I came to the U.S. to do a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1981, and eventually ended up at Berkeley in 1984. My first formative experience at Berkeley, like for so many, was the first year methods course with Michael Burawoy, and TA-ing for him. Berkeley was my first experience of a relatively cosmopolitan environment in the U.S. and in addition to grad school, I was also tasting the pleasures of civilized friendship. Todd Gitlin and Bob Bellah were my advisers, and they were very tolerant with me.
In 2001, I joined the sociology department at the University of New Hampshire after eight years at Yale University. Most of my research and publishing had been in the area of religion and culture. In addition to research articles on the cultural framing of abortion, and the construal of religion in contemporary sociological theory (e.g.
'Ruined for Life!' That's the proud slogan of the Jesuit Volunteer Corp, and it fits Berkeley sociology, too. I was delighted and constantly incredulous when there: here was a whole institution filled with people who were creative, stubborn, politically committed and active, hyper-intellectual, sensitive to the nuances of everyday interaction and eager to theorize about their own lives, constantly aware that another world is possible' as weird as me, in other words. How could this be? Is it true that I can do something so genuinely subversive for a living?? I wondered.