Doreen Piano, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and
Director of the Women and Gender Studies ProgramPiano


Office: LA 333
Phone: 504-280-6457


Education: Ph.D., Bowling Green University
MA, University of Texas-Austin
BA, University of Arizona

Research and Publications

Dr. Doreen Piano began her career in rhetoric and composition studies teaching developmental writing at Austin Community College after receiving a masters' degree in creative writing from the University of Texas. Since then, she has taught first-year and sophomore writing, women’s studies, technical writing, advanced grammar/usage, and film and literature classes at various universities and junior colleges. In 2003, she graduated from Bowling Green University with a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition Studies, and after teaching at Georgia Tech for several years, began her job as an assistant professor at UNO. She teaches courses in rhetoric and writing, visual rhetoric, social media, technical writing, and non-fiction literature. 

Dr. Piano's dissertation research was an interdisciplinary study that investigated the use of DIY or do-it-yourself practices within a Third Wave feminist subculture. This research has contributed to the emerging field of ‘girls’ studies’ or what she calls ‘subcultural feminisms.’ She received a travel grant from the Sallie Bingham Center at Duke University to work in their zine archive collection in 2006 and has written popular and academic articles about the significance of DIY (do-it-yourself) culture in Third Wave feminism.

Due to Hurricane Katrina’s impact on her teaching and research, Dr. Piano has several new research projects underway. She has created a print and digital archive known as the Writing After Katrina Archive Project (WAKAP) that is a repository of Katrina-related student writings produced in the English Department at UNO. Additionally, she is currently documenting the recovery of the city’s public culture through the aesthetic, collective, and political uses of public space by New Orleans’ residents. Her research about New Orleans dovetails with a growing interest in visual material culture and cultural geography and its intersection with critical literacy practices.

She has presented papers at the Rhetoric Society of America Biennial Conference, the American Studies Association Conference, the College Composition and Communication Conference, and the Modern Language Association Conference. She has published book chapters, articles, and photographic essays as well as educational materials.

Dr. Piano's recent essay "Boost or Blight?' Graffiti Writing and Street Art in the 'new' New Orleans" was published in the Routledge Handbook on Street Art and Graffiti, edited by Jeffrey Ross in 2015. Her essay "Graffiti and Street Art in the Crescent City: A Vexed Relationship" was published online by im-possible.

Recently she was invited to read her work and present her photographs on graffiti culture at Dogfish Reading Series in New Orleans. In 2017, her article "Making Sense of Disaster: Composing a Methodology for Place-Based Visual Research" will appear in a collection, Serendipity in Rhetoric, Writing, and Literacy Research, edited by Peter Goggin and Maureen Goggin.