Metta Spencer

On the Way to the Forum

In Gender and the Academic Experience: Berkeley Women 1952-72, Kay Meadow Orlans and Ruth Wallace (eds.) (University of Nebraska Press, 1994)

By Metta Spencer

Once upon a time, all the people on earth took off their life stories and hung them on a tree. Then they walked around the tree inspecting lives and chose the one they liked best, to keep as their own. In the end they all picked the life that had been theirs originally. This is a true story. Try it. You'll find it's true for you.

What I prize most about my life is the excellence of my problems. I got them all at UC Berkeley. However, their lingering influence on me cannot be attributed so much to the sociology department there as to the utopian zeitgeist of California in the sixties. Berkeley culture fostered an openness to change, not only among the identifiable crowd of astrologers, orators, and vendors, but also in academe. Only mainstream businesspeople and professionals were unaffected. No doubt that is why I still feel ambivalent toward professionals, though most of my colleagues identify themselves as such. For myself, I prefer to be an intellectual--to orient my work toward civic issues and public discourse. [1]

Russell Jacoby has argued that intellectuals have been in decline in North America since universities expanded after World War II and created professorships that measure performance by publications for academic peers. Productive work for the educated lay audience does not count. Jacoby laments the demise of the "little magazine." In Britain and on the Continent academics are still recognized for contributions to public discourse, but the trend in North America is toward professionalism. [2]

My career has been shaped mostly by two factors: the Berkeley culture, which prized breadth of intellectual vision and activism, and my gender. Berkeley taught me to integrate my work with my personal life, and to direct both toward social reform. Being a woman taught me to choose projects that serve real human beings, and not to be aggressive. These traits have combined in a career in which research and writing constitute praxis, chiefly addressing problems of security and peace.

I have rarely experienced sexist discrimination. Academic men treat me no better and no worse than they treat male students and male colleagues. However, as a woman I rarely fight or negotiate as strongly as a man might for what I want, so I end up with less. On the other hand, I have been able to live by my own values without extreme sacrifice, and I ask for no more than that. Indeed, this is my chosen life story, the one I picked off the tree.

My earliest memories are of an Oklahoma town during the Great Depression: hoboes eating in our back yard; summer evenings at an outdoor revival; winters in Granddaddy's drugstore, where old men sat around the coal stove, spitting and listening to President Roosevelt's fireside chats and, on one scary afternoon, to the news of Pearl Harbor. That changed our lives. Our family moved to Southern California and turned into Republicans.

When I reached eighteen, I left for Berkeley and moved into an interracial co-op for radicals of both sexes. It was 1949, the year of the loyalty oath, and I joined in the defense of professors who refused to sign the anti-Communist pledge. We lost, and some of the most principled professors departed. Our mood was defensive, not daring, as the Free Speech Movement (FSM) would be fifteen years later. I was committed to free speech, not to socialism. That winter, after Norman Thomas finished a lecture in Wheeler Auditorium, I stood up and asked him how socialists proposed to control bureaucracy. I didn't like his answer (which belittled the problem) and I was right.

When I was nineteen, I married a psychology graduate student and left academic life for ten years. I worked at several jobs--some I liked, some I did not--but I lacked a sense of direction and was susceptible to depressions. If there had been a feminist movement at the time, I would not have joined it, but I did learn in therapy what many other women later discovered in consciousness-raising groups: that the dark side of our nurturing trait is a compulsion to respond to all demands.

Even this insight would not have impelled me to take charge of my life if I had remained responsible only for myself. Pregnancy pushed me into making decisions for the sake of my child. Thus, at the age of thirty, I left my marriage, and five months later, in 1960, gave birth to a son. I had three hundred dollars and felt ready for anything.

Alimony was due to be paid for three years, while I earned a B.A. and a teaching credential. The first baby-sitting scheme was the hardest. I pushed the stroller two miles from Oakland to Berkeley to share child care with a history student. She left her class five minutes early and ran to her apartment, where I was ready to run to my class, arriving five minutes late. After several such relay sprints each day, I pushed the stroller home.

