Going to graduate school was something I'd never really planned to do, but after getting my degree in 1985 I got a job at University of Southern California. Another sociology graduate student (Greg McLauchlan) and I were together by then, and so began our 5-year saga looking for two tenure-track jobs in the same place. With the help and counsel of literally about 70 people, we finally landed two jobs at the University of Oregon, where we've been since 1989.
I've taught 20+ courses ranging from theory to philosophy and epistemology of social research to courses on development in the South and alternatives to it. Teaching has been the major way my sociology has shaped the world. I've written two books on Cuba and the German Democratic Republic, but I'm not especially pleased with the impact these academic studies have had on the world. So, a principal goal of my next project on luxury products and global inequalities is to write something accessible to a wider audience.
The Berkeley department, in particular Michael Burawoy and my fellow graduate students, influenced my sociology a lot. Had I not gone to Berkeley, I don't think I'd have connected sociology and activism nearly as well. (It may not even have occurred to me to do so.) I recall Claude Fischer once warning graduate students that, coming out of the Berkeley department we wouldn't have a clue what sociology was really like. I remember being puzzled. I thought I was learning sociology at Berkeley! But now I know Claude was right. And I'm convinced there should be more Berkeleys among the US sociology programs.