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Welcome to Okcir

OKCIR: Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics) (est. 2002) is an independent research, teaching, and publishing initiative dedicated to exploring, in a simultaneously world-historical and self-reflective framework, the human search for a just global society. Since the world’s utopian, mystical, and scientific movements have been the primary sources of inspiration, knowledge, and/or practice in this field, OKCIR aims to critically reexamine the shortcomings and contributions of these world-historical traditions—seeking to clearly understand why they have failed to bring about the good society, and what each can integratively contribute toward realizing that end. Read More

Book & Monograph Series

Gurdjieff and Hypnosis: A Hermeneutic Study
Advancing Utopistics: The Three Component Parts and Errors of Marxism

Edited Collection Series: Issues of Human Architecture and More

Rumi’s Song of the Reed

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Published Articles & Reviews

Published Chapters

Social Theory Forum Proceedings

Integrative Studies on Empire, Colonial Violence, and Coloniality

  • This article aims to tentatively illustrate, by way of advancing a nonreductive dialectical conception of history of imperiality in contrast to materialist approaches, both the relative historical validity and the transitory (heuristic) nature of the primacy of economies and their analyses in world-historical social science. The dialecticity of the conception allows for politics, culture, and economy to have similarly played primary parts in the rise of distinct forms of imperiality in world-history corresponding to ancient, medieval, and modern historical eras across multiple, but increasingly synchronous and convergent, regional trajectories. The nonreductive dialectical mode of analysis reverses and relativizes the taken-for-granted universalistic modes of analysis of imperialism in terms of class, allowing for considerations of political domination, cultural conversion, and economic exploitation as historical forms of deepening imperial practice violating self-determining modes of human organization and development. Power-, status-, and class-based relations and stratifications are thereby reinterpreted as distinct forms of imperial practice which now assumes a substantively generative position vis-á-vis those structural forms. The notion of “imperiality” (in contrast to “imperialism”) is used to denote both the macro-structural and the micro, intra/interpersonal, dynamics of the historical phenomena still shaping our everyday lives. The proposed mode of analysis provides new reasons for deconstructing universally economistic paths of entry into hitherto “transition debates” in favor of more contingent, historicized, and dialectical interpretations of the rise of the modern world-system and more proactive, creative, and utopistic endeavors in favor of non-imperial world-systems. [read more … ]

  • This Special Summer 2007 (vol. V) Issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge includes the proceedings of the fourth annual Social Theory Forum (STF), held on March 27-28, 2007, at UMass Boston. The theme of the conference was “The Violences of Colonialism and Racism, Inner and Global: Conversations with Frantz Fanon on the Meaning of Human Emancipation.” The Social Theory Forum sought to revisit Fanon’s insightful joining of the micro and the macro—the everyday life and the increasingly global and world-historical—insights into critical social psychological and imaginative social analysis and theorizing in favor of innovative discourses on the meaning of human emancipation and toward disalienated and reimagined inner and global landscapes. [read more … ]

  • How were Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, and Gloria Anzaldúa personally troubled by the violences of colonialism and racism in their respective Martinican/African, Palestinian/Arab, and Chicana/Mexican regional historical contexts? And how did such personal experiences motivate and explain—and how were they in turn informed by—their highly visible public intellectual discourses and actions? In this chapter, Tamdgidi comparatively explores the sociological imaginations of colonial and racial violence in the writings of Fanon, Said, and Anzaldúa, seeking to identify the theoretical and broader philosophical implications such a study may have for de-colonizing selves and for advancing human emancipatory discourses and practices. [read more … ]

  • The Second Annual Meeting of the Social Theory Forum, held on April 6-7, 2005, at the University of Massachusetts Boston, was devoted to the theme “Theories and Praxes of Difference: Revisiting Edward Said in the Age of New Globalizations.” The life and works of the late Edward Said, the prolific thinker, scholar, and cultural critic was revisited to serve as a guiding (though not necessarily exclusive) theme to explore our meanings and theories of difference in the applied settings of our self, global, and world-historical narratives. Said’s writings have exposed the underpinnings of the Orientalist looking glass self images of the East in the mind of the West, and ushered a lively, sophisticated, and long lasting critical dialogue in our academic and public forums—leading among others to debates on Occidentalism as well, that is, the romanticizations of the West in the eyes of the East. The conference dialogue on difference paid special attention to the context of the allegedly new globalizations of the long-inherited clashes of our colonialisms and anti-colonialisms— in the hopes of finding creative and peaceful ways out of the vicious cycles in favor of authentic selves and liberating world-histories. [read more … ]

  • Drawing on Derrida, Foucault, Dorothy Smith, Anzaldúa, Wallerstein, Said, and Gurdjieff, among others, this article argues that the strangeness of Abu Ghraib—“father of the strange (or of the stranger)”—has less to do with what went on inside the prison, and more with the global prison yard. Strange is how we, global spectators of the prison abuses, continue to stand on shaky cardboard boxes of rising and falling empires, with hoods of amnesia and evasion put on our minds, and sophisticated media wires of true or false fears manipulating our emotions. To escape from prison, a mystic once said, one must first realize one is in prison. The inquiry is used as grounds for advancing a discourse on Newtonian and quantal sociological imaginations in favor of a Sociology of Self-knowledge. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2013 (XI, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, is entitled and dedicated to “Conversations with Enrique Dussel on Anti-Cartesian Decoloniality and Pluriversal Transmodernity.” Despite the long established recognition and reputation of Dussel as the most prolific, creative, and influential living Latin American philosopher, a limited portion of his writings has hitherto appeared in English. Exiled to Mexico from his native Argentina more than 35 years ago, Dussel has written more than 70 books and hundreds of articles ranging from theology to history, from philosophy to politics. Increasing interest in his work has been emerging among students and educators interested in developing liberating social theories and philosophies from the Global South. The present volume is one emerging response among many to Dussel’s call for a “South-South Philosophical Dialogue” in order to advance the cause of decolonization and liberation of inner and global human realities. [read more … ]