I was fortunate that Karl Popper visited Berkeley, as his social philosophy class was the most valuable course I ever took. I learned from it not to measure the effects of teaching by students' immediate responses. At first, his class filled a large hall. Within weeks, it had dwindled to fill only the front row. Now I realize why: Popper made everything so clear that it seemed self-evident. But he was giving us the answers to questions we would understand only later. Whenever I got into a muddle writing a paper, I reviewed Popper's notes, and there his answers were for me, like money in the bank. Another thing I learned from Popper was the value of good intellectual fighting. When a truculent Maoist visited class to hassle the great anti-Marxist philosopher, Popper decided the spatial arrangements did not facilitate fair debate. He placed two chairs face to face on the dais and beckoned the young radical to join him. "Now," he said with a smile, "we can talk." Marx was defeated in the encounter, but his protagonist went away feeling good, beaming and winking at Popper.

I took two courses from Dennis Wrong, who said he was visiting Berkeley because it was Mecca for sociologists; I hadn't realized the department was special, but I was loving sociology and dreaded the education courses. When a friend suggested that I take a master's in sociology and teach in a junior college instead of elementary school, I thought it a brilliant idea.

And so I joyfully began graduate school. In my memory, it is a continuation of the undergraduate period, as I studied with some of the same professors ( Herbert Blumer, Neil Smelser, Wolfram Eberhard, Kenneth Bock, and Jerome Skolnick). The other graduate students were headed toward the Ph.D. and assumed that I was too. I made no real decision to go for a doctorate but was swept along by the crowd. (In this case, it carried me in the right direction.)

Graduate work was no harder than the jobs for which I was qualified. The hitch occurred after the first term in 1964, when my alimony and child support unexpectedly stopped and I had to earn additional income. Herbert Blumer genially referred me to a Catholic women's college. The Sister there reasonably judged that I was not yet qualified to teach, but Blumer refused to send her anyone else so I got the job. For the next few years, I worked half-time as a research assistant, taught one course a term at Holy Names, and took a full load.

There was a day care center near home, but my child was barely two and he hated it. I shared his opinion of total institutions for babies and liberated him quickly. He went most places with me; when he was old enough for Montessori school, I scheduled my teaching and errands during his school hours. Many things were sacrificed for my Ph.D.; regrettably, that sometimes included the quality of my son's parenting.

I became a sociologist not through coursework but through my work as a research assistant. At Berkeley's Survey Research Center, social science students of my generation developed a sentimental regard for counter-sorters, machines equivalent to the village well or community quilting frame. Card sorting required long hours of attention, but not careful attention, so each occasion was an opportunity for stimulating talk or for poking into interesting projects. One day I came across a box of cards from India--a political survey of university students. Seymour Martin Lipset was running a major project comparing student politics around the world. I asked for, and was given, the job of analyzing those blessed cards. Blessed because, first, I was paid to do the work and got course credit for it. Blessed because I turned the study into an M.A. thesis. And most blessed because, just before the thesis was complete, that requirement for a master's degree was abolished. By 1969 I had completed a Ph.D. dissertation: "The Politics of University Students in India."

My graduate study, as such, lasted only five years; I could not have kept going longer. Lipset, who surely knew that, was generous all along, one year getting me a fellowship so I did not have to work; he pulled me through. I worked for Marty for about five years. The best possible way to study a text is to edit it, and I had a chance to edit some pieces for him that are still at work in my thinking.

While Lipset was comparing abstract student politics around the world, the real thing began to happen in Berkeley in 1964, when the Free Speech Movement exploded. I did not participate in the FSM, though I felt its attraction. Watching others sitting on the pavement around the legendary police car, with the captive student inside, I had to remind myself to pick up my four-year-old and fix his supper. Political sociologist Bill Kornhauser, who was standing there too, said thinly to no one in particular, "You don't turn the police on your own students."

The movements of the sixties have run together in my memory like the tie-dyed colors of the period, but at the time my responses to them were differentiated. I was ambivalent about the FSM, which I couldn't help seeing as displaced affect--a substitute for something else that was never articulated, perhaps a Weberian disenchantment with bureaucracy. Lipset came to represent a dark figure in the collective myth. He was a friend of Clark Kerr, president of UC Berkeley, but that cannot explain the image he acquired. Perhaps the explanation was the view of him as a liberal who had once been more radical. In any case, the next term he left Berkeley for Harvard.

