Women’s Studies

Women's Studies Facutly/Staff

The following faculty contribute through scholarship, teaching, community engagement and advising to the Women's Studies Program:


Rene Akbar, Ph.D. has a B.S. in Elementary Education, a M.S. in Intercultural/International Development Education, a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, and a Ph. D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Dr. Akbar has over twenty years of K-16 experience in teaching and administration. Dr. Akbar was honored as the Teacher of the Year at two schools in Florida because of her success with urban learners. As an assistant principal, Dr. Akbar wrote and managed a Florida Goals 2000 grant project entitled the Southside Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology. The goal of the project was to increase the achievement and the enrollment of underrepresented students in mathematics and science in grades 4 through 8 at three elementary schools and one middle school. The grant project also allowed students to participate in summer camps that exposed them to various academic and career opportunities related to science, mathematics and technology and provided professional development opportunities to the teachers and administrators of these schools. As a Senior Program Specialist with the Southeast Eisenhower Consortium for Mathematics and Science Education @ SERVE, Dr. Akbar assisted the director with administrative tasks and coordinated several projects. Dr. Akbar has provided professional development, technical assistance and consultative services to teachers, administrators, and parents nationally, and within the southeast region. Currently, Dr. Akbar is employed at Xavier University of Louisiana as an associate professor in the Division of Education.


Dr. Violet Harrington Bryan is the Mellon Professor of English. She holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University (1981). She specializes in African American Literature, Medicine and Literature, New Orleans Literature, Black Women Writers, and Women Writers of African Diaspora. A native of Florence, South Carolina, Violet Harrington Bryan teaches classes in World Literature, African American Literature, Caribbean and Writers, and seminars in such areas as Women Writers of the African Diaspora, Medicine and Literature, and New Orleans Writers. She has her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her book, The Myth of New Orleans in Literature: Dialogues of Race and Gender (U of Tennessee P, 1993) has been read widely. She has also published analyses of the writings of New Orleans writers, such as Marcus Christian, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Brenda Marie Osbey, Thomas C. Dent, Sybil Kein, and Pinkie Gordon Lane, and has studied the life and accomplishments of nineteenth century New Orleans civic leader, Frances Joseph-Gaudet. She has contributed a literary biography of Lorenzo Thomas and an entry on African American Poetry Collectives to the Encyclopedia of American Poetry, and has delivered papers on the works of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Yusef Komunyakaa. Dr. Bryan's recent research is on the lived and imagined homeland'ÄîWoodside, St. Mary, Jamaica'Äîin the fiction, nonfiction, and poetry of the Jamaican sister-authors, Erna Brodber and Velma Pollard. She is interested in the writers' use of place as a portrayal of the Caribbean identity and the significance of slavery, migration, and creolization in their works.


Kimberly J. Chandler , Ph.D. earned her doctorate from Wayne State University and began teaching at Xavier in the Fall of 2007. She is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and affiliate faculty with the Women's Studies program. Her research focuses on gender and communication in relation to the performance of gender, primarily African American masculinities as well as Black women and identity. Specifically, her work examines the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, culture and sexual identity in relation to performances of gender that are read, experienced, and negotiated in diverse ways based on one's lived experiences, history, and context. Her latest work (2011) appears in the following publications: Searching for the 'NewBlackWoman': One Single, African American Professor's Experience with the Strong Black Woman Myth. In E. Gilchrist (Ed.) With This Ph.D., I thee Wed: Experiences of Single African-American Women Professors. Lanham, MD: University Press of America and How to Become A 'BlackMan': Exploring African American Masculinities and the Performance of Gender. In R. Jackson and M. Hopson (Eds.) Masculinity in the Black Imagination.


Conchetta White Fulton, Pharm.D., R.Ph., FASCP is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Division of Clinical & Administrative Sciences and an Ambulatory Care Clinical Pharmacist at the LSU Interim Hospital and is Chair of the Division of Clinical & Administrative Sciences.

Dr. Fulton earned both a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy and a post-baccalaureate Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and completed a Pharmacy Practice residency at the University of Kentucky at St. Claire Medical Center, Morehead, KY.

