A pioneer in the feminist movement, Gloria Feman Orenstein has dedicated herself to making a difference. She felt the best way to share her interest in feminist art, ecofeminism, and women of Surrealism was higher education, where she could work with students directly. She started as a chargé de cours in American culture and literature at the University of Paris in France in 1971, and moved to the Douglass College of Rutgers University a year later. She really felt at home at the institution, and held positions including co-adjutant in English and women’s studies, assistant English professor, chairperson of the women’s studies program, and director of The Rutgers Junior Year in France. Dr. Orenstein then transferred to the University of Southern California in 1985 as the faculty-in-residence in the Pacific Apartments. She spent the remainder of her career with the institution, retiring as a tenured professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies in 2006.
Dr. Orenstein further shared her findings through a variety of noteworthy publications. Some of these include “Reweaving the World,” “The Reflowering of the Goddess,” “The Reemergence of the Archetype of the Great Goddess in Contemporary Art by Women,” and “Feminist Art Criticism: An Anthology.” Additionally, she co-founded the Women’s Salon for Literature and ran it from 1974 to 1984. Ms. Orenstein was thrilled with the reception she received. Her efforts earned her a wide variety of accolades, such as the FRIF Grant for Research on Sami Women from the University of Southern California in Lapland, Norway, The Vesta Award from The Woman’s Building and the Research-Travel Grant for Research on Québecois feminist writer and artist Jovette Marchessault from the Gouvernement De Quebec, Ministere Des Relations Internationales. She was also invited to attend the first national ecofeminist writers’ retreat at the Hopscotch House in Kentucky in 1993.
To prepare for her endeavors, Dr. Orenstein earned a Bachelor of Arts in romance languages and literature, magna cum laude, in 1959, a Master of Arts in Slavic languages and literature from Radcliffe Graduate School at Harvard University in 1961, and a PhD in comparative literature from New York University in 1971. She ensured she kept up to date with her peers and professional community through affiliation with the Division on Relations of Literature and the Other Arts at The Modern Language Association and the Mu Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Brandeis University.