My fervor was strongest for the antiwar movement. I passed out leaflets for Robert Scheer, the anti-Vietnam candidate, and marched with thousands on San Francisco's Market Street, carrying my son piggyback. I wrote letters to politicians every night. One day I watched on TV a seventeen-year-old soldier die in Vietnam and, weeping, picked up a felt-tipped pen, scrawled "Murder!" and mailed the word to Lyndon Johnson, complete with my return address. Soon two Secret Service agents appeared at my door in University Village, flashing badges and my letter, now in a transparent folder.

"What did you mean by this?" one asked.

"That Johnson is a murderer!" I replied.

"Oh," said the other, with evident relief. "We thought you were threatening to kill the President."

Before the conversation was over, one of the men said he agreed that Johnson was a murderer. Nevertheless, the event made me feel helpless. I gave up. No more letter writing. No more marching. My activism lay dormant for sixteen years.

Every Sunday night a group of graduate students met at my apartment to prepare for the oral exam. One of us critiqued the book assigned for the week, while the others played examiners. Harriet Presser had started the group by recruiting Janet Salaff and me. The group's emphasis shifted from demography to politics when Harriet moved on. Dick Roman, Arlie Hochschild, Steve Warner, Randy Collins, Dave Makowski, Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, Hal Jacobs, and Barbara Ballis were the longest-running players. Today, Dick and Janet are my colleagues in Toronto, and Jean-Guy is a treasured ally in the Canadian peace movement and peace research. Arlie is still a best friend. As for Randy, I cited him sixteen times in the last edition of my textbook, [3] compared with twelve times for Durkheim and nineteen for Weber. In the new edition, the gap will close further, especially since Randy alone predicted the decline of the Russian Empire. [4]

In 1967, after my oral exam (not a barrel of laughs) I left for Harvard, where I spent two years. Lipset gave Ann Swidler, another research assistant (now a professor at Berkeley), and me one of his three offices, where we snooped on the John Birch Society for his book written with Earl Raab, The Politics of Unreason (1970). The office was a grand room in the Center for International Affairs, whose acronym dropped a hint about a source of its funding, according to the radicals who later blew up the center's library. Henry Kissinger and his staff occupied the offices around us, and Erving Goffman had one across the lounge, where sherry was served to the fellows before lunch. Goffman came in only at night. He was working on Strategic Interaction (1969); its title was the only thing linking his work to that hawkish institute.

Harvard differed from Berkeley in ways that meant I had some adjusting to do. In the fall of 1987, Ann Swidler went off to graduate school in sociology at Berkeley, and we used to phone each other and complain. A Radcliffe graduate, she regarded Berkeley people as rude. Whenever she joined a meeting, nobody rose to shake hands; people remained sprawled on the floor, acting as if she had been there all along. She could drift in or drift out; everything seemed to happen in public, where anyone could attend. My complaints about Harvard were the reverse. Harvard was closed doors, closed discussions, and professional demeanor. Once at a cafeteria table, I overheard an interesting conversation and chimed in, as I would have done in Berkeley. I sensed immediately that this was considered rude: nobody had introduced me, so I should have remained invisible. I made my best friends in the India lunch group, intellectuals who met once a week and were not exclusive; Indians are culturally used to socializing in big groups without boundaries.

After a year, Lipset's money ran out and I had to find another job. I taught two courses each term at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and worked on Alex Inkeles's comparative modernization project.[5] Alex, a Harvard professor, had edited a series of short books, Foundations of Modern Sociology, that Prentice-Hall wanted to turn into a textbook. Recalling that I loved editing, he invited me to collaborate with him. I said yes, since I was homesick for Berkeley, but I couldn't hunt from Cambridge for research work in California, and the editing project was portable. Little did I expect the book to become a main occupation for the rest of my life.

Back in Berkeley in the spring of 1969 with a brand-new Ph.D., I found myself in a newly competitive job market. I rented a house on Albany Hill, where the schools were still good places for eight-year-olds. As an undergraduate, I had coded data for a study of anti-Semitism and race prejudice among adolescents. Since a book based on the study had never been published, Charles Glock, head of the Survey Research Center, asked if I would like to take the original tapes out for a road test. Yes, indeed.

