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smThe Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking is pleased to announce Saru M. Matambanadzo as the Ratner Family and New Day II Professor of Social Entrepreneurship beginning January 1, 2017.

Saru M. Matambanadzo, Ph.D., joined the faculty of Tulane University School of Law in 2010. As the Moise S. Steeg, Jr. Associate Professor of Law, Dr. Matambanadzo incorporates her diverse interdisciplinary research interests through law, policy, philosophy, vulnerability theory, and women’s studies, examining questions concerning the ways law and policies facilitate belonging and inclusion or lead to exclusion and marginalization. Dr. Matambanadzo’ s research also spans topics such as feminist legal theory, employment discrimination, animal rights, and food justice. Her publications include writing on legal pedagogy and critical theory, legal sex and trans* identity, legal personhood in historical and contemporary contexts, and pregnancy discrimination against new mothers.

As a Social Entrepreneurship Professor, Dr. Matambanadzo will apply design thinking methodology to her work to address the challenges mothers in the Gulf South Region face with employment discrimination, maternal health, and resource accessibility. Furthermore, she will use design thinking principles to examine the complex problems related to food justice in the region, particularly in rural Mississippi. For this initiative, Dr. Matambanadzo and her husband David Noble have purchased a 32-acre farm in Foxworth, MS as a laboratory for grounding research in law and policy around food related issues. They intend to grow lavender and seasonal vegetables for market and to participate in the local agricultural community to understand and innovate food justice. While at Taylor, Matambanadzo plans to increase integration and synergies between the Law School and the Taylor Center by teaching topics such as employment discrimination and social innovation.

In addition to her research efforts at the Law School, Dr. Matambanadzo collaborates with Newcomb College Research Center on Women to produce a semi-annual report on gender parity for women in executive positions and board positions for publicly traded companies in Mississippi and Louisiana. Matambanadzo is also a member of the boards of LatCrit and ClassCrits, organizations in legal scholarship that focus on critical perspectives that employ intersectional methodologies in scholarship, teaching, and praxis to promote through the stories, the lives and insights of marginalized persons.

Dr. Matambanadzo received her Ph.D. in Women’s Studies from University of California – Los Angeles, where she received numerous competitive grants including the UC President’s Dissertation Fellowship, the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, the Twin Pines Award, and the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship to support her research. Matambanadzo received her Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh summa cum laude in English Literature and Philosophy. She received the Helen Faison Scholarship for her undergraduate studies and a K. Leroy Irvis Fellowship for her post-baccalaureate studies in philosophy.

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