Paula J. Caplan
July 7, 1947 - July 21, 2021
Dr. Paula Joan Caplan was born in Springfield, Missouri, on July 7, 1947, to Tac
Caplan and Jerome Arnold Caplan, and died on July 21, 2021, in Rockville, MD.
Paula attended Greenwood Laboratory School, in Springfield, Missouri, and
received her A.B. with honors from Radcliffe College of Harvard University, and an
M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Duke University. After raising her children,
Paula lived in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, California, and Maryland.
Paula held numerous academic appointments, including at the Du Bois Institute,
Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Harvard University,
where she was an Associate, and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard,
where she was a Fellow in the Women and Public Policy Program. Paula was also
a Lecturer in Harvard’s Program on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and in the
Psychology Department. She was also a Visiting Scholar at the Pembroke Center
for Women, Brown University. In Canada, she was a Full Professor of Applied
Psychology and Head of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at the
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and a Lecturer in Women's Studies
and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
Paula was a pioneering feminist and anti-racist theorist, the author of 12 books,
and a consummate researcher. She was also a tireless, and optimistic activist.
She was truly a Renaissance woman in that she also published academic works as
well as prize-winning plays which she also directed; was an actor herself, as well as
a filmmaker. She tackled the topics of unacknowledged female-female competition
and the mother-daughter relationship long before others. Her film "The Test" was
published by Samuel French in its collection of winners of its 2001 Off-Off-Broadway
New Short Plays Competition. She made frequent media appearances and gave
hundreds of invited addresses to a wide variety of community and academic
In 2020, Paula founded Picture Social Justice, a nonprofit organization that
produces films to bring forth a more just society. Paula is the heart and soul of
Picture Social Justice. She remains with us through her many works, and the people