Elaine Leeder

Interview completed: 09/12/2014

I came across your essay—quite awhile ago—in the Re-inventing Anarchy collection that Howard Ehrlich put together. I always do this, and I’m sure it’s a nerdy thing to do, but I always look at people’s bios, and what fields they work in. I was surprised, but also very impressed, that you had a background in sociology. I’ve read a fair amount on anarcha-feminism, but I’d never read anything from someone who had a background or was a trained sociologist. I thought you’d be a perfect person to interview for this project.

I am so pleased. Thanks for asking…  Also, there’s a book that I wrote—I don’t know if you’ve come across it—a biography of a Jewish anarchist Rose Pesotta. She was a friend of Emma Goldman and I wrote it as my dissertation at Cornell on social movement theory using anarchism and Rose Pesotta as my case study. It is called The Gentle General: Rose Pesotta, Anarchist and Labor Organizer.

I haven’t had the chance to read the book, but I’ve read the synopsis of it; it sounds fascinating. She was with the Lady Garments [Workers] Union?

She was in the ILGWU. She was a pretty radical woman. And she was dedicated to anarchism and so were all of her colleagues. And I got to interview all of these fabulous old lefties in New York City before they died. So I was pretty privileged. Because this was in the early 80s. So I could get to them before they passed away. And I used sociological social movement theories in the Cornell dissertation. And then I took that out, although it permeates it, for the book. So, there’s sociology there too.

I sent you a few of my questions, so if you don’t mind I wanted to start at the beginning. This is the question that I’m always interested in people and their responses. How did you first hear about anarchism and when you first heard about it, what did you think about it, what was that encounter like for you?

I learned about anarchism in the 1970s and I was at UC Berkeley working on a masters in public health. My professor gave us a bunch of different books to read, or recommended, for biography. Thus I read Living My Life. It was in my early 30s. And I realized when I read Living My Life that I was an anarchist and didn’t know it. From then on I read everything I could find on anarchism. I was drawn to it because of my family… I had grown up as an Orthodox Jew. And I rebelled and I was a feminist before I knew there was a word for it. Then I read Emma and it was like I came home. From then on it became my intellectual passion, but also my personal passion. I worked in anarchist collectives and I was part of exploring anarchism in both social movements, but also academically and intellectually. So, Living My Life was my entre. And I felt thrilled, because I finally found people with whom I could resonate.

As a side note, I had the chance to read her book when I was in my early 20s and I don’t think I would have tried reading the book had it not hooked me in the first dozen or so pages. But, apart from any other book on anarchist theory or ideas, there’s a way that Emma had of making things—in that classic feminist sense of the phrase—political and personal at the same time that you could see how those things were so intertwined with each other

Exactly, exactly. And then I realized that your personal life could be political. And your political was personal. It didn’t have to be separated and that for me it was embodied in Emma. I wanted to live it like that as well. And I think she’s continued to be my role-model since, including the ups-and-downs in one’s life and participation in social change. She was transformative for me.

I’ve read a little bit from the time period you’re talking about, the 1970s and how women of that generation re-discovered Emma. Did you see any of that yourself and maybe even more specifically, did you see that amongst anybody who started doing what you started doing with sociology? Were there any sociologists who were influenced by Emma?

Well, no, not at that time. Not until later. But at the time I was living in Ithaca and we founded a feminist collective, an anarcha-feminist collective, called Tiamat, who is the goddess of chaos. In fact, she was labeled “chaos”, but she wasn’t. She was the goddess of harmony, but not in a structured hierarchy. And, in fact, the mythology says that Tiamat then gave birth to a son, who killed her and cut her up and put her into organized, hierarchical pieces. But before that, the universe was in fact anarchistic. So, we founded Tiamat and we organized an anarcha-feminist conference in Ithaca, New York in the mid-1970s. And we met regularly, we wrote, we did collectivist work. And we did a lot of consciousness raising. And there were about ten of us in that group, for probably five or six years.

So, that’s where I really found out how to implement it in my life. And then what happened was that I decided to get my Ph.D. at Cornell. And I found a historian, Richard Polenberg, who was writing about the Abrams Case—they were two friends of Emma’s—who were deported for anti-war work during the First World War. And he studied civil liberties. So, he was researching for his book and came upon Pesotta because she was a friend of theirs. And I began to study with him and went to the New York Public Library archives and found Pesotta’s papers, based on his recommendation.  I wanted to get a Ph.D. in Sociology, so Polenberg (as a historian) was my second reader. And, then I had a sociologist as my first reader as well as a public policy person.

