I was fortunate to get a job within a year of my doctoral defense, and taught for four years at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Since then, I've been teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, along with several fellow Berkeley grads. My research has branched out from social movements and revolutions, the field of my dissertation, to political sociology more broadly. I am currently working on a comparative history of new democracies that emerged around the world, and quickly failed, in the decade before World War I -- a project that builds on my Berkeley training in historical sociology. At the same time, my dissertation's focus on Iran has led to an interest in Islamic studies more generally. I edited two anthologies in this field, one on "Liberal Islam" (1998) and one on "Modernist Islam, 1840-1940" (2002), and am working to bring Islamic studies and sociology into more meaningful conversation with one another, after years of separate (though often parallel) trajectories. Since September 11, 2001, I have been asked to speak to public audiences and journalists who want to know more about Islamist movements. While preparing myself for these out-of-classroom educational settings, I have drawn lessons and taken heart from the careers of the public intellectuals on the Berkeley sociology faculty, who were a big part of the place's initial attraction for me when I was considering going to graduate school, back in the mid-1980s.
Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Structure and Agency in the Iranian Revolution of 1979