication Association’s Robert J. Kibler Award; and the Distinguished Alumni award from Grambling State University. She currently serves as Book Review Editor of the Howard Journal of Communications and as a member of the editorial boards of Communication Education and Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, a publication of the World Communication Association.



  • Intercultural Communication between Chinese and North Americans (forthcoming in 2020).
  • Fifty Years of Generating Minds: The Groups Scholars Program at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN: IU Press, 2019). With Gordon Hersey and Mary Stephenson.
  • Empathy in the Global World: An Intercultural Perspective   (Los Angeles, CA:  SAGE, 2010).
  • Intercultural Communication: A Text/Reader (Boston, MA: Pearson, 2007). With Pamela J.  & Cheri J. Simonds.
  • Intercultural Communication: Roots and Routes (Boston Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1999).   With Pamela J. Cooper and Cecil Blake.  
  • Martin Luther King Jr. and the Sermonic Power of Public Discourse  (Tuscaloosa,   Ala:  University of Alabama Press, 1993).  With John Lucaites.


Articles & Book Chapters

  • “Empathy: A Global Imperative for Peace. “  College Music Symposium, vol. 58, No. 3, (November 2018).
  • “A Call for a Pedagogy of Empathy.” Communication Education (August 2018), pp. 495-499.
  • “The Role of Empathy in Fostering Intercultural Competence,” in Intercultural Competence in International Higher Education, eds. Lily Arasaratnam-Smith & Darla K. Deardorff ( Routledge, 2017), pp.  32-34.
  • “Empathetic Literacy and Intercultural Storytelling: Compasses and Architecture,” in The Discourse of Special Populations:  Critical Intercultural Pedagogy and Practice, eds. Ahmet Atay & Diana Trebing (Routledge, 2017), pp. 44-56.
  • “Barbed Wire Enclosed Spaces and Places: Elites, Ethnic Tensions and Public Policy.” Forum on Public Policy Online:  A Journal of the Oxford Round Table.  (2007), pp.   1-19.
  • Disgrace and Identity Construction in South Africa,”  In Intercultural Communication:  A Text/Reader (Allyn & Bacon 2007), pp. 89-97. With Jack E. Thomas.
  • “W. E. B. Dubois and the Souls of Black Folk: Generating an Expressive Repertoire for African American Communication,”       in The Souls of Black Folks: One Hundred Years Later, Dolan Hubbard (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2003), pp. 251-268.
  • “African American Orality: Expanding Rhetoric,” in Understanding African American Rhetoric:  Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovation, Ronald L. Jackson & Elaine Richardson (New York: Routledge, 2003), pp. 43-56.
  • “Cheer the Weary Traveler: Reframing Conversation and Ethnicity,” in   Communication Views from the Helm for the Twenty-first Century, ed. Judith Trent (Needham Heights: MA: Allyn & Bacon),     375-380.  
  • “A Confrontation with Diversity: Communication and Culture in the 21stJournal of the Association for Communication Administrators (January 2000), pp. 145-154.
  • “Langston Hughes’ Message for the Black Masses.” Communication Quarterly, 39 (Spring 1991), pp. 164-177.

Selected honors and awards

  • 2019  Received the National Council for Black Studies’ Paul Robeson and Zora Neale Hurston Award for Outstanding Leadership and Promotion of African Humanities.
  • 2018 Central States Communication Association (CSCA) established the Carolyn Calloway-Thomas Inclusivity Speaker Series. Scholars who are invited to be part of the speaker series are given the honorary title “CSCA Calloway-Thomas Fellow.”
  • 2018 President of the Intercultural Division, Central States Communication Association.
  • 2018 Featured expert in TIME online magazine on the occasion of the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 2018 Featured expert in a docudrama, “True First,” regarding the life of Shirley Chisholm. The series aired on Urban Movie Channel in February 2019.
  • 2017 Received a National Communication Association (NCA) “Presidential Citation” for “exceptional service” to the organization  and for efforts in building partnerships between NCA and China.
  • 2017 Received the Service Award from the National Communication Association’s African American Communication Division and the Black Caucus for “outstanding leadership” in advancing the discipline and promoting social justice.
  • 2017 Received the Indiana University “Building Bridges” faculty award, which honors individuals whose interracial/intercultural work mirrors that of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 2017 Served on the Educational Policies Board of the National Communication Association.
  • 2012 Inducted into the Central States Communication Association’s Hall of Fame
  • 2012- President, World Communication Association.


  • 2011 Lambda Pi Eta Outstanding Undergraduate Faculty Award
  • 2011 Teaching Honor, National Communication Association
  • 2007  Participant, Oxford University Round Table on Diversity in Society, Oxford in England
  • 2004  Commission on Multicultural Understanding Faculty Award
  • 2004 Co-producer & screenwriter, Educational Video, “In Search of Community: The Interracial Communication Project” (Funded by C. S. Mott Foundation)
  • 2003  Distinguished Service Award, Interracial Communication Project
  • 2000  Carnegie Scholarship
  • 1999  Robert J. Kibler Award, National Communication Association
  • 1998  Featured in Pallas Production’s video, “Culture in the Classroom”
  • 1998: Consultant, President Clinton’s Initiative on Race and the U.S. Department of Justice One America Dialogue Guide
  • 1996  Grambling State University Distinguished Alumni Award
  • 1995 President of Central States Communication Association
  • 1989 Decade Editor, TME Magazine (special edition on communication)
  • 1990  Fulbright Scholarship to Nigeria, West Africa



(Professor Calloway-Thomas has given hundreds of speeches and talks nationally and internationally)

  • International College Music Society (Vancouver, Canada)
  • Pacific Asian Communication Society (Bandung, Indonesia)
  • World Communication Association (Portugal & South Korea)
  • Oxford Round Table (England)
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • Lithuania
  • Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • China Agricultural University
  • Jiatong Southwest University (Chengdu)
  • Center for Intercultural Studies Conference (Saint Louis University)
  • Beijing Foreign Services University
  • North China University
  • Hainan University (China)
  • Qiongzhou University (China)
  • Beijing Normal University (China)
  • China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)
  • Shanghai University of Traditional Medicine