Bettina Aptheker

Bettina Aptheker is a scholar-activist who is currently Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Feminist Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, and holder of the Peggy & Jack Baskin UC Presidential Chair for Feminist Studies. She co-led the Free Speech Movement (1964-1965) at the University of California, Berkeley, she was part of the civil rights movement, a supporter of the Black Panther Party, especially against police and FBI violence, and part of the national leadership of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (1966-1970s). She co-led the National United Committee to Free Angela Davis (and all political prisoners). She received her doctorate in History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz. Her dissertation, published by University of Massachusetts Press, was titled Woman’s Legacy: Essays on Race, Class, and Sex in American History. She helped to build the Women’s Studies Program at UC Santa Cruz starting in the late 1970s and began teaching for it in the Winter of 1981, a course that evolved into "Introduction to Feminisms," taught from an anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and internationalist perspective with an annual enrollment of nearly 500 undergraduates. She taught it for more than 30 years. An out lesbian since the mid-1980s she has been a supporter of gay, lesbian, and transgender activism and scholarship. Her most recent book is a memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up red, Fought for Free Speech and Became a Feminist Rebel. Her current book-in-progress is Queering the History of the Communist Left in the United States. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, with her long-time partner and now wife, Kate Miller. Together they raised three children, and now share the joy of grandchildren.

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