There are many people to whom I am deeply grateful for their encourage-
ment, assistance, and support in the long process of writing this book. At
Berkeley, I had the great fortune to be surrounded by magnificent pro-
fessors and dedicated mentors. First and foremost, my thanks go out to
my dissertation adviser and academic taskmaster, Pedro Noguera. Pedro
was my steadfast ally from the day I set foot on campus, and his bound-
less enthusiasm for knowledge and social change have made their indel-
ible marks on my career. More specifically, I want to thank him for
following me out into the parking lot after a 1996 California-wide educa-
tional reform conference at the Berkeley Marina Hotel, and personally
talking me out of leaving my Ph.D. program. Pedro’s unquestioning
confidence in me and his continuing friendship are responsible for much
that I have achieved. It is no understatement to say that I could not have
finished this book without him.
My deepest appreciation also goes out to Caren Kaplan for taking so
much of her precious time to work together with me throughout gradu-
ate school. Caren was my tireless supporter, providing encouragement
but also pushing me to expand my intellectual boundaries. Her feminist-
theory class at Berkeley has the distinction of being the hardest class I
took in all of my eleven years of higher education. The fascinating theo-
retical depths to which she brought me were the foundation of my own
interest in Women’s Studies, and the driving force behind my interest in
gender and economic transition in Eastern Europe. But Caren’s influence
on my development goes beyond the example she set as an incredible
scholar; she is also one of the most amazing women I have ever known.
Despite the plethora of academic and personal commitments she had,
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