On Talk of the Bay, Monday October 24 at 5pm, Christine Barrington interviews Professor Bettina Aptheker about her new book: Communists in Closets. Queering the History: 1930’s-1990’s. Until the late 1990’s homosexuality was expressly disavowed by the Communist party, even though some of its greatest contributors were homosexuals. Betttina tells the story of the party and its forbidden people who shaped American culture from behind the closet door.
Bettina Aptheker is a UCSC Distinguished Professor Emerita, A scholar of history and a founding instructor within UCSC’s department of feminist studies. She is also a former member of the communist party, and the daughter of Herb Aptheker, who was considered the party’s leading theoretian. Bettina is also a lesbian and stands in a unique position to understand the painful paradox of loyalty to an organization dedicated to social justice and equality that denied those very things to homosexuals who were amongst some of the most influential thought leaders within that movement.
It would seem like this is a book Bettina Aptheker was born to write! It is a biographical tour introducing readers to extraordinary artists and musicians, writers and dramatists, physicians and social workers who shaped, not only the communist party’s history but all our histories. With this book Bettina opens the door and invites the world to look in to appreciate the courage and brilliance of her subjects, as well as the sorrow and burden they were made to bear.
Bookshop Santa Cruz is hosting a book launch for Communists in Closets: Queering the History at the UCSC barn, Tuesday, October 25. Tickets are available on their website: bookshopsantacruz.com