And I then I just started to do this biography, using social movement theory. I didn’t know any sociologists at all who were anarchists. Except, later I met a number of them: David Porter and Howard Ehrlich. I went to a series of conferences in Montreal and met people, who you are probably interviewing, some of the old-timers, whose names, of course, elude me right now. It turns out there were a lot of us out there in different parts of the country, though I never really encountered many except for my friend Porter and a couple of local anarchists in my Tiamat group, not sociologists.

So, as a person who has her foot in two different worlds—or at least has in different points in your life—what kinds of things within sociology (maybe as a discipline) and within the anarchist tradition, do you think are the most compatible with each other?

Well, certainly feminist theory and anarchist-feminists have a lot in common. And the whole idea of about decentralization, the lack of hierarchy can be found in sociological theorists. And there are many feminist sociologists. So, it resonates in that theoretical stream. It also resonates, of course, in collectivist social movement theory. And, so, whenever I teach—I teach social movements as well as introduction to sociology and I teach gender—I’m always infusing the curriculum with an anarchist ideology, as well as others. I mean, I try to be balanced and not push my own agenda. And I used to teach social policy and I would critique the structures of the hierarchy of institutions in public policy, and the dysfunction, using an anarchist orientation.

So, those are three that I can think of just off the top of my head. Oh, and critical race theory. I’ve been using that, and I certainly think that anarchism can inform critical race theory. So, for me, they’re not so disparate. Some people might think they are, especially if you were more of a structural functionalist or a symbolic interactionist. But, my own orientation, from the 70s was a conflict orientation. That one worked for me. I also can relate to intersectionality and post-colonial theory as an anarchist. Some of the later theories don’t work as well for me. I really have a background and analysis as an anarchist. And I still call myself an anarchist! I was… it was very funny… I was one of the editors for the journal of Social Anarchism, with Howard Ehrlich, who I think is a sociologist. And, I loved that work. But, then I became a Dean at Sonoma State. And he told me I couldn’t be on the journal any more. (laughs) Because I’d bought into the bureaucracy.

Was he serious or was he joking?

No, they really took me off the board! They really did… I found it amusing. Now I’ve gone back to the faculty, I’m going to FERP [Faculty Early Retirement Program], you know, I’m not a Dean anymore. So, I think I can go back if I wanted, to the journal. But, I’ve moved on… Mostly now I’m doing global work. I do a lot of work in prisons as well as other parts of the globe. I consider myself a globalist, not a localist. I am busy writing about family life globally as well as doing restorative justice work.

You were saying all these convergent or sympathetic things between anarchism and sociology… do you think that anarchism has had any impact on sociology and if so, what kinds of things has anarchism contributed do you think to sociology? Even if it’s an indirect relationship?

Well, I think the only thing that anarchism has influenced is in the feminist movement, to be real honest with you. I wrote “feminism is an anarchist process”, is another piece I wrote a long time ago. And, it talks about how anarchism is feminism, and feminism is anarchism, more clearly articulated. I think there, there’s an influence, but it’s not articulated and conscious for the most part. Although I have to say, my understanding is (I haven’t been in touch—I’m 70 now), that the young anarchists are much more… well, they’re not sociologists, but they’re more cognizant of the role that anarchism can play in feminism. But, the rest of it, the rest of sociology, I haven’t seen much influence, to be honest with you. Have you? I was going to ask you that question, because I’d like to be more optimistic.

I don’t know if there’s been any direct influence, but I think there may be an indirect relationship, because there have been many sociologists and anarchists who have been—if not friends with each other—at least aware of each other and correspondents. In the more distant past, at least. It’s hard to think that some of that didn’t rub-off on people, and even though it’d be hard to think about Weber, for instance, as an anarchist, he knew a lot of them, and he had a lot of interactions with them. And you can probably see a kernel of anarchist analysis in his definition of the state, as being the ultimate arbitrator of violence.

I also think there is an anarchist impulse within sociology, particularly within the social movement component of the field but not a clearly anarchist ideology articulated. And I often feel that way when I think about social movements and how they go into incipience and then institutionalization and then demise. And they go into fragmentation and then permeate other movements. And I think that anarchism has done that—it’s permeated other movements. Look at the Occupy movement. That, one could say, is truly anarchistic, although they’d never articulate it. Although, some did, but not very vociferously. So, I think there’s more of an anarchist impulse in social movements than exists in sociology. And it probably infuses some people’s intellectual orientations.

