Dr. Deidre Hill Butler's research areas encompass the Sociology of Black Women’s Culture. She specializes in ethnographic studies of Womanism; where she examines anti-Black racism and Black resilience and joy. At the heart of her work is an understanding of how Black women reimagine and create optimal communities.
Dr. Hill Butler joined the Sociology Department at Union College in the Fall of 2001. Her courses are innovative and intersectional, drawing in students across all majors and minors. Some of her most appreciated and popular classes amongst students include: Sociology of Black Religious Experiences, Political Sociology #Blacklivesmatter, and Sociology of the American Family: Cross-Cultural Perspectives.
Professor Hill Butler finds joy in exploring Black resilience strategies. Her forthcoming book, Beyond Mammies and Matriarchs: Visibility of Black Stepmothers with SUNY Press, reveals the interior lives of womanist stepmothers. Notably, her work appears in various edited volumes and interdisciplinary journals, including Afro-Americans in New York Life and History: An Interdisciplinary Journal and the Journal of the Association for the Research on Mothering. She also guest-edited a special edition of the Journal of Pan African Studies (JPAS) on Africana mothering.
Dr. Hill Butler’s exhibit, “Revitalized Community Bordeaux: a Neighborhood of Nashville, Tennessee Since the 2010 Flood,” is a collection of personal testimonies and photographic narratives of womanist praxis.
Dr. Deidre Hill Butler recently ended her term as an inaugural member of the President’s Diversity team as Director of Faculty Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging / Academic Diversity Officer, where she contributed to faculty recruitment and retention efforts and chaired the History and Symbols Committee. She is a co-founder of the BIPOC Employee Alliance, Union Coalition for Inclusiveness and Diversity (UCID), and Women of Color Collective. During her time as the Director of the Africana Studies Program, she co-hosted the New York African Studies Association Conference and elevated the program into a Major. An agent for community engagement, Professor Hill Butler is on the Board of Safe Inc, an emergency shelter that serves homeless and runaway youth, along with C.O.C.O.A House: an after-school program that enriches youth in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood). Additionally, as a member of the oldest Black Church in Schenectady, Duryee Memorial AME Zion Church, and a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
All of Professor Hill Butler’s work is innovative and intersectional, attracting students across all majors and minors. Her mentoring style with students is individualized. She connects with her mentees to learn their skill sets and research interests, to create suitable projects.
In her Black Women’s Studies Qualitative Data Research Lab, Dr. Hill Butler works with undergraduate students, library staff, and the Union College learning technologies team to digitize her 100+ Black feminist and womanist interview dataset. When complete, the archive will be accessible on multiple digital platforms.
Professor Hill Butler is relaunching her Womanist Genealogies podcast series with a focus on conversations questioning sexual and gender politics, economic and cultural marginality, and anti-racist practices with self-care wisdom sprinkled throughout every exchange. The series allows audiences to listen in on conversations between Black women across several generations, and much more.