Prior to joining the faculty at Xavier, Dr. Fulton was a practicing community pharmacist in both the independent and chain pharmacy settings for 13 years, during which time she served as adjunct faculty in the Xavier College of Pharmacy Professional Experience Program.

Dr. Fulton currently teaches in the Pharmacy Practice course and the Women's Health lecture series in the Disease State Management III course both in the third professional year of the curriculum. In addition, Dr. Fulton has developed an elective course in women's health emphasizing the effect of common disease states on the female population.


Amy Bellone Hite, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Sociology and the Times Picayune/Samuel Newhouse Professor of Sociology. Bellone Hite earned her doctorate in 2001 from Tulane University's Center for Latin American Studies, with a major concentration in Sociology and minor concentrations in Economics and Political Science. Her research combines her interests in globalization, development, gender inequality, and urban labor markets. Hite is co-editor of two volumes on globalization and development and several articles. In addition to teaching a wide range of other sociology courses, Bellone Hite teaches "Sociology of Gender" and "Race, Class and Gender Inequality."


Elizabeth Manley grew up in rural New Hampshire and received her B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania where she was a competitive gymnast. As a beneficiary of Title IX funding and a first generation college graduate, she was acutely aware of the need for continued support of women in higher education. With the encouragement of several of her professors, she decided to apply to graduate school and began coursework in Latin American history at Tulane University in the fall of 2000. In addition to falling in love with the city of New Orleans that first year, she also discovered a group of letters from poor Dominican women demanding state and international assistance for their young children. Combining her interest in political history and the politics of gender, the letters launched both her dissertation and her academic career in gendered political history in the modern Caribbean.Dr. Manley teaches history courses on Latin America, the Caribbean, and World Civilizations, as well as thematic courses covering areas of interest such as gender, human rights, politics and revolution. Her research interests focus primarily on issues of gender and participation in politics, nationalism and revolution, and political change in the modern Caribbean. Currently, she is working on a project dealing with the participation of women in the authoritarian governments of Rafael Trujillo and Joaquin Balaguer in the twentieth-century Dominican Republic.


Biljana D. Obradović, Ph.D., a Serbian-American poet, translator and critic has lived in Yugoslavia, Greece, and India besides the U.S. She is Professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana, in New Orleans where she teaches Composition, Creative Writing, Poetry Workshop, Contemporary American Poetry, Twentieth Century Women's Poetry, and World Literature II (18th, 19th, 20th centuries). She has lived in New Orleans since 1996 and has been at XU since 1997. She has two collections of poems, Frozen Embraces (1997), Le Riche Monde (1999), and the third is expected fall 2011, entitled, Little Disruptions. Her poems also appear in Three Poets in New Orleans (2000), and in anthologies (Like Thunder: Poets Respond in Violence in America, Key West: A Collection), and magazines (Poetry East, Bloomsbury Review, Prairie Schooner, The Plum Review). In addition to her own poetry, other works include her Serbian translation of John Gery's American Ghosts: Selected Poems (1999), Serbian translations of Stanley Kunitz, The Long Boat (2007), Fives: Fifty Poems by Serbian and American Poets, A Bilingual Anthology, as editor and translator (2002), and a collection of Bratislav Milanović's poems, Doors in a Meadow (2011). She has published a paper on Post-Communist Serbian Women's Poetry and has given a paper on the work of British novelist, Rebecca West during her time as editor of suffragette magazine, The New Freewoman. She also reviews books for World Literature Today (many of which include women's writing) and others.


Megan Osterbur teaches courses on women and politics in addition to teaching Introduction to Women's Studies and Feminist Theory. Her research focuses on gender and sexuality rights compared cross-nationally. She is currently a candidate for a Ph.D. in Political Science, working on her dissertation, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Rights Policy in the Western World, which examines the interaction between social movements and institutions in generating LGB rights policy. Additionally, Ms. Osterbur has presented research on the ethical and political implications of the global surrogacy market and the role of the Black Political Church in tolerance toward homosexuality.