  • The articles collected in this Spring 2009 (VII, 2) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge entitled “Historicizing Anti-Semitism” were part of an international conference entitled, “The Post-September 11 New Ethnic/Racial Configurations in Europe and the United States: The Case of Anti-Semitism,” organized by Lewis Gordon and Ramón Grosfoguel at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (MSH) in Paris on June 29–30, 2007. Part of a series inaugurated by a discussion on Islamophobia, they brought a majority Jewish group of scholars together in the hope of bringing to the forum a critical exchange and conversation among the participants. The articles gathered here do not represent a unified voice but those often unheard in discussions of anti-Semitism. The focus on anti-Semitism in this collection raises the question of how ancient and Medieval versions of anti-Jewish practices should be interpreted, especially since even the term “Semite” came about as an effort in eighteenth-century French and German scholarship to organize Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew under a single linguistic nomenclature, which was crystallized in the nineteenth century in the work of the French scholar Ernest Renan. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2011 (IX, 4) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, entitled “Contesting Memory: Museumizations of Migration in Comparative Global Context,” includes papers from the conference on “Museums and Migration” organized by the volume co-editors on June 25-26, 2010, at the Maison des Science de l’Homme (MSH) in Paris. The focus here is on questions of representation and social agency of both migrants and migration museum officials, adopting a comparative perspective on the complex and conflictive articulation between how migrants are represented by themselves and by museum institutions. Migrants are not passive but social agents actively involved in their communities and socially vigilant of the way they are treated, perceived and represented by the host society. They produce also their own representations that are often in conflict with Western hegemonic perceptions of their cultures and identities. Their strong presence in global cities and metropolitan societies today confronts the dominant society with issues of racial/ethnic discrimination and historical memory otherwise ignored by hegemonic Western views. Museums dealing with the history of slavery, migration and colonialism emerged as spaces of contestation, the term “migrant” itself being contested by long-established “minority” groups as one of the ways the dominant society still treats them as “foreigners” and “immigrants.” [read more … ]

Cartesianism

“Je suis Henri”: Charlie Hebdo’s Tragic Caricature of the Principle of Human Liberty

Empires and Al-Qaedas (or ISILs) are two faces of the same imperial coin. The West regards itself as a beauty, desperately seeking to cleanse the images of the beast on the wall of Islam, not realizing that the wall is a mirror and the reflected images of the beast on the wall ever cross-morphing by-products of its own orientalist imperial adventures across modern world-history. So, if one really wishes to do something serious about it, one has to be aware also of causes of monstrosities in oneself that are reflected as such in the mirror. This calls for a different kind of enlightenment. [read more … ]

Integrative Studies in Utopia, Utopistics, and Utopystics

  • Advancing Utopistics: The Three Component Parts and Errors of Marxism is a contribution to the emerging field of utopistics in world-systems studies. In this work Tamdgidi problematizes the foundational structures of knowledge that have shaped Marxist method, theory, practice, and historical imagination over the decades and are arguably still framing the broad contours of intellectual discourse and research in world-systems studies. Appreciating the humanist utopian spirit that originally inspired the neither idealist nor materialist young Marx, the study concludes by advocating a broader, alternative paradigm for comparative/integrative research in utopia, mysticism, and science (utopystics) to advance utopistics in favor of a just global society. [read more … ]

  • Treating the book Antisystemic Movements (Arrighi, Hopkins & Wallerstein, 1989) as an empirical site for conceptual exploration, this article aims to contribute to the newly revitalized debates in world-systems studies on realistic alternatives to historical capitalism. The article calls for the opening of our prevailing notions of antisystemicity in world-systems studies in favor of othersystemic, cultural, self-reflexive, world-historical, and inductive interpretations and praxes of social change. This can open our visions to the reality and significance of alternative approaches to antisystemicity whose challenges to the social status quo throughout world-history have been effected primarily not through reactive oppositional strategies, but through proactive modes of design and/or construction of alternative inter- and/or intrapersonal social realities. Western utopianism and Eastern mysticism are examples of these movements which have variously challenged in their own ways the world-historical or intrapersonal systemicities of alienating societies. The fact that these movements, like their modem antisystemic counterparts, have been more or less failing does not necessarily diminish their intellectual or practical value in the search for realistic historical alternatives to capitalism. Drawing upon the legacy of Terence K. Hopkins (1928-97) in the area of sociological pedagogy, this article concludes that the opening of the book and the concept Antisystemic Movements can be fruitfully advanced by further opening the innovative academic channels of humanist utopistics the authors of Antisystemic Movements have themselves been constructing in recent decades. [read more … ]

  • According to Tamdgidi, Marxism represented a new, “scientific,” type of utopian movement in contrast, on one hand, to the philosophical and religious varieties preceding it, and on the other hand the briefly revived humanist type (as somewhat represented by utopian socialists) which was soon frozen in embryo by Marxism’s own ideological-political rhetoric and ascendance in the world-wide opposition to capitalism. What Tamdgidi posits is a need to go beyond the polemics and the rheto- ric of these movements in order to develop a typological framework of utopianism which accounts for the historical failures of Marxism due in part to the shortcomings emanating from its specific utopian type and partly due to its gradual departure from the utopian typology altogether. The point is to re- deem the value of utopianism as a specific strategy for social change in contrast to the antisystemic mode characterizing the dominant form of opposition movements to capitalism during at least the past two centuries. [read more … ]

  • In the chapter, Tamdgidi argues that Asian trajectories of esoteric mystical traditions significantly challenge the categories and paradigms associated with the world-systems perspective, particularly in the emerging field of utopistics (Wallerstein, 1998), and its comparative/integrative variant “utopystics” which advocates cross-cultural explorations in utopia, mysticism, and science (Tamdgidi, 2006a, 2007b, 2008). He draws on G. I. Gurdjieff’s (1872?-1949) hybrid teaching syntherizing elements from diverse Asian mystical traditions in order to help enrich the world-systems perspective in favor of imaginative sociological approaches that take seriously the personal as well as the world-systemic discourses on and strategies for the realistic historical alternatives to the modern world economy. Gurdjieff’s emphases on the paradigmatic significance of human inner division and multiple selfhood, the resulting propensity to habituation in limiting human liberatory endeavors, and the subsequent need for radical efforts in personal self-knowledge and transformation, are noted. [read more … ]

  • In the chapter, integratively drawing on the subaltern voices of mysticism informing the works of Khayyam, Rumi, Gurdjieff, and Anzaldúa, Tamdgidi argues that certain inherited orientalist attitudes constraining the structures of knowledge in world-systems studies fetter the advancement of comparative, self-reflective as well as world-historical, exercises in utopistics. Among these constraints are the universalistic primacies assigned to macro vs. micro, political economy vs. culture, structure vs. agency, and anti- vs. othersystemic movements. Cardinal among them, however, is the dualistic construction of society vs. self and the resulting universalistic primacy attributed to the former in knowing and changing the world. [read more … ]

Integrative Studies in Mysticism and Spirituality

  • Gurdjieff and Hypnosis: A Hermeneutic Study explores the life and ideas of the enigmatic twentieth century philosopher, mystic, and teacher of esoteric dances George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1872?-1949), performing a hermeneutic textual analysis of all his published writings to illuminate the place of hypnosis in his teaching. [read more … ]

