Arlene Stein (1983)

Associate Professor of Sociology, Rutgers University and Graduate Faculty of Women's Studies

I arrived at Berkeley in the early 1980s, when many of us wanted to be writers, teachers, and activists rather than "professional sociologists."   The department offered a friendly home for the ambivalent and the eccentric. I entered wondering where the program would take me, and ended up becoming socialized into the academic milieu, or at least Berkeley's version of it.

The Department nurtured a vision of sociology that was publicly engaged, writerly, and theoretically sophisticated.  For me, Nancy Chodorow, Robert Bellah, and some wonderful graduate student colleagues kept this vision alive. I was involved in a number of study groups in the department, as well as in intellectual and activist worlds beyond the university. 

It was a rude shock to eventually find out that American sociology is not, on the whole, dedicated to the same ideals I learned at Berkeley.  Nonetheless, I seem to have found my place within it. Upon graduation, I taught for two years in England at the University of Essex.  I then took a position at the University of Oregon, where I taught for seven years. I'm now Associate Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University, where I'm also on the Graduate Faculty of Women's Studies. 

How has my sociological work shaped the world? In small ways, perhaps. I've been active building a presence for sexuality studies in sociology. I take mentoring grad students very seriously, and gain much from these relationships. And most recently, galvanized by world events, I've become a frequent op-ed writer, producing bite-sized sociology for mass consumption.

Dissertation Title: 
Sexuality, Generation and the Self: Constructions of Lesbian Identity in the Decisive Generation
Dissertation Book Title: 
Sex and sensibility : stories of a lesbian generation
Berkeley