In the tables, I saw a compelling new story line emerging--one that made us uneasy. The conclusion seemed inescapable that anti-Semitism reflected hurt feelings that became more frequent as the students approached dating age. Under increasing pressure from their parents to socialize only with members of their own religious community, Jewish students evidently withdrew from friendships with lower-status white Christians and formed separate social cliques. The most anti-Semitic white Christian pupils seemed to be those whose previous friendships with Jewish students no longer existed, although their former Jewish friends had not left the school. The Jewish students were likely to win the highest marks and school leadership roles, achievements that exacerbated the resentment. The tables showed powerful percentage differences, but how could such findings be reported without seeming to blame anti-Semitism on Jewish parents?

The dilemma for me became moot. I was hired at the University of Toronto in 1971 and had to move there before the controversial report was written. To my astonishment, Glock told me he would hire someone else to write up my analysis, assuring me that I would be credited as a co-author. The book that finally appeared bore little resemblance to my research. [6] With ladylike grace, I had let Glock's decision pass without objecting. He suggested that I write a monograph of my own, analyzing the far less promising data on prejudice against blacks. I regret not having insisted on reporting the awkward but important discoveries that I had made.

My other project, the textbook, was more successful, though Inkeles's original plan was not feasible. Not a single book in the series could be turned into a chapter merely by editing. I wrote most of the text, which became an authored book of my own. The first two editions of the textbook sold 52,000 copies during the first year, second place among U.S. textbooks for number of sales. I have now completed eight editions-- four in the United States and four in Canada. Normally, it takes one year to prepare a revision and another to interact with the publisher during production. Then I get a year off before starting over again. I enjoy the work and believe it worth doing. The introductory course is probably sociologists' best way to influence the wider culture.

In 1971, the University of Toronto was still expanding, and I realized I had made a good move. Toronto is a civilized, sophisticated city, hospitable to anyone willing to put down roots. However, Canadian sociology is not exciting. Its orientation is local, not cosmopolitan; professional, not intellectual. Apart from a strong component of nationalism (which I reject on principle), critical social commentary and experiential reflection are rare. (Such a statement shows how deeply my opinions continue to be influenced by West Coast culture.)

My depressions recurred several times, although they were neither conspicuous nor debilitating. I tried a variety of therapies, meditative disciplines, and seminars. I had a long-term interest in Eastern religion, and I found its teachings pervasive in the new therapies. I began to classify various subcultures of therapy and to look for their connections to Eastern religions. During the late seventies I experienced three epiphanies that clarified the origin of my own depressions, and I became sure I would never have another. I decided to write about therapy, not in a way that would rack up points on my curriculum vitae but in a way that would convey insights to other depressed people. I spent a sabbatical year ( 1979-80) working on the project in California and Asia, interviewing monks and teachers. A huge manuscript resulted-part philosophy, part fiction, part social analysis. I stopped writing after failing to help depressed friends when I attempted to communicate the crucial insights. Some say that people have to find their own solutions through their own efforts. (I don't quite believe that, and may some day resume the project.)

Soon after I ceased working on the cultures of therapy, an inner toggle-switch flipped from introspection to praxis. I regretted giving up activism and advocacy during the Vietnam War. In a stirring film, Helen Caldicott told us, "You must change the priorities of your life if you love this planet." In 1982, like millions of others, I did. I joined a remarkable organization, Science for Peace, and found "hard" scientists more active than social scientists in working for disarmament. [7]

Sociologists have an acquired distaste for advocacy, whereas scientists generally acknowledge a duty to ensure the ethical use of the knowledge they generate. My friends in Toronto are mainly mathematicians and physicists, not sociologists. Throughout the mid-eighties and again before the Gulf war, some of us in Science for Peace lectured or appeared on television at least once a week. And at my suburban college, the peace research resource center adjoining my office was filled with students, endlessly discussing events and planning teach-ins.