  • Revisiting the widely cited definition offered for Islamophobia by The Runnymede Trust in 1997, this article draws on and seeks to critically contribute to a conceptual framework advanced by Grosfoguel and Mielants—as informed by the works of Grosfoguel, Maldonaldo-Torres, Dussel, Mignolo, and Tlostanova, among others—to understand Islamophobia in a world-history context. Tamdgidi argues that both Islamophobia and Islamophilia should be regarded as the Janus faces of a Western epistemic racism that—while historically taking various religious, cultural, and orientalist forms—has othered, oversimplified, essentialized, and distorted our views of the reality of Islam as a plural weltanschauung—one that, like any other, has historically produced contradictory interpretative, cultural, and socio-political trends involving liberatory and imperial/oppressive aspirations. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2010 (VIII, 2) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, entitled “Islam: From Phobia to Understanding,” includes the proceedings of an international conference on “Debating Islamophobia,” co-organized by the issue co-editors in Madrid, Spain, in May 2009. Beginning with the lead article by the late Nasr Abu-Zayd (1943-2010) from which the title of the issue is adopted, and to whose author this collection is dedicated in celebration of his life and work, the papers explore the nature and meaning of Islamophobia and its diverse unfolding in specific national and historical contexts. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2006 (V, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge on “Othering Islam” presents the results of an international conference on “The Post-September 11 New Ethnic/Racial Configurations in Europe and the United States: The Case of Islamophobia” organized by Ramón Grosfoguel and Eric Mielants at the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (MSH) in Paris, France, on June 2- 3, 2006. Topics covered are: “Probing Islamophobia,” “The Long-Durée Entanglement Between Islamophobia and Racism in the Modern/Colonial Capitalist/Patriarchal World-System: An Introduction,” “Islamophobia/Hispanophobia: The (Re) Configuration of the Racial Imperial/Colonial Matrix,” “How Washington’s ‘War on Terror’ Became Everyone’s: Islamophobia and the Impact of September 11 on the Political Terrain of South and Southeast Asia,” “Militarization, Globalization, and Islamist Social Movements: How Today’s Ideology of Islamophobia Fuels Militant Islam,” “Muslim Responses to Integration Demands in the Netherlands since 9/11,” “No Race to the Swift: Negotiating Racial Identity in Past and Present Eastern Europe,” “Life in Samarkand: Caucasus and Central Asia vis-à-vis Russia, the West, and Islam.” Contributors include: Ramón Grosfoguel (also as journal issue guest editor), Eric Mielants (also as journal issue guest editor), Walter D. Mignolo, Farish A. Noor, Thomas Ehrlich Reifer, Abdulkader Tayob, Manuela Boatcã, Madina Tlostanova, and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi (also as journal editor-in-chief). Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge is a publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics). For more information about OKCIR and other issues in its journal’s Edited Collection as well as Monograph and Translation series visit OKCIR’s homepage. [read more … ]

  • This Summer 2008 (VI, 3) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge is dedicated to an exploration of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Engaged Buddhist philosophy and spiritual theory and practice from a sociological and social scientific vantage point, to highlight the significance his teaching bears for the development of a self-reflective, globally humanist, and environmentally concerned, sociological imagination. Included are several talks, letters, and a poem, by Thich Nhat Hanh on the meaning and practice of Engaged Buddhism—in regard to issues ranging from war and conflict, the environment, food industry and consumption, and history of Engaged Buddhism. Other articles put his views in social science and sociological contexts, specifically exploring the overlapping landscapes of Engaged Buddhism with Pragmatism, Deep Ecology, sociological imagination, and ideological analysis. Other contributions are illustrative of the ways in which Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings have engaged contexts such as: international conflict; the classroom; urban policing; traumatized populations; economic theory; environmental crisis; and family loss and trauma. A critical commentary by a participant’s experience of attending one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s retreats in 2005 is also included, followed by a response from a representative of the Plum Village community in France. [read more … ]

Integrative Studies in Science, Social Science, Sociology, and on Academia and Universities

  • This Winter 2012 (X, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge entitled “Decolonizing the University: Practicing Pluriversity” includes papers that were presented at the international conference entitled “Quelles universités et quels universalismes demain en Europe? un dialogue avec les Amériques (Which University and Universalism for Europe Tomorrow? A Dialogue with the Americas)” organized by the guest editors of the volume in association with the Institute des Hautes d’Etudes de l’Amerique Latine (IHEAL) and the support of the Université de Cergy-Pontoise and the Maison des Science de l’Homme (MSH) in Paris on June 10-11, 2010. The aim of the conference was to think about what it could mean to decolonize the Westernized university and its Eurocentric knowledge structures. [read more … ]

  • This article is an excerpt from a longer third part of Tamdgidi’s doctoral dissertation titled “Mysticism and Utopia: Towards the Sociology of Self-Knowledge and Human Architecture (A Study in Marx, Gurdjieff, and Mannheim), defended and deposited at Binghamton University (SUNY) in 2002. This critique of Mannheim’s Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge (1936), as part of the larger dissertation research, may be regarded as the writing in which the idea and the field of the sociology of self-knowledge was born, resulting in the founding of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge which was subsequently dedicated to the publication and the illustration of the work in the new field of scholarly research and teaching. [read more … ]

  • The first annual Social Theory Forum conference at UMass Boston focused on the exploration of applied strategies for learning, teaching, and research in a liberating framework—i.e., strategies that adopt practical and critical transformative attitudes towards taken-for-granted and habituated social structures. In this pursuit, it sought to draw inspirations from Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy and philosophy for the promotion of liberating theoretical literacy. [read more … ]

  • Reflecting on Michael Burawoy’s classification of sociology into professional, critical, policy, and public types, and the adoption of the latter as the theme of the ASA’s 99th Annual Meeting, in this article Tamdgidi argues that the drive toward public sociologies of new global realities may prove hazardous in the absence of a parallel emphasis on the development of reflexive private sociologies. This requires critical reconsideration of our basic definitions of society and sociology in order to develop theoretical frameworks that meet the challenges of understanding and practicing the dialectics of public and private social processes devoid of rigid pre-determinist frameworks. Proposing an alternative reconsideration of Burawoy’s sociology types away from a formal logical framework and in favor of the part-whole dialectic, the author argues that even though personal troubles can best be understood in relation to broader public issues, the latter themselves can most effectively be recognized, understood, and practically addressed through the actions of specific agencies who champion the need for broader socio-historical knowledge and change as deeply personal exercises in self-knowledge and self-transformation. As C. Wright Mills emphasized, what sparks the sociological imagination is the intersection of history and biography. [read more … ]

  • In this article Tamdgidi argues that to rethink sociology involves openness to overhaul our cherished definitional frameworks in sociology, and more specifically in the sociology of knowledge. It calls for revolutions in our social psychologies and social psychiatries. By rethinking them, we move away from our sociologies, sociol- ogies of knowledge, and our sociological careers; we actually come closer to forging new visions to understand and transform our social realities in favor of building more harmonious social and built environments across persons and cultures. The quantum sociological imagination provides a more fruitful conceptual landscape for the study and resolution of self-destructive behaviors in larger world-historical settings, for it erases the dualistic social conceptions and structures which make them possible and necessary. It allows us to equally emphasize the liberating powers of our selves, knowledges, and theories. [read more … ]

