WGSS professor feels at home on the Hill
After spending time in cities throughout the United States, including New York, Austin and Chicago, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Francis Hollis Griffin was pleasantly surprised to find himself coming to Maine to join the faculty here on the Hill this fall.
"What I like about Colby so far is that the campus is beautiful," Griffin said. "I have never been part of an institution this size, so I'm really impressed by how much everybody knows one another and makes an effort toward collegiality, if only because they know they have to interact with one another."
While everyone who has ever received a brochure from the College is already aware of how photogenic the campus can be, Griffin acknowledges that although the temperatures might be dropping, the students and faculty have been making his first semester here on the Hill as warm as possible.
"Everyone has been extremely helpful, and yes, I am extremely new, but it's been relatively painless in this way that none of my school experiences have been up until now," Griffin said.
Griffin's decision to teach at Colby was conflicted by another offer he received from DePaul University in Chicago. "The metrics of the academic job market are such that I don't want you to think that I had this huge choice [in deciding to come to Colby]," Griffin joked. "But I had one choice, and it wasn't a no-brainer because I was living in Chicago. The chance to be in an environment like this, where faculty work so closely with students, was something I wanted to do and I"m really glad I've done it."
Prior to his arrival in Maine, Griffin was an undergraduate student at Cornell University, graduating in 1998. He then worked in publishing as a book publicist for the next five years before enrolling in graduate school for the next seven years at Northwestern.
"I was at Northwestern before Colby and I was finishing my doctorate in a Media and Cultural Theory Program, which is kind of interdisciplinaryâ€”literature, film, technology, communication studies and comparative literature," Griffin said. "My huge interest is queer theory, or the ways in which sexuality figures into literature and technology."
When he isn't busy teaching his class this semester, Feminist Theories and Methodologies, Griffin enjoys spending time with his 5-year old dog Roxie, reading and watching television and moviesâ€”all the things he was not able to do during his seven years spent in graduate school.
Like many students on campus he is a big fan of the show Glee, and is enjoying the new season thus far. He's also addicted to his iPhone and Facebook. He's hoping to get to the movie theater in the near future to see Easy A, Machete and Social Network. Griffin is also a self-described 'foodie,' admitting that he loves to eat locally grown food.
As excited as he is to be living in the state of Maine, Griffin said his dream vacation at the moment would involve a warm tropical beach. Or, as he said, "anywhere I can drink something out of a coconut."
At the moment Griffin is continuing to work on his book manuscript, an adaptation of his dissertation. "It looks at the history of queer media - gay and lesbian media" in the context of the Internet and public space."
Of his time at Colby thus far, Griffin said, "I'm really impressed by the caliber of students. I"m only teaching one class right now and it's only met twice, but the ways in which discussion has developed and the interaction that I see between students and texts speaks highly of Colby, and I think that it speaks highly of the quality of education here."