In Canada, the party in power consults citizens more than do American administrations. Policy commissions travel the country continually and Ottawa pays attention when groups write policy papers. One consequence of this concern is the creation of remarkable networks. For example, I was for some years a consultant to the Canadian ambassador for disarmament, [8] meeting military advisers and peace activists several times a year, either in a retreat in Canada or at the United Nations. As a result, I know many other Canadian activists well. The government also indirectly funds other peace movement projects, such as my beloved Peace Magazine. In 1982-83, the peace movement coalesced in opposing the testing of air-launched cruise missiles in Alberta. The academic community had not yet been mobilized on that question, so I phoned several members of Science for Peace and the chancellor of the University of Toronto, George Ignatieff. We drafted a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau. One of Trudeau's assistants, David Crenna, called and proposed to fly to Toronto to meet us for dinner that very evening. [9] He implied that Trudeau did not want to test the cruise missiles but that Washington's requests could be denied only under strong domestic pressure. Masses of protesters were not in the streets, as Trudeau had hoped they would be. I began to consider how to use my writing and editing skills in mobilizing protest.

In 1982, the disarmament movement needed an information center, so I invited activists to a meeting. We organized the Canadian Disarmament Information Service and began printing a calendar of events. With my son's full-time assistance, this became a tabloid and later Peace Magazine, which appears on newsstands across Canada six times a year. I am the editor, my home is the editorial office, and for years I did all the production work. Since I was the first person in Toronto to produce a magazine with desktop publishing, there was no one to teach me and no one to help out. I loved the work, but it absorbed more hours than a full-time job.

Soon I had contributed more to the magazine than I could afford to lose, which gave me a new understanding of the nature of commitment. As Howard Becker once noted, [10] commitment is not a free psychological decision, but an objective predicament--a trap. One finds oneself constrained by the consequences of one's own previous actions, such as painting oneself into a corner, or having to throw good money after bad to protect an investment.

Still, a trap is sometimes an excellent place to be. I had to persevere with Peace Magazine because I had foregone other career opportunities and had invested such a large chunk of my savings that I could not turn back. I found myself trapped into doing work of more value, I now believe, than I would otherwise have done.

Peace research has become the liveliest academic area; it is broad enough in scope to suit intellectuals, while creating enough technical problems to attract professionals as well. There are now more than two hundred peace studies programs in American universities, several excellent publications, and some academic organizations, such as the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), the Consortium on Peace Research, Education, and Development (COPRED), and, especially, the War and Peace Section of the American Sociological Association, where one can hear the most stimulating papers of the whole annual convention. (I have served on the boards of these groups.)

The key debate within the Canadian peace movement in the eighties concerned nonalignment. Initially, I focused strictly on convincing people in the West to reverse the nuclear arms race. To concentrate our forces, I believed that related issues must be deferred. We could not progress by including campaigns for democracy or human rights. I recall with chagrin a dinner with historian Edward P. Thompson, prominent member of the British disarmament movement. I spoke so vociferously along these lines that he observed, "You are a very aggressive woman." Thompson, from a nonaligned position, recommended standing by democratic values, supporting independent peace activists in the East, and criticizing NATO and the Warsaw Treaty Organization equally for the arms race. By 1983, I came around to his position, but it was not the predominant view in the Canadian peace movement until the Soviet Union began to fall apart.

The pre-eighties movement had been disproportionately influenced by the Canadian Peace Congress, an affiliate of the World Peace Council, which was funded by Moscow. [11] The old taint of communism impeded the effectiveness of activists in Canada. It had to be eliminated, but the attempt always provoked fights that many non-Communist activists preferred to avoid. By never placating anyone, our magazine made many enemies. Peace activists and researchers are often expected to be so spiritual that they have no conflicts, but that is not the case. The only people who never get into fights are those who are not seriously engaged in anything they care about. In fact, movement activists are conflict-prone; for one thing, all movements require sacrifice and there are too few rewards (such as fame and leadership roles) to go around.