  • Terence Kilbourne Hopkins (1929-1997) was a hidden gem of the field of world-systems studies who contributed indispensably to its foundation amid a lifelong collaboration and friendship with Immanuel Wallerstein. His pedagogical humanism, methodological rigor, and scientific commitment to social change, merged with his creatively flexible administrative skills to found the Graduate Program in Sociology at Binghamton University (SUNY). The student-centered, autonomous program fostered the formation of critically-minded scholars who pursue transdisciplinary sociology while fusing deeply personal commitments to long-term, large-scale social change. [read more … ]

General Sociology

The Utopistics of Terence K. Hopkins, Twenty Years Later: A Postscript

“The Utopistics of Terence K. Hopkins, Twenty Years Later: A Postscript” is a concluding editorial chapter written by Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, for the twentieth anniversary second edition of Mentoring, Methods, and Movements: Colloquium in Honor of Terence K. Hopkins by His Former Students and the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations, co-edited by Immanuel Wallerstein and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, recently published on Jan. 3rd, 2017, by Ahead Publishing House (imprint: Okcir Press), Belmont, MA. [read more … ]

Integrative Studies in Liberating Methods, Theories, and Practices

  • This Summer 2006 (IV, Special) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge includes the proceedings of the Third Annual Meeting of the Social Theory Forum (STF), held on April 5-6, 2006, at UMass Boston on: “Human Rights, Borderlands, and the Poetics of Applied Social Theory: Engaging with Gloria Anzaldúa in Self and Global Transformations.” Walking along and crossing the borderlands of academic disciplines, contributors engaged with Anzaldúa’s gripping and creative talent in bridging the boundaries of academia and everyday life, self and global/world-historical reflexivity, sociology and psychology, social science and the arts and the humanities, spirituality and secularism, private and public, consciousness and the subconscious, theory and practice, knowledge, feeling, and the sensual in favor of humanizing self and global outcomes. Central in this dialogue was the exploration of human rights in personal and institutional terrains and their intersections with human borderlands, seeking creative and applied theoretical and curricular innovations to advance human rights pedagogy and practice. [read more … ]

  • What lessons can sociologists draw from the life and writings of the Chicana cultural theorist and spiritual activist Gloria E. Anzaldúa for advancing the sociological imagination and intellectual agenda that make a public difference? In this article Tamdgidi argues that the key to Anzaldúa’s public impact has to be sought in her thesis of the simultaneity of self and global transformations, and the intricate strategies she employed in advancing the thesis through her writings such as Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987). Closely reading the text, Tamdgidi notes how for Anzaldúa the transformation of self/world essentially involves the task of bridging/transcending/healing a vast array of habitual dualisms deeply ingrained in our personal and global landscapes. Progressively unpacking Anzaldúa’s sociological imagination in order to highlight its potential contributions to enriching the Millsian and symbolic interactionist traditions in sociology, the author tries to provide a plausible answer to the question of what is so publicly transformative and energizing in Anzaldúa’s often privately focused, reflexive writings. He argues that it is the dialectic of public and private sociology informing her sociological imagination that renders her intellectual work so effective. Amid current debates on ways to advance public sociology, Anzaldúa’s way of going private to advance public sociology is paradoxically effective and refreshing. [read more … ]

  • Tamdgidi argues that Anzaldúa’s writings offer rich reservoirs of examples for phenomenological sociological research that advocates problematization of taken-for-granted and habituated knowledges and practices of everyday life, both inner and interpersonal, in order to better understand how they perpetuate  (and can, alternatively, transform) larger social structures. Her prose and poetry are creative exercises in experimental breaching and disturbing of our comfort zones in the midst of every day living in class, race, gender, sexuality, age, and other borderlands. Anzaldúa brings symbolic interactionist theorizing and practice to an innovative and liberatory height. She has long transcended the border walls of prose and poetry, of linguistic dichotomies, of meaning and imagery, of substance and style, of theory and practice. It is no wonder that she has found a highly successful way to tap into the depths of her readers’ psyche and subconscious minds. And she is fully aware of what she does in this regard; it is her not-so-secret “alchemy” at work (“Borderlands” 103). As an “Eastern intellectual,” she intentionally transgresses and crosses boundaries of knowledge, experience, in favor of ever more holistic modes of knowing and doing. [read more … ]

  • In reaction to Samuel Huntington’s thesis of the “clash of civilizations” and its dualistic formal logic presuming an essential and unbridgeable East-West difference, world-system analyses tend to move to the opposite extreme, dismissing possible East-West cultural differences amid the presumed singularity of the modern world-system. The aim of this article is to note the limits of both of these polar positions and modes of argumentation, noting how a common, essentialist logic is reproduced in the clash of the opposites in the debate. Drawing on Edward Said’s Orientalism (1979)—given how his work is often evoked to advance the critique of the East-West binary—Tamdgidi suggests that it is important to distinguish between Said’s critique of the frozen East-West binary in the orientalist imperial mindset and the substantive points he makes regarding possible, geo-historically grounded, and more or less enduring, cultural differences in reality. Said insisted that human history is a history of constant reciprocity and exchange of presumably different ideas and influences across cultures and traditions, and his Orientalism did not altogether aim to address the issue of what the East, the Arab world, or Islam actually represent. Besides, certain limits to Said’s argumentation arising from its historical and biographical origins should also be noted. Essentialist modes of thinking, dualizing or totalizing alike, limit comparative/integrative exercises in utopistic analyses of realistic historical alternatives to the modern world-system because they gloss over the borderlands of cultural differences, surviving and/or newly emergent, which can provide the creative grounds for advancing new world orders, inner and global, in favor of a just society. [read more … ]

  • In this article, Tamdgidi revisits Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed in order to critically reinvent his contributions to liberatory social theorizing and practice while noting the shortcomings of his approach. He argues that Freire’s pedagogy would more effectively serve liberatory praxis if the Newtonian sociological structure of his pedagogy is abandoned in favor of quantal sociological imaginations whereby the dialectics of oppression and liberation are conceived intrapersonally as well, as part of an open-ended, non-reductivist, and unpredictable pedagogical praxis that also takes into consideration the multiplicity of human selfhood on one hand and, on the other, the significant challenge posed by the human subconscious mind for the transcendence of oppressive human interactions within and without. The teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff, the Caucasian philosopher, mystic, and teacher of esoteric dances, exercises, and movements, is critically conferred to arrive at a quantal sociological reimagination of the Freireian pedagogical approach while using the occasion of the dialogue with Freire to highlight and transcend the one-sided formulations implicit in Gurdjieff’s own introspective theory and practice of liberatory human development. [read more … ]

  • This paper offers a general, synoptic outline and basic argument of Tamdgidi’s comparative/integrative doctoral studies of Marx, Gurdjieff, and Mannheim. Therein, he explored the utopistic theories of Karl Marx, G. I. Gurdjieff, and Karl Mannheim as contested efforts towards the good life in self and society within a world-historical framework. He argued that the three approaches—representing western utopian, eastern mystical, and academic movements—are fragmented microcosms of an otherwise singular creative human search for the good life. Their mutual alienations, I argue, are rooted in fragmented philosophical, religious, and scientific ideologies which have emerged in conjunction with the broad historical transitions of ancient civilizations to classical political, medieval cultural, and modern economic empires. Human architecture and the sociology of self-knowledge are then introduced as creative conceptual, curricular, and pedagogical efforts beyond the contested terrains of fragmented utopistics in favor of a just global society. [read more … ]