So, you probably have a fair sense of a lot of different anarchist thinkers—and the piece I referenced before, about “let out mothers show the way”, you wrote about Emma, but also Voltairine de Cleyre, and I was thinking also in this list you could come up with other people, like the woman in your biography, or Lucy Parsons. I’m sure you also know of other anarchists, too, like some of the men. Would you see any—if Mills had been writing his book The Sociological Imagination earlier, do you think any of those anarchists had a sociological imagination?

I think about Paul Goodman and Murray Bookchin—they were very clearly anarchists, but they weren’t necessarily sociologists. Well, Goodman could have been called a sociologist, I think, although I’m not sure what he would’ve called himself. And let me think about who else I’ve read… you know, that’s a really good question that I haven’t ever really thought about.

I think there’s often an anti-authority bit to some sociologists. Are they anarchists? No. But, I often think people flock to sociology because of an anti-authoritarianism. It’s one of the more open disciplines for the study of various methods of dealing with hierarchy and structure. So, which came first, the chicken or the egg? I’m not sure, like you. Did you become a sociologist because you were an anarchist or did you become an anarchist because you were a sociologist? I can’t answer that question for myself…

Although I think I was an anarchist first. No, I don’t think I can think of any except for Goodman and Bookchin.

I just mentioned Mills a minute ago; I was perusing your website and I read—you’re paraphrasing Mills, I think—that sociology has to offer a terrible and magnificent lesson. And I remember that part from his book. I was wondering what you’d say—as someone who has written about both anarchism, but also written in a more sociological framework written about people who have struggled against terrible disadvantage and domination in their lives—what do you think are some of the terrible and magnificent lessons that we, either as anarchists or as sociologists, ought to be learning and ought to think about?

I teach Intro to Soc, so it becomes a very basic lesson, when I’m teaching them that stuff, about violence, domestic violence, rape, social inequality, deviance, stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and other important sociological ideas. My specific issue is prisons and dismantling the prison-complex. So, I teach them the terrible lesson, which is that they’ve been brainwashed and the magnificent lesson of helping them to realize that they can think for themselves and to be not as brainwashed. And I do things like ask prisoners, I bring in ex-cons and have the students go to prison with me; then everything they see in the media and on lock-up, becomes de-bunked. And then I give them the critique of the prison system, and race, and about inequality. And eventually, on a very elementary, primitive level, they get it.

For myself, it’s no longer just an intellectual exercise, truly opening minds, even though I don’t call it anarchism, it’s a critical perspective on the social order. So I feel like that’s what I do nowadays. My activism is no longer in the streets or even in collectives, it’s in the classroom and in my writing.

So that’s where I do that terrible and magnificent lesson learning.

Do you mind if I ask a question about the prison work? I know there’s a fair number of people, including some anarchists—but I’ve also met sociologists and criminologists—who identify as prison abolitionists. Maybe you do or don’t put yourself in that camp…?

Well, I do. Actually, I wrote another book called My Life With Lifers: Lessons for a Teacher: Humanity Has No Bars. And I explained that I am an abolitionist. But, I’m also a pragmatist. And the likelihood that that’s going to happen in my lifetime? Zero. So, I’ve become more pragmatic about getting the guys out and being much more pro-active against the death penalty, and doing work around prison education, because I find that that’s really where the transformation takes place for prisoners that will get them out.

I’m an abolitionist ideologically and a pragmatist on a day-to-day basis. And, unfortunately, one of the things I don’t always agree with anarchism is that the “means become the ends”. I agree that it does, but sometimes you have to use means that are not necessarily kindred to anarchism. Like working with the Correctional Department. Pure anarchists would not do that. But, I do.

Because that’s all that’s going to make a difference right now. I have to tell you this funny story. I have a friend who was in the Weather Underground. She did 16 years in prison, she was 16 years underground. We were both commiserating about how in the 60s, 70s, early-80s, we were so radical. Now, what have we become? We’ve become reformists. She’s working on prison reform from the inside. And I’m working on it with students and using restorative justice in prisons. And I think that’s the nature of today’s activism.

Do you think it’s okay for people to be radicals-at-heart, but reformists in day-to-day activism?

Well for me, that’s my answer. I’ve had to find ways to be useful and make changes. And I realized early on, that demonstrations are not always the most effective. One of my students came to me recently and said, “now it’s all going to change with the Occupy movement.” And I thought to myself, “oh, I hate to burst your bubble, honey, but it ain’t gonna happen.” And he was convinced—and I didn’t argue with him, because I knew that was not going to work. And he came back to me later and said, “you’re right. All this radical rhetoric, marching in the streets, now I realize I’ve gotta buckle-down and try to make some specific changes.” So, I think that’s unfortunate. And maybe it’s a lesson I’ve learned because I’m old. I’m still idealistic, but realistic.

