John Foran (1982)

Professor of Sociology, UC, Santa Barbara

I came to Berkeley in 1982, M.A. from UCSB in hand. I spent six years getting my Ph.D., learning Persian, participating with wonderful characters on the BJS, hardly taking any sociology courses, benefiting enormously from a dissertation writing fellowship my last two years (the first time this program was tried I was in the right place at the right time), and going through lots of personal and political changes and adventures. Great years in an otherwise alienating place. My professors Vicki Bonnell, Tom Gold, and Ira Lapidus in History supported my obsession, leaving me alone to do a too-long dissertation on social change in Iran from 1500 to the revolution.

By great good fortune I landed in an even better place, UCSB, in 1988, and have been learning the arts of teaching and writing here happily ever since. I have been part of making UCSB the place to be in the areas of global and international studies, race/ethnicity/nation, culture, and feminist studies, all of which I dabble in. I've had great colleagues and students, and met a wonderful partner, Kum-Kum Bhavnani, on the job. Books on revolution have been produced, and latterly delayed by the arrival of two wonderful children, Amal and Cerina. We also spent two marvelous years as visitors at Smith College . I wish everyone could have such an interlude in the middle of their careers.

Sociology has been by tuns fun, meaningful, exasperating, challenging, rewarding much the same can be said for being at Berkeley in the 1980s.

Dissertation Title: 
Social Structure and Social Change in Iran from 1500-1979
Dissertation Book Title: 
Fragile resistance : social transformation in Iran from 1500 to the revolution
Boulder