  • This 2009 (VII) special issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge entitled “‘If I touch the depths of your heart’: The Human Promise of Poetry in Memories of Mahmoud Darwish,” is a commemorative issue on the life and poetry of the late Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, co-edited by a group of UMass Boston faculty and alumni. Other than keynote opening statements, the special issue is comprised of a selected series of longer and shorter poems by Mahmoud Darwish, followed by commemorative poetry and essays/articles that directly or indirectly engage with Mahmoud Darwish’s work and/or the subject matter of his passion and love, Palestine and human rights and dignity. [read more … ]

Sociologically Imaginative Exercises in Transformative Learning

  • This Spring 2011 (IX, 2) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, entitled “Learning Transformations: Applied Sociological Imaginations from First Year Seminars and Beyond,” includes nine UMass Boston undergraduate student papers: seven from two sections of the first year seminar, Soc. 110G: “Insiders/Outsiders,” one from the course “Youth and Society” (Soc. 201), and another from the course “Elements of Sociological Theory” (Soc. 341), all taken during the 2010-2011 academic year at UMass Boston. The authors cultivate their sociological imaginations of the link between their personal troubles and broader public issues by exploring topics such as: difficulties with writing; struggles with overachievement; adolescent depression; pessimism; obsession with body self-image; pornography and love; drunken driving; feminine identity formation; and coping with personal traumas amid parental, sibling, and societal dysfunctions. The editor points to the significance of publishing undergraduate scholarships of learning and their sociological self-studies, highlighting the extent to which the origins of the present journal entitled “human architecture” can itself be traced to his own “student selves” and early undergraduate education in architecture at U.C. Berkeley, and specifically to a seminar he took with his undergraduate teacher and advisor, the late “professor of design” and renowned painter, Jesse Reichek. [read more … ]

  • This Winter 2011 (IX, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, entitled “Graduate Theorizations: Imaginative Applied Sociologies—Manifest and Latent,” includes nine, theoretically engaging graduate student papers: six from a course in Applied Sociological Theory (Soc. 605) taken during the Fall 2010 semester at UMass Boston, a paper on the philosophy of the self and architecture from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and two master’s theses in psychology from Bangor University, UK. The papers explore sociological imaginations of personal and public issues such as: fear of crime and insecurity; marriage and divorce; growing up a third culture kid; myths of success and the life plan; growing up with Attention Deficit Disorder; present (in contrast to absent) fatherhood; architectural history and practice as shaped by self agency as well as social context; “pathological” versus “normal” experiences of dissociation and hypnosis; and mind-body interactions in psychogenic pain. These papers from diverse ‘disciplinary’ origins or locations insightfully contribute, in both manifest and latent ways, to the application and enrichment of the Millsian sociological imagination. Comparative and integrative readings of these papers also reveal, in turn, the extent to which liberating sociological theorizing and practice amid critical applications of the sociological imagination require awakening to and moving beyond the dissociative disorder and hypnosis of rigid disciplinarity. [read more … ]

  • This Summer 2009 (VII, 3) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, is devoted to the theme “Sociological Re-Imaginations in & of Universities.” As part of the journal’s continuing series critically engaging with C. Wright Mills’ “sociological imagination,” i.e., the proposition that the best way to theorize and practice sociology is via a continual conversation between the study of one’s personal troubles and that of broader public issues, the present issue turns its attention to fostering sociological re-imaginations in and of universities. Several faculty, recent graduates or alumni, and current undergraduate students advance insightful, critical perspectives about their own learning and teaching experiences and personal “troubles,” and broader university, disciplinary, and administrative “public issues” that in their view merit immediate attention in favor of fundamental rectifications of outdated procedures and educational habita that continue to persist at the cost of more creative, and in fact more scientific and rational, approaches to production and dissemination of knowledge. [read more … ]

  • This Spring 2008 (VI, 2) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge includes two symposium papers by Klaus Fischer and Lutz Bornmann who shed significant light on why the taken-for-granted structures of science and peer reviewing have been and need to be problematized in favor of more liberatory scientific and peer reviewing practices more conducive to advancing the sociological imagination. The student papers included (by Jacquelyn Knoblock, Henry Mubiru, David Couras, Dima Khurin, Kathleen O’Brien, Nicole Jones, Nicole [pen name], Eric Reed, Joel Bartlett, Stacey Melchin, Laura Zuzevich, Michelle Tanney, Lora Aurise, and Brian Ahl) make serious efforts at developing their theoretically informed sociological imagination of gender, race, ethnicity, learning, adolescence and work. The volume also includes papers by faculty (Satoshi Ikeda, Karen Gagne, Leila Farsakh) who self-reflectively explore their own life and pedagogical strategies for the cultivation of sociological imaginations regardless of the disciplinary field in which they do research and teach. Two joint student-faculty papers and essays (Khau & Pithouse, and Mason, Powers, & Schaefer) also imaginatively and innovatively explore their own or what seem at first to be “strangers’” lives in order to develop a more empathetic and pedagogically healing sociological imaginations for their authors and subjects. The journal editor Mohammad H. Tamdgidi’s call in his note for sociological re-imaginations of science and peer reviewing draws on the relevance of both the symposium and other student and faculty papers in the volume to one another in terms of fostering in theory and practice liberating peer reviewing strategies in academic publishing. Anna Beckwith was a guest co-editor of this journal issue. [read more … ]

