Pagan Studies

Griffin's Blog

Wendy Griffin age 4

Professor Wendy Griffin

Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies

MHB 818
California State University Long Beach
(562) 985-5798 (562) 985-1868 fax
     Professor Wendy Griffin was once a college dropout.  At the end of her first semester at Northwestern University, back in the days when female students were locked in the dorm at 9 p.m., she made a rope ladder out of sheets and escaped out the window.  She fled to New York to do Off Broadway, working with the likes of Dustin Hoffman, Mitch Ryan and Graham Jarvis.  In between shows, she supported herself as a puppeteer, a "Beat" poet, and a diamond courier.

     After several seasons, she traveled with friends to Mexico and from there to Florence, Italy.  But the wet Italian winters resulting in her strapping her guitar on the back of a motor scooter, and heading across the Alps to southern Spain.  During the next decade, she married, had a daughter, worked as a folk singer in London, and traveled across Europe with her musician husband.

Wendy Griffin
     Ten years later, the ex-expatriate returned to the United States to find herself a single parent with a high school education and very limited labor market skills.  She worked as a Spanish/English interpreter  in Chicago and then branched out into folk and cabaret singing before moving to California.  Here she sang in several clubs and got  full-time work as a cocktail waitress and bartender.  With time, she began to double as the Federal Women's Program Coordinator for the El Toro Marine Corps Base.  She resumed her long neglected formal education on a part-time basis through the California community college system. A scholarship from the American Association of University Women allowed her to reverse that balance and, as a full-time student, she transferred to the University of California at Irvine.  There she received her BA Magna Cum Laude and then went on to graduate with a Ph.D. in the interdisciplinary Social Sciences, with an emphasis on the sociology of sex and gender.

     During graduate school, Professor Griffin published two historical novels, which she refers to as "subliminally subversive,"  and was honored by the friends of the UCI Library for her literary accomplishments.

     At present, she is a  Professor Emerita and Chair of the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at CA. State University, Long Beach, where she was presented with the award for Excellence in Teaching from the Friends of Women's Studies in 1988, and from the College of Liberal Arts in 1993.  She teaches a wide range of classes, from large introductory GE/HD courses to senior level seminars.

     She is a longtime community activist, having served in leadership positions in California NOW, Orange County ERA, and Long Beach’s WomanShelter, among others, and has been honored with the highest award granted by the Women's Network Alert, a coalition of several thousand Orange County Feminist Activists. As an expert on women's issues, her interviews frequently appear in the broadcast and print media. Her work has been used in testimony before CA. Senate Judiciary Committee on Economic Equity.

     Her current research examines the religious construction of gender, particularly as traditional representations are challenged  in contemporary feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality.  She has publications  in noted academic journals on sociology, religion, and gender, is the editor of the anthology Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, Identity and Empowerment, published by AltaMira Press, and co-editor of the new academic series in pagan studies, by the same publisher.

     Professor Griffin’s interest in spirituality and female representations is also evident in her work as a performance artist and drummer,  where she is able to integrate her earlier life in the arts with her academic one.

      She lives in Long Beach with her husband, a large dog, one bird, nineteen drums, and a pond  full of koi.

     In case you began reading this wondering why it was not a traditional  C.V., you should now be able to guess the answer.  Along with many other scholars today, Professor Griffin rejects the concept of absolute objectivity.  She acknowledges that she is an embodied thinker and an embodied teacher who has lived an unconventional life.  Who she is and where she has been contribute to shaping her classes and research.  As a friend once pointed out, there is no point in her attempting to present herself  as traditional.   Who she is just wells up and  spills out.

Wendy Griffin
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last updated: August 18, 2010 by Professor Wendy Griffin