CSSA: Who We Are


Peter Gabel JD, PhD, Editor at Large Tikkun Magazine; author of The Desire for Mutual Recognition and the Dissolution of the False Self, The Bank Teller and other Essays on the Politics of Meaning and Another Way of Seeing Essays on Transforming Law, Politics and
Culture; Law Professor and legal scholar, clinical psychologist, and educational leader. Gabel taught law at Boalt Hall (the law school of the University of California, Berkeley) and at the University of Minnesota before becoming a law professor for 30 years at the New College of California School of Law.[5] He also served as New College’s president for 20 years.

Published works

  • The Desire for Mutual Recognition: Social Movements and the Dissolution of the False Self (Routledge, 2018)
  • Another Way of Seeing: Essays on Transforming Law, Politics and Culture (Quid Pro Books, 2013)
  • The Redemptive Power of Law: Finding Spiritual Meaning in Legal Culture and Using it to Create a Better World (New York University Press, 2007)
  • The Bank Teller and Other Essays on the Politics of Meaning (Acada Books/New College of California Press, 2000)
  • The Spiritual Truth of JFK (Tikkun magazine, March/April 1992)
  • The Phenomenology of Rights-Consciousness and the Pact of the Withdrawn Selves, 62 Tex. L. Rev. 1563 (1984).
  • Roll Over Beethoven, 36 Stan. L. Rev. 1 (1984) (with Duncan Kennedy).
  • Book Review of Ronald Dworkin, Taking Rights Seriously, 91 Harv. L. Rev. 302 (1977).

Michael McAvoy, MA  In Memoriam

Michael received a Master’s Degree in Medical Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University in 1983. Prior to that, he was a student activist in the 1960’s civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements. After receiving his BA degree from St. John Fisher College (Rochester, NY) in Biology in 1970, Michael entered medical school at the Faculté de Médecine, Université de Bordeaux (France). Preferring to work in the areas of community health education, holistic health and social medicine, he left to create the San Francisco People’s Health Resource Center and People’s Medical School (1974-79) which provided access to medical care for the poor, a critique of the social causes of disease as well as education in self-care, holistic health and alternative medicine. Michael away 2018.

While in graduate school in Medical Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University and after at the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland and working with leaders of the African-American Hough neighborhood community, Michael helped develop a model community-based hypertension program, adolescent health clinic and radical health education program.In 1985 Michael joined the Humanities Faculty of the New College of California in Integrated Health Studies (San Francisco). He founded New College’s Center for Community Action, Research and Education, its North Bay Campus of Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community, and its Activism and Social Change Program. During his three decades at New College, he also served as its Director of the Undergraduate Program, Dean of the Humanities School and co-Academic Vice President.

After professional study in the Department of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University, he is currently developing work on theory and practice of ‘Liberation Narrative Medicine & Health Humanities’ to create a better approach to health care as well as social change towards a more just, sacred and sustainable world. This will be part of the Center for Social-Spiritual Activism at WISR.



CSSA coursework will utilize a diverse Guest Faculty including Fania Davis JD, Phd, Michael Lerner Phd, and others presentations and panels on relevant topics.

The Western Institute for Social Research (WISR) has hosted previous Social Spiritual Activism Movement seminar/Salon Series in which a conversation (including dialogue, discussion, debate and even disagreement) took place amongst people based on the experiences, reflections, analyses, and recommendations of those who have been working to create or promote theories and practices for a more Just, Sacred and Sustainable world.



Mutombo Mpanya Phd. Faculty CSU Sonoma; CIIS Anthropology and Social Change
Sean Burns Phd. Director,UC Berkeley Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarships
Mary Watkins Phd. Faculty, PGI Community, Liberation, Environmental Psychology
Michael Bader Phd. Senior Advisor, Institute4Change; author
Rivera Sun Author: The Dandelion Insurrection

Jason del Gandio PhD Associate Professor of Instruction Department: Communication and Social Influence

George Katsiaficas PhD Sociology, Department of Sociology Chonnam National University Buk-ku Yongbongdong 300 500-757 GWANGJU South Korea

The Subversion of Politics: European Autonomous Social Movements and the Decolonization of Everyday Life

Marina Sitrin JD is a writer, lawyer, teacher, organizer, militant and dreamer. She is the editor of Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina (2006) AK Press, Edinburgh & Oakland, CA; Spanish edition, Horizontalidad: Voces de Poder Popular en Argentina (2005) Chilavert, Buenos Aires; Greek edition

Fania Davis JD is a long-time social justice activist, Civil Rights trial attorney, restorative justice practitioner, writer, and scholar with a PhD in Indigenous Knowledge

Coumba Toure Author and Ashoka Representative for the Sahel: Coumba Toure is an author and currently serves as the Ashoka Representative for the Sahel searching and supporting social entrepreneurs. She’s an educator, a change-maker, and artist.

Edie Meidav   Yale, Mills College,  UMass Amherst, Author Winner of the Bard Fiction Prize, Kafka Prize for Best Novel, and year-end editors’ picks
Work supported by honors from Lannan, Whiting, Fulbright, Howard

Katherine Faust PhD Professor, Sociology, UCI Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1985 social networks, animal social organization, population processes and social networks, research methods

Richard Heinberg Senior Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels. is the author of thirteen books, including some of the seminal works on society’s current energy and environmental sustainability crisis

CSSA Salons and Courses are to open to all currently enrolled (BS, MS or Doctoral) WISR students. For non-credit community members or students from other institutions taking course as independent study please contact us.

Individual Salons and Seminars NOTE: Can be taken from a distance (world-wide) via simultaneous video conferencing.

For more information contact: social.spiritual@activist.com or 888-567- 4094.