  • This Spring 2007 (V, 2) Issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge entitled “Insiders/outsiders: Voices from the Classroom” includes papers, some by students at UMass Boston, that creatively apply the sociological imagination to understanding specific personal toubles involving insider/outsider experience in relation to broader public issues. Contributors include: Miroslav Mavra, Lori McNeil, Sean Conroy, Johnny Yu, Colin Allen, Ana Carolina Fowler, Keyon Smith, Krystle Santana, Sylvia Khromina, C. G., Caitlin Boyle, Anonymous, L. Z., Paul Connor, Arie Kupferwasser, and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi (also as journal editor-in-chief). Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge is a publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics). For more information about OKCIR and other issues in its journal’s Edited Collection as well as Monograph and Translation series visit OKCIR’s homepage. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2005/Spring 2006 (IV, 1&2) double-issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge demonstrates the extent to which liberatory practices in scholarly journal peer reviewing can provide new channels for communicating and sharing subaltern on- and off-campus voices in formal academic publications as important scholarships of learning. Contributors include: James Barrett, Jennifer Maniates, Caitlin Farren, Sheerin Hosseini, T. Portal, Elena VanderMolen, Kristen Slavin, Kristin White, Sean Conroy, Christine Berry, Jennifer Pike, Noah Youngstrom, Jessica Haley, Kemba Gray, Verena-Cathérine Niederhöfer, Elizabeth McCauley, Jennie Porter, Asjah Monroe, Shoshana Lev, Rachel Lev, Arie Kupferwasser, Kristen Ellard, and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi (also as journal editor-in-chief). Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge is a publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics). For more information about OKCIR and other issues in its journal’s Edited Collection as well as Monograph and Translation series visit OKCIR’s homepage. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2004/Spring 2005 (III, 1&2) double-issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge demonstrates the extent to which the sociology of self-knowledge as advanced by this journalfrom its inception can serve as both a course topic as well as a pedagogical strategy in teaching sociology and related subjects. The issue includes student papers of various faculty at UMass Boston and a symposium of student (and faculty) papers organized by Khaldoun Samman from Macalester College. Samman had earlier taken the step of turning his senior seminar into a course on the sociology of self-knowledge and encouraging his students, all graduating seniors at Macalester, to subject their own lives and “troubles” to their sociological imaginations. The student papers included in the issue as a whole are highly demonstrative of how self and socially critical and liberating the sociology of self-knowledge can be. Authors use a variety of class and outside readings, as well as films and documentaries, to explore in-depth currently unresolved issues in their lives, while making every effort to move in-depth to relate their personal troubles to broader public issues. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2003/Spring 2004 (II, 2) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge includes a collection of student essays exploring their lives in an, applied, sociological imagination framework. Topics are: “A Welcoming Statement to the Editorial Advisory Board,” “The Complexity of Naive Acceptance of Socially Manipulated Beliefs,” “Alice in the Gendered Sports-Fan Wonderland: A Sociological Inquiry,” “Will I Marry Her?,” “The Effect of Immigrant Experiences on the Bifurcation of Women’s Consciousness,” “Who are “I”?: A Sociology of My Traditional, Modern, and Postmodern Selves,” “My Life’s Tapestry: Casting Theoretical Lights on the Social Threads That Tie Me Down,” “From Alienation to Exploration: Breaking Free from the Iron Cages of My Life,” “Body Image: A Clouded Reality,” “Obsessed with Impression Management: A Critical Sociology of Body Image in Capitalist Society,” “The Roots of Procrastination: A Sociological Inquiry into Why I Wait Until Tomorrow,” “Honesty, Trust, and Love—In That Order: A Sociology of My Emotional Kaleidoscope,” “Questioning Motherhood: A Sociological Awakening,” “Durkheim, Mead, and Heroin Addiction,” “Anomie or Alienation?: A Self-Exploration of the Roots of Substance Ab/use,” “Just Live: The Trick Is, You Have A Choice,” ““Asian”: Just A Simple Word,” “Defining the Other,” “De/Reconstructing Utopianism: Towards a World-Historical Typology.” Contributors include: Ayan Ahmed, Elizabeth J. Schumacher, Chris DaPonte, Guadalupe Paz, Marie Neuner, D. M. Rafferty, Annie Roper, M. D., Michelle B. Jacobs, Jennifer M. Kosmas, Lynne K. Marlette, Keilah Billings, Nancy O’Keefe Dyer, Buddi Osco, Savvas Fetfatsidis, Kuong C. Ly, Jorge Capetillo-Ponce, and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi (also as journal editor-in-chief). [read more … ]

  • This Spring 2003 (II, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge include student papers from coursework completed at SUNY-Oneonta. The creative efforts students display in advancing their sociological imaginations demonstrate the extent to which the best pedagogical strategies are those that rely on teaching their subject matter by encouraging students to draw upon the reality of their own lives in an applied way to learn various concepts and theories taught in class. Contributors include: Emily Margulies, Neo Morpheus, M. Goltry, James McHugh, Anna Schlosser, Charles (pen name), Megan Murray, Colin Campbell, Jillian E. Sloan, Jillian E. Sloan, Jennifer S. Dutcher, Ira Omid (pen name), and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi (also as journal editor-in-chief). Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge is a publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics). For more information about OKCIR and other issues in its journal’s Edited Collection as well as Monograph and Translation series visit OKCIR’s homepage. [read more … ]

  • This Fall 2002 (I, 2) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge include student papers from coursework completed at SUNY-Oneonta, as well as a paper from a retiring faculty at SUNY-Oneonta (Dr. Donald A. Nielsen) whose exploration of Karl Mannheim’s sociology of knowledge inspired the title of the journal issue in terms of how the students awareness of the way various ideologies (and utopias) have shaped their lives are intimately dependent upon critically adopting a spiritually self-reflective and socially reconstructive orientation toward their own lives as part of the social realities they study. Contributors include: Emily Margulies, L. M. Damian, Kristy Canfield, Steve Sacco, Jennifer VanFleet, Nancy Chapin, Katie J. Dubaj, Rena Dangerfield, Festus Ngaruka, Donald A. Nielsen, and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. [read more … ]

  • The essays gathered in this debut (I, 1, Spring 2002) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge were written by undergraduate students enrolled in various sociology courses offered at SUNY-Binghamton and SUNY-Oneonta. What these courses shared was their common use of the sociology of self-knowledge as a strategy for learning about their respective subject matters. Each course required students to engage throughout the semester in an ongoing self-exploratory sociological research focusing on a specific unresolved issue, problem, or question still facing their everyday lives. They were required to link their self-explorations to the study of society at large through various course and outside readings and films studied in class throughout the semester. [read more … ]

  • The essays in this Fall 2008 (VI, 4) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge entitled “Microcosms of Hope: Celebrating Student Scholars,” received awards in The Kingston-Mann Student Achievement Awards for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship. Written by undergraduate students who address deeply urgent and important issues, each essay possesses a clear, distinctive voice. The authors do not turn away from difficult questions and do not waffle, even when they are dealing with questions and data that are ambiguous or contradictory. Although faculty may be accustomed to academic articles rife with qualifiers, indirect points, jargon, and a limited concern for relevance, the essays included here are the works of engaged researchers. They frequently include a call to action, sometimes persuasive for its subtle, measured tone. In this issue, students invite us to consider some traditional merits of scholarly work that have been lost, such as clear and jargon-free writing. They also point the way to new kinds of merit, such as using previously neglected information sources, paying attention to silenced or marginalized voices and questions, and raising issues of social justice. [read more … ]

