Having earned all my degrees at Cal (BA, MA, PhD), I am quite thoroughly stamped with the Berkeley experience, not only in sociology (Neil Smelser, Reinhard Bendix, Guenther Roth, Leo Lowenthal, Kenneth Bock, William Kornhauser, Erving Goffman, Aaron Cicourel, the Berkeley Journal, and my Fellow graduate students) and other disciplines such as history (Carl Schorske),political science (Sheldon Wolin) and english (Gardner Stout), but also with the movements (anti-HUAC, Civil Rights, FSM, AFT, anti-war and TWLF) and above all the exuberant, questing spirit of the place in the '60s. My training in what we grandly called 'theory' not only got me every teaching job I have ever held (Sonoma State, UC Berkeley, Yale, UIC). It also prepared me later to master the field of research (sociology of religion) in which I now work but was not trained. The theory taught, debated, and modeled at Berkeley instilled in me the convictions that theories were plural, that every theory had to be interrogated for its meaning as well as its truth, that theorists were answerable to empirical reality, that empirical reality was always changing, and that 'empirical' did not only mean 'quantitative.' If my work has shaped the world, it is through my mentoring of succeeding generations of students and bringing to light neglected corners of the social world (most recently, the religious institutions of post-1965 immigrants).
Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois, Chicago
The Methodology of Max Weber's Comparative Studies