Elizabeth Berman (1997)

Assistant Professor, State University of New York, Albany

I started graduate school thinking I wanted to do agent based modeling to look at how collective patterns emerge from individual decisions. I ended up writing a dissertation on how academic science became imbued with market values over the past several decades. In between I took a side trip through the emergence of the medical profession in 19th-century England. No wonder it took me so long to finish.

I came to Berkeley because I wanted the freedom to pursue my own path, and not to be plugged into someone else's research agenda, and that's exactly what I got. (Although sometimes it felt like I was being given enough rope to hang myself with.) But in the process I was able to explore, to grow, and to become the sociologist I wanted to be.

Since graduating from Berkeley, I've been an assistant professor at the University at Albany, SUNY. I am finishing my first book, Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine, which will be published with Princeton University Press, and have started working on a new project looking at how our understandings of the economy have shaped the policymaking process. Although I love my current department, it was not until coming here that I realized how distinctive Berkeley sociology really is. I just sort of thought that politics, culture, and the economy were basically the center of the discipline. How surprised I was to find out otherwise! And how lucky I was to be trained in a place where I could think that was the case.

Dissertation Title: 
Creating the Market University: Science, the State, and the Economy, 1965-1985
Dissertation Book Title: 
Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine