Litty Paxton, Ph.D.


Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Litty Paxton came to Penn on a Thouron Fellowship and earned a Ph.D. in American Civilization and a Graduate Certificate in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies. She has taught at the University of East Anglia and at Emory University, where she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life. Litty has received scholarships from the Fulbright Commission, the British Academy, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard. She has written for the Philadelphia Inquirer and appeared on film for Michael Moore Live, on stage in The Vagina Monologues, and on air for NPR.

As Director of the Penn Women’s Center since 2008, Litty has spearheaded a variety of programmatic and building initiatives. As co-PI on a Department of Justice Violence Against Women grant, she oversaw the creation of Penn Violence Prevention, a multi-dimensional program offering education, expertise, advocacy, and consultation services on Interpersonal Violence. She established PWC’s first ever Lactation room, oversaw the creation of the Center’s multi-use garden, and directed an award-winning sustainability project: Penn’s first ever Environmental Education Kitchen. To mark the Center’s recent 40th Anniversary, Litty launched Voices of Change, an ongoing video-series documenting the inspiring stories of a diverse range of Penn women leaders.

For the past decade, Litty has served as a Lecturer in Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication where she teaches a large lecture course, “Critical Approaches to Popular Culture,” and an upper-level seminar on Ritual Communication. She has also taught for Penn’s Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Program, the Dept. of English, the Critical Writing Program, and the Social Justice Summer Academy. Litty served for twelve years as a residential Faculty Fellow in Penn’s College House system, embracing Penn’s mission to extend learning beyond the classroom setting. She is also a longstanding faculty mentor for the Penn Posse program. Litty is the 2018 Recipient of the Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Litty lives in University City with her husband Dan Garofalo, Penn’s Director of Environmental Sustainability. When not renovating their 1880s row-home, they can be found gardening at the Woodlands, enjoying Philadelphia’s rich cultural offerings, and cycling in the city and beyond.