I was thinking of you describing prisons and the idea of prison abolition. I think about how what people are doing is they’re borrowing the language of the Abolitionist movement of the Nineteenth Century. Of course, that work was happening during a time that was sorta pre-modern anarchism, but it always struck me as having an anarchistic sensibility to it. Particularly in the idea that here’s a hierarchical institution of slavery, which is so enmeshed in society, in a political, economic, and a cultural sense. And trying to so hard to disentangle it. I think that’s what people are doing when they say they’re prison abolitionists, to say that this thing is so much a part of our political culture, our economic system, our attitudes about other people and their potential as human beings. That it’s something that has to be totally extricated from society.

Well that’s a very broad interpretation of abolitionism. If you talk to Angela Davis and Critical Resistance—it’s about dismantling the prison. So, yeah, and I absolutely agree, but I think the way you described it, of disentangling institutions is a longer process that tearing down walls.

We talked a little about feminism and about feminism has influenced sociology. Of course, feminism begins outside of sociology, it’s not necessarily the same thing. And other movements like Marxism has influenced sociology. Why don’t you think anarchism has had much impact on sociology as these other movements like Marxism and feminism?

Well because there were academic Marxists and academic feminists. And I don’t know of too many academic anarchists… I mean a handful. We didn’t form organizations, network with each other. I did go to several conferences, but you know anarchists are hard to corral. It was a very loose network. There was a group in Montreal for awhile that was much more intellectual and there was the journal of Social Anarchism, which was a bit more academic and intellectual.

But I haven’t seen an organization of anarchist sociologists.  It is unfortunate that those of us who are anarchists and sociologists could have done something about that within ASA. I think then it could have been more clearly articulated, graduate students could have studied it, it could have been infused into Sociology in a more structural way. I mean, I’ve taught anarchism and students have emerged over the years who want to study it with me. But they’re few are far between.

And they’re already drawn to it because they are anarchistically-inclined and when I speak of it, they resonate to it. In fact, I even have to say this of myself, after a while I found that I didn’t speak of it very specifically. Not that I spoke of Marxism or any of the other radical ideologies very specifically—because I was teaching undergraduates and I was teaching basic Intro to Soc. When I taught Social Movements I could articulate anarchism much more clearly, because I described it from my dissertation and my work interviewing these folks.

But I don’t think there’s been a real structured effort of anarchists to infuse Sociology with anarchism. Do you?

I would agree. But, I’m wondering as to how that happened. How were Marxists able to make the in-roads, the feminists able to make in-roads, but the anarchists weren’t able to make the in-roads?

If there were more of them. I’m surprised you’ve found so many people to interview. I think if there were more them, I think we could get better organized. And, perhaps also — although I can’t say this about Marxism — they were clearer in their goals, certainly with feminism, the goals were very obtainable. Sure we want gender equality, but it was about rape, domestic violence, those kinds of very specific activities. I don’t know. I have a friend who’s a Marxist, famous Marxist, and she now calls herself an anti-imperialist feminist. She doesn’t call herself a Marxist feminist anymore. So, I don’t how influential they were either.

I was thinking about sociology as a discipline, that you encounter Marxism in the theory classes, classes about social stratification. You find feminism in a gender class, a work class, a class on sexuality, a class on the family. The discipline, the canon, however you want to speak of it, has these influences, from either Marxism or feminism. There just hasn’t been the same for anarchism.

No, I agree. It’s just ad hoc individuals, who teach it and hope students resonate. Do you teach it?

A little bit. I teach a social movement class, too, and sometimes we discuss anarchism. Sometimes we’ve read books that… for two semesters I used David Graeber’s book Direct Action, which is about the global justice movement—Graeber identifies as an anarchist. He was pretty influential in Occupy in New York. But, not too often. One time I had some undergrad students who approached me, back in Ohio, where I taught, a year after I got my Ph.D. Some other people that I knew, who did some activism, we started talking about anarchism one day and they asked me if I’d ever teach a class on anarchism. And I said “Sure!”, if the chair of my department would ever let me teach a class, sure I would. So, they actually went to the chair and they asked for it and the chair said “sure”. So, I taught a class, and it filled to the brim, in fact I over-rode people into it, because I thought—on principle—I shouldn’t be the one to stop people from taking the class. It was a really interesting experience. I decided from the beginning that I would let the students craft their own class for themselves. They spent literally 6 weeks of the semester designing the syllabus for themselves, assigning assignments after declaring what the objectives were what they wanted to learn. They met in the whole class and also in small groups, and they made decisions collectively and democratically. And I sat back and kinda let them do it. I made suggestions. It was very impressive. I think it was a learning experience for them, but it was also a big learning experience for me, too. It made me realize that a lot of my beliefs, were regularly challenged, because I was trained to teach as a very—like I think most people are trained to teach at universities—we’re taught to be a sage on a stage, to lecture, to be in control, and it was (even as someone who identifies as an anarchist) it was difficult for me to let go of some of those reins. I wanted to, but it was still hard in some ways. So, it was a great experience for me, too.

