Todd Gitlin (1974)

Professor of Journalism and Sociology, Columbia University

Lucky me: I had no sooner landed my Ph. D. than Berkeley decided to create an undergraduate Mass Communications program and Sociology decided to house it. I got the job, doubling up, and stayed at Berkeley 1978-1994. After an interim year in Paris, I moved to New York original home was calling and taught for seven years at NYU, chiefly in the departments of Culture and Communication (media studies) and journalism. In September 2002 I moved to Columbia, where I profess journalism and sociology. In journalism, my prime responsibility is a new Ph. D. program in communication. As always, I write in all sorts of venues books (most recently Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives, Metropolitan, 2002, and the forthcoming Letters to a Young Activist, Basic, 2003), articles mostly for the popular press and magazines, and increasingly on-line (mostly, a remarkable experiment in cross-national disputation, which I serve as North America editor).

Berkeley taught me theory and the limits of theory. Arlie Hochschild's thinking about emotion came back to me years later, and entered into my last book. I lurched into graduate school in 1974 with grand historical-theoretical ambitions, and was not unhappy to see them drift away. The department renewed my respect for rigor a renewal I hope to relay to students now.

I don't see that sociology, mine or anyone else's, is succeeding in shaping the world nowadays, but as ever, consider that every piece of writing, every talk, every act of teaching is a prayer in behalf of reason in a world that needs all it can get.

Dissertation Title: 
The Whole World is Watching: Mass Media and the New Left, 1965-70
Dissertation Book Title: 
The whole world is watching : mass media in the making & unmaking of the New Left