Elizabeth Smith Rousselle, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Spanish and French in the languages department. In February 2003, Dr. Rousselle and her four research students made a presentation about Women's Studies programs at universities like Xavier that led to the creation of an ad hoc committee to implement Women's Studies at Xavier. Dr. Rousselle teaches courses on Spanish, Spanish American, and Afro-Francophone women writers and is currently co-editing an anthology of Spanish women writers from Andalusian Spain to the present.


Pamela Waldron-Moore, Ph.D. is a Professor of Political Science at Xavier University of Louisiana. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with specialization in Comparative Politics and International Relations. Her teaching and research interests include Comparative Politics, International Affairs and Research Methodology. Actively engaged in social science research, she has prepared articles/papers on democratization, political change, the political economy of development, social justice and global citizenship. Her focus on social justice and global citizenship issues has been pertinent to democratization (1999), environmental justice, threat and security (2002; 2006; 2007), student motivations for academic success and global leadership (2003; 2004; 2010; 2011) and gender justice/women's studies (2008; 2009; 2010). In addition, she has presented numerous papers on related political and social issues at professional conferences (e.g. Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association; the Midwest Political Science Association; Southern Political Science Association; Southwest Political Science Association; Louisiana Political Science Association; Research Association of Minority Professors and National Council for Research on Women). In addition to her teaching and research at Xavier, Dr. Waldron-Moore serves as Coordinator of the Women's Studies Program at Xavier, International Studies Adviser to students interested in careers in the US foreign service and national security agencies; participates actively in curriculum development and program activities aimed at internationalizing the curriculum; reviews scholarship programs (e.g. the Boren Scholarship and Fellowship for NSEP Fellows and the Jewel Prestage Scholarship Award in political science); and conducts peer reviews for publications in leading political science and interdisciplinary journals (e.g. the American Journal of Political Science; Comparative Political Studies and the Race, Gender and Class project affiliate of the American Sociological Association). Further, she maintains professional currency through regular participation in NYU's Faculty Resource Network Summers and Symposia and annual meetings of the National Council for Research on Women. Prior to adopting an academic career, Dr. Waldron-Moore served as a Foreign Service Officer of the Republic of Guyana. She enjoyed tours of duty at the United Nations, New York and the Court of St. James, London.

Kim Marie Vaz, Ph.D., LPC

received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tulane University and her doctorate in educational psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington.  Currently, she is a professor of education and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Xavier University of Louisiana.  She is the author of The ‘Baby Dolls’: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition published by Louisiana State University Press in 2013. The ‘Baby Dolls’ is the 2016 selection of the Young Leadership Council’s program, One Book One New Orleans (OBONO). OBONO is a literacy campaign that strives to get books into the hands of those who are ordinarily left out of the reading community.  It encourages the city to form a connection around one book each year and sponsors eight events inspired by the book between August and October.

In 2013 her book was the basis for a major exhibition titled “They Call Me Baby Doll: A Mardi Gras Tradition” at The Louisiana State Museum Presbytere unit. An art exhibit guest-curated by she and painter Ron Bechet titled “Contemporary Artists Respond to the New Orleans Baby Dolls” was on view in the spring of 2015 at the George and Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art in New Orleans.  That exhibit along with chapters by scholars on the tradition is chronicled in the forthcoming book “Contemporary Scholars and Artists Respond to the Baby Dolls of New Orleans” through the University of Mississippi Press.  

Her work on the Baby Doll masking tradition has been featured locally on WWNO, WRBH, WWOZ, WYES-TV’s Steppin’ Out, Off Beat Magazine, Where Ya’ At Magazine, The Times Picayune and The Advocate and nationally on National Public Radio (NPR) and Black Entertainment Television (BET). Dr. Vaz-Deville’s area of research is the on the use of expressive arts as a response to large group social trauma with attention to women, gender and insurgency.  She is working on a manuscript on New Orleans’ version of hip hop called bounce and its meanings as social commentary. 

Women’s Studies