Faculty Directory

Bettina Aptheker
  • Title
    • Distinguished Professor
    • UC Presidential Co-Chair, Feminist Critical Race & Ethnic Studies
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Feminist Studies Department
    • Humanities Division
  • Affiliations History Department, Jewish Studies, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Phone
    831-459-2116
  • Email
  • Fax
    831-459-1925
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Humanities 1, Rm 340
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Courses Taught 80A. Feminism and Social Justice, 139. African American Feminist History, 123. Feminist Cultural Productions, 194I.Feminist Oral History and Memoir, 203. Feminist Pedagogies, 260. Black Feminist Reconstruction

Summary of Expertise

Broad areas in Feminist Studies including critical race, queer theory, sexual violence, reproductive freedom. African American feminist history, Jewish women's culture, African American and women's history late 19th century through 20th century.

Research Interests

Women's history, feminist oral history and memoir, feminist pedagogy, African American feminist history, queer studies, feminist Jewish studies, feminist critical race studies

Current research is called "Queering the History of the American Left: 1940s-1980s" Based on extensive archival research, especially in the files of the Communist Party, and interviews. The Communist Party and many Left organizations routinely expelled (or were hostile to) gays and lesbians (and more recently transsexual/transgender folks) including, for example, the founder of the first gay rights organization, The Mattachine Society, in Los Angeles in 1951. Harry Hay and his six founding comrades were all members of the Communist Party and all were expelled. The political contours of the gay rights movements were deeply influenced by the Communist and Left practices and understandings of their founders. Another, unrelated research project is on the operatic and playwriting career of Shirley Graham {Du Bois} in the 1920s and 1930s, extending a long historical and neglected history of African American women in the arts.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D. History of Consciousness, UC Santa Cruz. Most recent book, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became A Feminist Rebel (2006. Other book(s): The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis (1976; second edition, 1999), Tapestries of Life: Women's Work, Women's Consciousness and the Meaning of Daily Life (1989). Classes include Feminism & Social Justice (FS 20) Feminist Pedagogies (FS 203), African American Feminist History (FS 139), Black Feminist Reconstruction (FS 260).

Selected Publications

  • "Afterword," to Jan Willis, Dreaming Me: Black, Baptist, and Buddhist, One Woman's Spiritual Journey, Wisdom Publications, 2008, pp. 355-357.
  • "Cultural Identity and Multicultural Complexity," A review essay of The Colors of Jews: Radical Politics and Radical Diasporism by Melanie Kaye-Kantrowitz in Women's Review of Books, May/June 2008,
  • Vol. 25, Issue 3, pp. 23-25.
  • "Keeping the Communist Party Straight, 1940s-1980s," New Politics, Summer 2008, Vol.XII, No. 1, pp.22-27.
  • "Toni Cade Bambara: A Political Life of the Spirit," in Linda J. Holmes and Cheryl A. Wall, editors, Savoring the Salt: The Legacy of Toni Cade Bambara, Temple University Press, 2008. pp. 226-235.
  • Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel, Jackson, TN: Seal Press, 2006.
  • "Shirley Graham Du Bois," in Notable American Women: A biographical dictionary completing the twentieth century, Susan Ware, ed., Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2004.
  • "Red Feminism: A Personal and Historical Reflection," Science & Society, Winter 2003 Vol. 66, No 4, pp. 519-526.
  • The Morning Breaks: The Trial of Angela Davis, 1976; second edition, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999.
  • Tapestries of Life: Women's Work, Women's Consciousness and the Meaning of Daily Life, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989.
  • Woman's Legacy: Essays on Race, Sex, and Class in American History, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1982.
  • "Foreword," to Nawal El Saadawi, A Daughter of Isis: The early life of Nawal El Saadawi , London: Zed Books, 2009
  • "Freedom's Architects: Feminists Re-Vision the HIstory of the Modern Civil Rights Movement," a review essay of At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance by Danielle L. McGuire (New York: Knopf, 2010)
  • Hands of the Freedom Plow: Persona Accounts by Womeni in SNCC, by Faith Holsaert, et al, editors (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2010) in Women's Review of Books (Forthcoming, 2011)