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Biography of Joanna Hubbs, Ph.D.

President and Senior Editor of Transitions Abroad Publishing, Inc.

Joanna Hubbs Senior Editor Joanna Hubbs, Ph.D., in Paris, France, at 82 — one of many places she has lived abroad and visited for over 70 years.

Joanna Hubbs, Ph.D., a European who has traveled extensively since her birth 84 years ago, is the president and senior editor of and has been helping select and edit copy for the website since 2007 after the passing of her late husband, Clay Hubbs Ph.D., the visionary founder and publisher of Transitions Abroad magazine in 1977.

In 2006, she retired as a professor of Russian cultural studies at Hampshire College, where she had taught since 1971 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Washington. She received a prestigious Woodrow Wilson fellowship to pursue her doctoral studies.

Though offered positions by many prestigious traditional institutions of higher learning in the country upon completion of her Ph.D. in Russian Studies, Joanna was drawn to teach at Hampshire College, a very progressive institution, due to its strong stated commitment to free speech and social activism within the unique context of the 5-college consortium in Amherst, Massachusetts. Hubbs was one of the first faculty members hired at the college to help build a community of teachers and students — an environment in which learning, discussion, and debate would go on quickly and continually, formally and informally, in the classroom and out.

Dr. Hubbs has written on Russian and European cultural history and literature, mythology, and folklore. Her controversial book (she read but refused to follow the contemporary critical theory/linguistic fashions of the times as she found the methodologies to be superficial, reductionistic, unimaginative, and inherently fleeting as modes of analysis), Mother Russia: The Feminine Myth in Russian Culture, is an interpretive and suggestive study of Russian history starting with influences from prehistoric times through early 20th-century literature. Her book has been translated into Japanese and is frequently cited by scholars and syllabi in courses at eminent institutions. Joanna received the 1989 Heldt Prize for Excellence from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies for her work.

Professor Hubbs created and co-taught courses at Hampshire College designed to challenge students to think critically, deeply, and beyond the superficial via imagination, intuition, and analysis. She taught everything from some of the many great writers, thinkers, and mystics — including Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gogol, Turgenev, Pushkin, Bulgakov, Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Diderot, Saint-Martin, Virginia Woolf, et al. — to Russian Cultural History, Russian Film, Mythology and Alchemy, the Elements of Myth in Modern Literature, Modernism and Film, and the French Enlightenment.

Joanna Hubbs. Senior Editor Joanna Hubbs, Ph.D., while a professor of Russian Cultural History and Literature, in her 40s.

Joanna was married for 48 years to former Air Force jet pilot, journalist, professor, and study abroad advisor Dr. Clay Hubbs, who left his teaching position at Hampshire College to publish and edit Transitions Abroad magazine full-time. The couple has lived and traveled worldwide, most often in a nomadic and spontaneous manner. Their son, Gregory Hubbs, continues to expand the website — which has been inspired by family and independent travel and decades of living and traveling abroad in his own right. Joanna has frequently traveled, studied, and lived abroad throughout more than 77 of her 84 years and would travel without end if possible.

Joanna was born and raised in Europe, spent her several years in England, where she created mayhem in "finishing schools," yet still managed to have an audience with the Queen, lived several years in Switzerland, having neighbors such as Charlie Chaplin (whose wife she knew and kids she played with) in Vevey on the Lake of Geneva in her teens.

(Editor's note: Joanna does not wish her son to drop a fraction of the names of the many other very famous people she formerly knew and knows well, and her son regards her as the most intelligent, widely read, and sophisticated human being he has ever met, as well as being a fabulous French and Italian cook..)

Joanna speaks, reads, and writes in five languages fluently. She lived long-term in a small rustic watchtower in a Tuscan hilltop town with Clayton Hubbs for 40+ years. Joanna has also lived and studied in France, Switzerland, and England (all for several years), as well as the U.S. coasts and central states. Joanna has traveled slowly and long-term in countries and regions such as Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, most every Mediterranean and Scandinavian country, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Persia, and many locations in North and Central America — not including the countless countries she has visited for shorter periods during cross-continental trips.

Hubbs has written two novels, which she stubbornly refuses to publish. She is working on a third about the late, highly influential Symbolist and Early Modern French visionary poet and adventurer Arthur Rimbaud, whose voyages through Africa she physically retraced. Joanna has published short stories in Europe. She plans to continue her fiction writing and poetry in retirement while completing her biography, which her son will edit and publish, traveling, and continuing her insatiable appetite for reading, learning, discussion, and especially debate! Joanna tempers her intellectual intensity, boundless energy, and imagination with other pursuits such as reading in multiple languages voraciously, a comprehensive and deep appreciation for the fine arts, sharing her French and Italian cooking with family and friends, fine dining, and a passion for witty conversation and storytelling.

Dr. Hubbs is presently involved in selecting and editing articles for, helping to continue to steer the editorial direction toward what she finds exciting and informative about anything abroad. To contact her or for interviews, please email her at senioreditor @

Selected Online Articles by Joanna Hubbs for Transitions Abroad
Slow Food in Italy and Beyond: An Interview with Carlo Petrini
Slow Food in Tuscany
Letter from Ethiopia: Visitors to Africa's "Best-Kept Secret" Receive Rich Rewards
Affordable Paris: Rent an Apartment Then Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
Beyond Venice: Soaking Up the Wine, Cooking, and Culture of the Friuli
Travel to Eat: The Traditional Food Found in the Langue Region of Italy
Cooking in Tuscany: Hands-On Lessons in La Cucina Tradizionale
Off the Beaten Track in Florence

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