  • This “Class-Book” was a student/instructor self-publishing experiment in a course offered at Binghamton University (SUNY) taught by Mohammad H. Tamdgidi in Spring 1997 when he was a graduate student enrolled in BU’s doctoral program in Sociology. The course was freshly designed and titled, “Soc 280Z: Sociology of Knowledge: Mysticism, Science, and Utopia.” The class-book was designed and printed in less than two weeks by the instructor in order to make it available to students as soon a possible after the class. The “fake” publisher name proposed by a contributing student author (Ingrid Heller) and adopted by the contributors was the “Crumbling Façades Press.” The class-book experiment was one that eventually inspired and contributed to the launching of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge (ISSN: 1540-5699, 2002-). It was dedicated to the living memory of the late Professor Terence K. Hopkins (d. 1997), the founding Director of the Graduate Studies program of the Department of Sociology at SUNY-Binghamton. Contributors to the volume include: Shannon Martin, Ian Hinonangan, Nicholas Jezarian, Jeff Alexander: Tears of a Clown, Meghan Murphy, Heather Mealey, Daniel B. Kaplan, Ingrid Heller, Martin Magnusson, Arturo Pacheco, Keira Kaercher, and Mohammad H. Tamdgidi. [read more … ]

Transformative and Creative Teaching Strategies

  • In the chapter Tamdgidi argues that fostering the scholarships of classroom learning and teaching of the sociological imagination in favor of self-reflective social knowledge and action requires significant attention to issues of diversity on the one hand and of pedagogical flexibility on the other. Such an approach, in turn, moves us away from the familiar binary constructions that contrast ‘diverse’ and ‘non-diverse’ students, faculty, classrooms, universities, and communities, toward considering instead the reality that they are all “differently diverse.” “Non-diversity” as a cultural concept serves to mask a reality—that, we all participate in a global society whose parts have been inescapably constituted by and in diversity. “Non-diversity” is an illusion, objectively speaking, but subjective belief in it can be real and pedagogically limiting. Tamdgidi notes that his students and himself are often challenged to recognize and transcend such illusions—and to rethink the basic definitions of the self, society, and sociology in trans-cultural and trans-disciplinary ways—through exercises in the sociological imagination in a flexible pedagogical environment. Some of these challenges find expression in and are inspired by the voices of student scholars published in Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. [read more … ]

  • This Summer 2011 (IX, 3) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge entitled “Teaching Transformations 2011″—a fourth of its annual “Teaching Transformations” series—brings together selected proceedings of the joint CIT (Center for Innovative Teaching)/EdTech (Educational Technology) conference held on May 12, 2011, at UMass Boston. The editors’ note describes the reasons for the bringing together of the two separately organized conferences in the past. It also reports on the new name adopted by CIT (from its former name, the Center for the Improvement of Teaching). The papers include a variety of contributions on topics such as: innovative techniques to enrich the dynamics of classroom discussions; “addressing plagiarism in a digital age”; cross-cultural/national, cross-institutional teaching of a course using online educational tools; “‘Islamicizing’ a Euro/American curriculum”; modernizing classical language education using the communicative language teaching (CLT) technique in conjunction with new educational technologies; teaching about race, caste and gender in light of the findings of anthropological and genetic sciences; and suggestions for online student collaborations based on the experience of teaching a Critical Thinking course. [read more … ]

  • The Spring 2010 (VIII, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge includes faculty and student papers and contributions from the 2010 Annual Conference of the Center for the Improvement of Teaching at UMass Boston on topics: “Constructing the Innocence of the First Textual Encounter,” “Examining a First Amendment Court Case to Teach Argument Analysis to Freshman Writers at an Art College,” “The Absent Professor: Rethinking Collaboration in Tutorial Sessions,” “Visual Literacy for the Enhancement of Inclusive Teaching,” “When Literature Is Evangelical: Pedagogies of Passion,” “Creating Networking Communities Beyond the Classroom,” “Framing Cultural Diversity Courses Post U.S. 2008 Presidential Elections,” “The Difference Between You and Me: Faculty Identities at Play in the Classroom,” “Toward a Non-Eurocentric Social Psychology: The Contribution of the Yogacara,” “Service-Learning and Authenticity Achievement,” “Academic Achievement of Turkish and American Students,” “The Miseducation of Ms. M,” “Culturelessness and Culture Shock: An American-Asian Experience,” “From Construction to Social Work: Finding Value in Helping Others,” “My Work Utopia: Pursuing A Satisfactory Work Life Amid an Alienating World,” and “The Loss of a Culture with an Accent: A Sociological Reflection on My Assimilation into the American Culture.” [read more … ]

  • This Winter 2009 (VII, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self- Knowledge, entitled “Teaching Transformations 2009” and dedicated to the chronicling of representative experiences of teaching transformation in the New England area and elsewhere, brings together selected proceedings of the annual conferences of the Center for the Improvement of Teaching (CIT) and the New England Center for Inclusive Teaching (NECIT) recently held at UMass Boston. The first seven studies in the issue were gathered through the conference activities of NECIT. The second series of articles emerged from the conversations and presentations at the annual CIT conference at UMass Boston. The contributions have a common interest in advancing teaching and learning practices that transform the self and the world in favor of more just, inclusive, and participatory outcomes. The editors believe that the most central and distinguishing defining features of NECIT and CIT, i.e., the three-fold concerns with promoting pedagogical reflexivity, student learning empathy, and faculty agency, are well advocated for and respresented in the papers shared in this volume. Contributors include: Jay R. Dee (also as journal issue guest editor), Vivian Zamel (also as journal issue guest editor), Cheryl J. Daly, Maria Natalicia Rocha-Tracy, Darlene Ferguson-Russell, John Fobanjong, Patricia White, LeeAnn Griggs, Sally Barney, Janet Brown-Sederberg, Elizabeth Collins, Susan Keith, Lisa Iannacci, Kimberly Smirles, Ann Wetherilt, Melanie Murphy, Elijah Patterson, Janet D. Johnson, Elizabeth H. Rowell, Mary Ball Howkins, Duane Wright, Wayne-Daniel Berard, Alexandria Hallam, Anne Geiwitz, Matthew R. Kerzner, Angelika Festa, and Mohammad Tamdgidi (also as journal editor-in-chief). Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge is a publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics). For more information about OKCIR and other issues in its journal’s Edited Collection as well as Monograph and Translation series visit OKCIR’s homepage. [read more … ]

  • This Winter 2008 (VI, 1) issue of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge reflects the diversity and richness of presentations at the 2008 Annual Conference on Teaching for Transformation organized by the Center for the Improvement of Teaching at UMass Boston. Representing faculty across different disciplines, these essays reflect these teachers’ creative and thoughtful pedagogical approaches, their focus on challenging and engaging learners, and their commitment to both excellence and inclusion. The title chosen for this volume, “Teaching Transformation,” highlights a two-fold interest and commitment that the organizers and participants in the annual conference have commonly shared. One is to advance teaching as a venue for transformative pedagogical and social practices that empower students, faculty, and communities in favor of a deeper respect for diversity, inclusion, and justice. However, by choosing the title the editors also emphasize that to meet the first goal, it is also necessary to see teaching and one’s habits of teaching as fluid and dynamic, and not static and established, habitus. To advance transformative teaching (and learning), it is necessary to continually transform our teaching and pedagogical approaches creatively and help one another to do the same. [read more … ]

Mohammad H. Tamdgidi’s Editorials in Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, 2002-2013

