Metta Spencer (1963)

Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Toronto

Marty Lipset was my most influential mentor, since I was his research assistant five years at Berkeley and Harvard. I became a peacenik in Berkeley, though my status as a single mom then inhibited my activism. After I came to Toronto in 1971 my career was divided between two concerns revising my successful introductory textbook, Foundations of Modern Sociology (of which I produced ten different editions over the years) and my commitment to peace studies as professor, researcher, journalist, and activist.

I have edited Peace Magazine since 1985 and write for it; I created a peace and conflict studies program at my college and administered it for 14 years until I retired five years ago; and I have produced books on such peace-related topics as women in post-Communism; separatism; and the lessons of Yugoslavia.

At conferences in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union I discovered that the international peace movement had extraordinary influence on Soviet military policy, especially under Gorbachev, and began documenting these effects. My interviewing of officials was interrupted for several years after I was deported for associating with dissident peace activists. Fortunately, I was able to help them more from Canada, for the prime minister sent observers to a trial with favorable effects.

Since retiring I am writing a book on the serious uses of entertainment. Part I is theoretical and Part II empirically explores the moral, emotional, and physiological effects of episodic television dramas.

Dissertation Title: 
Political Behavior of University Students in India