Brian Rich (1984)

Associate Professor of Sociology, Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky

Occupational history (why only teaching, research and beyond)? Gardener, umpire, dishwasher, ice production, packing and shipping, wallpaper hanging, researcher, liberal arts college professor (Bingham Associate Professor of Sociology at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky), and attempting to be as public a sociologist as I can.

How did Berkeley influence my use and development of sociology? Incredibly. Berkeley's sociology department was a whirlwind of intellectual currents, all pulling in various, at times antinomian, directions. It was quite painful and incredibly humbling at times, but looking back after almost 10 years out, a wonderful way to grow, witness and be part of so much knowledge and intellectual vigor. I started with interests in technological developments in the workplace and then moved into the gender/work/inequality nexus which formed the basis of my dissertation research on the feminization of the banking industry.

In recent years I have been focused on ethnoracial and class dynamics, viz., multiculturalism as a social practice (as distinguishable from anideology) and am working to examine its empirical dynamics in applied and activist research on the process of Latino immigration to novel destinations in the U.S like Lexington. I have always been engaged by the intellectual history of sociology, but especially the role of social critics (marxists, feminists, queer theorists, ecologists and others) in the perpetual reform and radicalization of sociology as more than just an academic discipline.

I see sociology as needing desperately to break out of the academy and invade all domains of society, as a way of making life better, somehow. Thus I have tried to be a public sociologist and encourage my students, colleagues, and fellow citizens to think and act sociologically, as a form of praxis. The sociological imagination cannot be just an intellectual process; it must be lived to have any real effect.

How has my sociology shaped the world? I would have to say that I have seen and believe in the genetic power of ideas and actions, ones that we receive, reinvent, and transmit from the past and the present, with future targets. Thus while I might be pessimistic about trying to measure empirically the impact of any specific actions on the world, I am certain that my praxis has and will leave its traces on the people that have worked with me in the classroom, the civic center, and in the streets.""

Dissertation Title: 
Class, Patriarchy or Human Capital?: Determinants of Labor Feminization in the United States Banking Industry, 1940-1980