I did that in one course, very early on in my career. And I found it was problematic because the students didn’t want to do the work. And I probably didn’t structure it as well as you did. I would have them do group projects, and one person would do all the work and the others would ride on their coattails. So, I finally decided I couldn’t go for group grading, because it was unequal and unfair to the students who did all the work. So, I give you credit. I’m not there anymore, that’s for sure.

I would love to do it again, but I could list half a dozen things that I’d love to do differently. I think the biggest challenge that they had — and in some ways it was an unreasonable experiment, because they hadn’t been trained in pedagogy, how to structure a syllabus or a class — so I think what I was asking them was a little bit outside of their comfort area. And they didn’t really know what were the best things to do. And of course they had taken classes, but I don’t think they really were… they were just very uncertain of themselves. And there’s something to learn through doing it and it was good in some ways, but I think it was also a bit unnerving in a not-so-good way.

You said you had encountered some students who knew of anarchism or maybe identified as anarchists. I don’t know if this was at Ithaca or Sonoma, but could you tell me a bit about what the response was like when they encountered sociology in your classroom? What did they think about it? What was their reaction to it?

When who encountered it? Sociology or anarchism?

Sociology. I think you said you had some students who identified as anarchists or knew about anarchism. What did those students think when you found them in a Sociology class?

Oh, they were thrilled to be there! Because they felt like Political Science to them was the study of government and no one really wanted to study anarchism. It was okay in philosophy, philosophy would allow for the study of it. But, in sociology they found there could be a natural fit between what they were interested in, related to anarchism, and some of our subject matter. The students did their own personal projects, they did presentations. Particularly in the social movement class, they studied the anarchists, they interviewed people. It was quite thrilling for them. Whether or not they went on to continue, I don’t know. But, over the years… I’ve been academe now for 37 years. I would say there have half a dozen who identified as anarchists. They find me, because they start googling the subject and see what I’ve written about it, look from all over campus, if they’re looking for this stuff they will find my name and find their way to me, and then I do independent studies so they can read some of the classics in anarchism. Many of them have not read or, they don’t know who Proudhon is, they don’t know who Kropotkin is. So, I want them to have the grounding theoretically and historically, besides just the activism.

That’s great, that’s wonderful! I have just a few more questions. What is — you’re in the academy, and I’m in the academy — there’s most likely other anarchists floating around, too, who work professionally. What do you think are the challenges for people who identify with anarchism who are working with the university/the academy? And specifically, are there any compromises that must be made?

[Laughs] Every day! Yeah. I think the challenge is working in a bureaucracy and wanting to work cooperatively. And having that inclination and working with people who are not so inclined. And the need to find a way to work — I’m just thinking of my own department, where I have one of these world-famous radicals, and he’s the most authoritarian man I have ever encountered in my life. And if you challenge him on his masculinist victimization of others, he’ll bully you! And he’s not an anarchist, he’s a Marxist. And, there’s no way I can work with this person in a cooperative and collegial basis. I have to challenge him or shut-up at every turn. So there’s the individual relationships departmentally, then I became a Dean. I mean, forget that. Forget anarchism when you’re a Dean. All of it is compromised. All of it is working with a system. All of it is working with policy that you don’t agree with.

I used to call myself when I was both a sociologist and a Dean, a “guerrilla in the bureaucracy.” That was my job. I felt inclined to blow it up at every turn I could go. But how did I blow it up? I would get a student into a class when they weren’t allowed. I get a student graduated who needed one more unit and they weren’t going to let them go. It was definitely patchwork. It was not anarchism, it was being a bureaucrat. And once you’re in an institution… as a faculty member it was a little bit easier. As a Dean… I see why they took me off the board of Social Anarchism! I became a middle-management bureaucrat.