While avoiding Canadian Communists, I took every occasion to meet the Communists who ran the Soviet Union and the other states in the Eastern bloc. Such opportunities arose often; indeed, Western peaceniks found Soviet officials more accessible than policymakers in their own countries. I usually attend conferences about twice a year in Europe and (the former) Soviet Union. During the early eighties, this was often at the invitation of the rich, publicly funded Soviet Peace Committee. I always augmented my itinerary by quietly visiting our true counterparts, the Moscow Group for Trust, a daring group of intellectuals who discussed peace issues and built bridges to the West. They suffered extraordinary abuses, including frequent jailings, beatings, loss of jobs, and incarceration in mental hospitals, where their drug "treatments" caused intense pain. One of these amazing friends, Olga Medvedkova, then pregnant, was arrested in 1984 on a trumped-up charge, for which a three-year imprisonment was expected. Her many friends in the West tried to help. I spoke on talk shows, organized a rally--and phoned David Crenna. Along with other activists, I was invited to lunch in Ottawa with Trudeau; the Canadian government sent an observer from the embassy to Olga's trial. After such pressures, the authorities released her, although other members of the group went to prison. Her release was one of the first signs that the Gorbachev regime might become more tolerant than previous ones.

In conferences with Soviets, I usually spoke about how their repression of independent activists impeded our peace work in the West. Their "on-stage" responses were fabricated, but I knew they were paying serious attention to what we said. On one occasion in 1985 I had arranged to go from Montreal to attend a conference in Moscow, then to Stockholm for two weeks for another conference, return to Moscow overnight, then fly back to Canada. The transatlantic flight was at Moscow's expense; I would pay the rest.

At the Moscow conference, I had just made an intervention about a mathematical model on the probability of mistaken launches of nuclear war under varying conditions when I was summoned by two low-level officials, Slava and Leonid, to discuss my bad behavior. (I had distributed copies of Peace containing a story about the Group for Trust.) Our "discussion" lasted three hours. Hearing my Moscow friends vilified, I dug deep into my psychic resources to practice conflict management-but failed. Leonid handed me a ticket on a flight leaving for Montreal the next day. I reminded him of my agreement with the Soviet Consul in Canada, and showed my pricey ticket to Scandinavia. Nyet! Eventually, I was officially deported. Except for the Gorbachev reforms, I would still be excluded from the country. (For a few years I kept running into Slava and Leonid at peace conferences outside the USSR. The KGB always accompanied Soviet delegations traveling abroad.)

However, as perestroika gathered momentum, the quality of the officials improved visibly. When a delegation entered a room I could pick them out: that's a New One, that's an Old One. I particularly liked Alexander Likhotal, whom I got to know in Austria. Jean-Guy Vaillancourt and I were sent by UNESCO Canada in 1988 to work on a charter and curriculum for a graduate center for peace studies in a renovated castle outside Vienna. Likhotal, the new pro-rector of the Soviet Diplomatic Academy, was a New One. Democratic and nonideological, he had been appointed to implement Gorbachev's foreign policy. On a long excursion, he and I talked about how to put Europe back together. My idea involved getting rid of NATO; his did not. He would remove Soviet troops from Eastern Europe and eventually NATO would become irrelevant. I thought his plan risky; the people would revolt. He thought not: everybody loved Gorby. We were both half right.

In the summer of 1991, I was in Moscow interviewing people about Soviet policy changes, doing research for a book with Olga Medvedkova and Tair Tairov about the East-West dialogue of the eighties and how it grew. After I interviewed Likhotal, who had been promoted to research director for the Central Committee, he invited me to write for a new magazine he was starting. Inwardly I chortled, imagining the reactions of Canadian Communists to an article written by me in such a publication. But it was not to be. The coup in the Soviet Union took place three days later and, back at home, I watched TV for Likhotal's face among Central Committee employees locked out in the street. He was not there, but I did see him later. He was Gorbachev's spokesperson during the Soviet Union's last weeks and remains his spokesperson today. He is one of my best informants in the Gorbachev Foundation about the period that I am studying.

My current work is immensely enjoyable. We are receiving wonderful submissions to Peace. I have completed about 150 interviews of peace activists and Soviet officials for my study of the East-West peace dialogue. Few people recognize how much the conversations with peace researchers and activists influenced Soviet "new political thinking"; my coauthors and I are documenting this intellectual history with a network analysis. I spent the summer of 1992 in Moscow again, tracing the changes in military doctrine and foreign policy. I am also working on separatist nationalism, and am organizing a session for the American Sociological Association meeting in Miami ( 1993) on the partition of states. [12] At the University of Toronto, I coordinate a degree program in Peace and Conflict Studies with seventeen students. Organizationally, my primary commitment is to the Helsinki Citizens Assembly (HCA). Based in Prague, it facilitates activism in peace, human rights, environment, economics, women, media, culture, and ecology in all nations belonging to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe--the organization that we hope would become the main regional government of post-Cold War Europe. HCA resulted from contacts throughout the eighties between Eastern dissidents and Western peace activists who supported nonalignment. I am chairing a committee to write the structure document for the HCA, an organization that unfortunately has been divided since its founding meeting in 1990, both because of the war in Yugoslavia and more generally because of the rise of xenophobic nationalism. Despite these difficulties, the HCA is the most promising social change organization in the Northern Hemisphere.

