Like many of us, my time at Berkeley was a watershed experience. My life course at this time took a direction into academia which has proven very satisfying, although I was uncertain in the beginning if this was what I really wanted. I arrived in Berkeley after four years as an Army officer and started off doing course work at Stanford as an exchange student. Given my military background and the political posture of the campus in the late 1960s and early 70s, I kept a relatively low profile as a student.
As a college freshman I made three vows: never to earn a Ph.D., never to study Sociology, and never to teach. With the help of UC, Berkeley, I violated all three. After completing my AB from Stanford in History in 1964 and my MA in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1965, I returned to my hometown, Berkeley, searching for a career.
Berkeley shaped me even more after I left than while I was there as a graduate student. Robert Bellah, Reinhard Bendix, Arlie Hochschild, Neil Smelser, along with Leo Lowenthal's informal seminar on culture and an inspired group of fellow graduate students, taught me that culture and ideas can reshape history. I arrived at Harvard to find that the 'sociology of culture' was just coming into being. I moved to Stanford only to be told that it didn't exist.
Since completing of my Ph.D. in 1970, I have been affiliated with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
The main impact of Berkeley on me has been in both its radical, liberal mood and its academic discipline.
My main fields of research are: social change and modernization (particularly India), universities in non-western countries and youth cultures.
Let's see, I arrived at Berkeley in 1967, which is just after the Free Speech Movement and just before the People's Park era and the peak of the Vietnam protests. A good time to study sociology. I studied with Charlie Glock, Jeff Paige, Bill Kornhauser and Arthur Stinchcombe, and with a number of the faculty in political science at Berkeley and in communication at Stanford. I worked at the Survey Research Center on the NSF sponsored political alienation project which managed unknowingly to hire Emily Harris as a staff assistant for her secretarial skills.
My first academic job was in the new and rapidly expanding Department of Sociology at Warwick University--I was appointed specifically to develop a joint history and sociology degree. After 15 years at Warwick I moved to Glasgow, at first to co-direct the John Logie Baird Centre for the Study of Film, Television and Music, and then to chair the Department of English Studies. After 12 years there, in 1999, I moved to Stirling University as Professor of Film and Media, which is where I am now.
My graduate years in residence at Berkeley (1967-72) were an exciting time, and I've always felt lucky to have been part of a generation that experienced both the thrill and efficacy of collection action. As part of a quite outstanding graduate student cohort, I was probably more shaped by my fellow graduate students--and by the study groups and debates we had--than by the faculty. In retrospect, I feel that I failed to take full advantage of the strengths of the Berkeley faculty. Wisdom, as they say, comes too late in life.