But I felt like I was doing good, because I was greasing the dysfunctional system. And trying to make it work. And as a faculty member, I feel that way too, always trying to make it work for the students. And sabotaging it [the system] without letting people know that I’m doing it.

My next question — and I don’t mean to make the association at all, talking about the big institution of bureaucracy — I know you also write about the Holocaust and speak about it. I ask this question, because I personally haven’t read a lot about it, but what would an anarchist analysis suggest about the Holocaust and the experience of people in the Holocaust?

You know, I never put the two together. My father was a Holocaust refugee and I lost my family—his family—in Lithuania. And I just got back this summer—I’m writing about it now. Certainly an anarchist analysis of Hitler and Nazism, it is fascism carried to its most (il)logical conclusion, if you will. An anarchist would critique that system, and did during World War II. Anarchists were pretty aggressive in fighting, going off to fight Franco in the civil war in Spain. So there’s always been this anti-authoritarianism that will challenge Nazism as well. For myself, I’m trying to think of how I would tie the two together.

I grew up in an orthodox, hierarchical Jewish family. I always say I became an atheist, anarchist, lesbian feminist (although I’m not a lesbian anymore), because I grew up in an orthodox, patriarchal, old-world family. And so my work around the Holocaust is very personal, coming out of the killing of my family and the oppression that I experienced in my own home, which turned me into an anarchist, which turned me into a scholar of the Holocaust and perpetrators. I’m really interested in perpetrators. And there’s the connection I would make, it would be about the use of coercion and power in controlling other people. That’s why I study perpetrators and their violence. That’s why I study Nazis and the Holocaust. That’s why I study family dynamics and patriarchy and hierarchy.

And so it’s all the same… it’s all part of the same ball of yarn. And it’s hard for me to tease-out which thread this one is versus the other. I’d have to think about that a little bit more if you allow me to come back to it.

The one last question I would have is… maybe this is a forward-thinking question… based at least on our discussion so far, I think both of us would be under the assumption that anarchism hasn’t been all that influenced by sociology. My last question is how should it be influenced? What do you think sociology should take away from anarchism?

I think it would behoove sociologists to study more about the nature of the state, hierarchy, and power dynamics. And look at structural… they do look at structural inequality, but more from a reformist viewpoint than a nihilistic viewpoint. So, I’m a very practical person. What I would really love to see, would be an anarchist-sociology… you know in ASA… there should be an anarchist-sociologist section. That organization would then train young sociologists to then further spread sociological knowledge, using anarchist theories. To me, that would be a very powerful legacy for anarchism.

Because I think anarchism goes through these phases as do all social movements. It was pretty active in the Sixties, certainly during labor movements, and then more recently against the G12 and other global capitalist organization. And one could say around Occupy and now it’s going into dormancy. And it needs some revitalization and I think sociologists could revitalize anarchism by having it become part of the discipline in a more formal, structured way.

But, I’m not doing that. Are you going to go do that?

Well, maybe some of the people that I’ve interviewed. Maybe they would be interested in doing that.

Oh, good! It would be a delight to see anarchism find its way more integrally into sociology. I guess I am not the one to do that.

Elaine Leeder, MSW, MPH, PhD is a Professor Emerita of Sociology and the Dean Emerita of the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park CA. Previously she was a Professor at Ithaca College, Ithaca NY. She has over 40 years of distinguished accomplishments and experience in academia and actvism. She is the author of The Gentle General: Rose Pesotta, Anarchist and Labor Organizer (1993) and was an editor of the journal Social Anarchism. Leeder is listed in Who’s Who of America Women, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Teachers. Her awards include a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship, outstanding teaching awards, research and travel grants and numerous awards from student and community agencies. She was also a visiting scholar at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC. She sailed on University of Pittsburgh’s Semester at Sea three times, once serving as the Global Studies Director to all 700 passengers on board. She has appeared on Road Rules on MTV in conjunction with her voyage on SAS. Her exemplary career encompasses roles as professor/teacher, psychotherapist, consultant, author and advocate for social justice. She received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and master’s degrees from New York’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, at Yeshiva University and the University of California School of Public Health in Berkeley. She completed her doctoral work at Cornell University in 1985. Over the years she has published six books and more than two dozen articles on sociological and psychological issues. Her book, The Family in Global Perspective: A Gendered Journey 2nd edition (2019) is being used at dozens of campuses in the US today. Leeder has been active in most every social movement since 1965, she lives in Sebastopol, California, swims daily and travels widely. She can be reached at www.elaineleeder.com