At age sixty-one, I must address two questions about my career. Which are more apparent in my work: the continuities or the discontinuities with my Berkeley experiences? And what is my advice for young women whose interests resemble my own?

The main discontinuity is that I see my career as my primary spiritual and moral project, whereas people did not talk in those terms in my Berkeley classes. The main continuity is that the Berkeley faculty members whom I knew best viewed their work as connected to their politics, and they took politics seriously, as I do. At the top of their discipline, there was not a single opportunist or a careerist among them. I am grateful to them all.

What shall I say to young women? I must both warn and encourage them. My career is not a huge success in "professional" terms. I am satisfied, but my situation is unusual. Because of the royalties I receive from publishing, I can usually afford to do what I believe in, but others may find such choices more difficult. Female professors are more likely than males to contribute time to public education projects (lecturing on foreign affairs, editing a general magazine) and public service (committee work in voluntary organizations). These activities are not rewarded by academia. In fact, they are a sure way of stalling a career as measured by income and rank. But success can be measured in many ways. It was nice to receive, as I did recently, a medal for public service from the governor-general of Canada. It was even nicer to hear Gorbachev acknowledge the impact of the peace movement in ending the cold war. It is as a peace educator and activist that I measure my work.

However measured, there are no guarantees for success or satisfaction. I often question the worth of what I do. Too often, I let others set my agenda and my limits. That goes with being female, and it is bad, bad, bad. Still, I am satisfied. After all, this is the life story I picked off the tree. It's mine and I wouldn't trade with anyone.


[1] This orientation came early for me. In one of my first published articles, "Professional, Scientific, and Intellectual Students in India," in Comparative Education Review, June 1965, I compared the political orientations of Indian students whose self-identification was professional, scientific, or intellectual. The intellectuals regarded public affairs as integrally part of their role, while professionals limited the scope of their activities to concerns defined internally by their discipline or even to a narrow specialty within it. I knew I belonged to the first group.

[2] Russell Jacoby, The Last Intellectuals ( New York: Basic Books, 1987).

[3] Metta Spencer, Foundations of Modern Sociology, Canadian 6th ed. (Scarborough, Ont.: Prentice-Hall, 1993)

[4] Randall Collins, Weberian Sociological Theory (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 1986)

[5] Alex Inkeles and David Horton Smith, Becoming Modern (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974)

[6] Charles Y. Glock, Robert Wuthnow, Jane Allyn Piliavin, and Metta Spencer , Adolescent Prejudice ( New York: Harper and Row, 1975)

[7] Anatol Rapoport is a notable exception. A psychologist as well as game theorist and mathematician, he is author of The Origins of Violence (New York: Paragon, 1989), which has been a text for my course on peace and war

[8] I have worked with two such ambassadors, Douglas Roche and the incumbent, Peggy Mason. See Roche book, Building Global Security ( Toronto: NC Press, 1989)

[9] This promptness reflects the prestige of the late George Ignatieff, who served as Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, to NATO, to the United Nations, and briefly as disarmament ambassador, and who would become president of Science for Peace after stepping down as chancellor. See the memoir of this remarkable man, The Making of a Peacemonger ( Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985)

[10] Howard Becker, "Notes on the Concept of Commitment," American Journal of Sociology 66 ( 1960): 32-40

[11] For a brief summary of this relationship, see Alan Silverman, "Where Have All the Peace Activists Gone?" in Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, vol. 13, ed. Metta Spencer (Greenwich, Conn.: JAI Press, 1991)

[12] "Politics Beyond Turf: Grassroots Democracy in the Helsinki Process," Bulletin of Peace Proposals 22 ( 4 December 1991)