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2013. “Editor’s Note: I Think; Therefore, I Don’t—Tackling the Enormity of Intellectual Inadvertency.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. XI, n. 1, Fall.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2012. “Editor’s Note: To Be of But Not in the University.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. IX, n. 1, Winter.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2011. “Editor’s Note: De-Museumizing Migrations Without and Within.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. IX, n. 4, Fall.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2011. (with Eleanor Kutz and Vivian Zamel). “Editors’ Note: Becoming Innovative, Technologically Savvy Teachers.” (with Eleanor Kutz and Vivian Zamel). Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. IX, n. 3, Summer.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2011. “Editor’s Note: Know Thy—Student—Selves.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. IX, n. 2, Spring.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2011. “Editor’s Note: Beyond the Dissociative Disorder and Hypnosis of Rigid Disciplinarity.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. IX, n. 1, Winter.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2010. “Editor’s Note: Exploring Islamophobia in the Spirit of the Late Nasr Abu-Zayd.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. VIII, n. 2, Fall.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2010 (with Vivian Zamel and Anna Beckwith). “Editors’ Note: Teaching Transformations 2010.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. VIII, n. 1, Spring.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2009. “Editor’s Note: Mahmoud Darwish’s Parting Gift.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. VII, Special Issue.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2009. “Editor’s Note: Migrating Identities and Perspectives.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. VII, n. 4, Fall.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2009. “Editor’s Note: Sociological Imaginations In, Of, and Beyond Universities.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. VII, n. 3, Summer.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2009. “Editor’s Note: Historicizing Anti-Semitism.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. VII, n. 2, Spring.

Tamdgidi, M. H. (with Jay Dee and Vivian Zamel). 2009. “Editors’ Note: NECIT, CIT, and Teaching Transformations 2009.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. VII, n. 1, Winter.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2008. “Editor’s Note: Microcosms of Hope.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. VI, Issue 4 (Fall), vii-viii.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2008. “Editor’s Note: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Sociological Imagination.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. VI, Issue 3 (Summer), vii-x.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2008. “Editors’ Note: Toward Sociological Re-Imaginations of Science & Peer Reviewing.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. VI, Issue 2 (Spring), vii-xi.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2008. (With Vivian Zamel). “Editors’ Note: Teaching Transformation.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. VI, Issue 1 (Winter), vii-viii.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2007. “Editor’s Note: Reflections on Fanon.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. V, Special Double-Issue (Summer), ix-x.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2007. “Editor’s Note: My Architect (1930-2007).” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. V, Issue 2 (Spring), vii-viii.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2006. “Editor’s Note: Probing Islamophobia.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. V, Issue 1 (Fall), vii-xi.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2006. “Editor’s Note: Re-Membering Anzaldua.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. IV, Special Issue (Summer), ix-xii.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2005/6. “Editor’s Note: Peer Reviewing the Peer Review Process.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. IV, ns.  1&2 (Fall/Spring), vii-xv.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2004/5. “Editor’s Note: Sociology of Self-Knowlege: Course Topic as well as a Pedagogical Strategy.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. v. III, ns.  1&2 (Fall/Spring), vii-ix.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2003/4. “Editor’s Note: AWelcoming Statement to the Editorial Advisory Board.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. II, n. 2, Fall/Spring, vii-ix.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2003. “Editor’s Note: Social Theories, Student Realities.” (Review of the book Achieving Against the Odds: How Academics Become Teachers of Diverse Students, co-edited by Esther Kingston-Mann and Tim Sieber, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.) Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self- Knowledge, v. II, n. 1, Spring, v-xii.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2002. “Editor’s Note: Spiritual Renaissances & Social Reconstructions.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, v. I, n. 2, Fall, v-vi.

Tamdgidi, M. H. 2002. “Editor’s Note: Social Policies and Life Courses.” Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self- Knowledge, v. I, n. 1, Spring, v-vi.

Mohammad H. Tamdgidi’s Student Publications in Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Volume IX • Issue 2 • Spring 2011

Penning the Sociological Imagination: Writing about My Struggles with Writing
Thanh D. Pham, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Race Against Oneself: Opening Up to Overachievement Using A Sociological Imagination
Iris M. Rivas, University of Massachusetts Boston

What Drives A Teenager to Depression?: An Insider’s Sociological Look into Its Causes
Melissa Mejia, University of Massachusetts Boston

Half Empty or Half Full?: Sociological Self-Explorations of An Aspiring Realist
Ryan J. Canillas, University of Massachusetts Boston

Beyond A Lifetime of Comparison: A Sociological Self-Exploration of Body Image Obsession
Michaela Volpe, University of Massachusetts Boston

An Exploration of the X-Rated World and Its Related Consequences
Rose Bautista, University of Massachusetts Boston

“Getting Stupid to Avoid”: My and Society’s Avoidance Problem with Driving While Drunk
Jennifer Cervantes , University of Massachusetts Boston

Shattering A Looking Glass Self: Building An Applied Sociological Imagination
Melanie Maxham, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume IX • Issue 1 • Winter 2011

Five Doors, Three Cameras, and A Dead Bolt: How Fear of Crime Is Filling Our Prisons and Consuming Personal Liberty
Alison Michelle Ireland, University of Massachusetts Boston

Congratulating Conscious Choice: Exploring Society and the Self through Marriage and Divorce
Julianne M. Siegfriedt, University of Massachusetts Boston

Growing Up A Third Culture Kid: A Sociological Self-Exploration
K. R., University of Massachusetts Boston

Myth of the Life Plan: A Search for Happiness
Linda M. Lazcano, University of Massachusetts Boston

Drawing Attention to A Public Deficit: Sociological Self-Reflections on Growing up with ADD
Ellen Maher, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Present Father: Applying Sociological Theory from A Father’s Standpoint
Edmund J. Melia, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume VII • Issue 3 • Summer 2009

Surviving “Acceptable” Victimization
Penelope Roode, University of Massachusetts Boston

‘Keep It In the Family’: Casting Sociological Lights on the Secrets of My Life
Belle Summer, University of Massachusetts Boston

Understanding Fear Using My Sociological Imagination
E. M. Walsh, University of Massachusetts Boston

Dying to Live: Exploring the Fear of an Unlived Life Using the Sociological Imagination
Ann Marie Moler, University of Massachusetts Boston

Measures of Personal Success and Failure: A Self-Assessment, Applying the Sociological Imagination
Minxing Zheng, University of Massachusetts Boston

ΑΝΞΕΝΟΣ: An Outsider’s Sociology of Self
Andrew Messing, University of Massachusetts Boston

“Money Does Not Buy Happiness”: Using the Sociological Imagination to Move Beyond Stressful Lives
Jillian Pelletier, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume VI • Issue 2 • Spring 2008

Beyond “Simply Understanding”: Sociologically Reimagining and Reconstructing the Meaning of My Education
Kathleen R. O’Brien, University of Massachusetts Boston

4.0: Self-Doubt, the Fear of Failure, and the Power of Symbols
Nicole Jones, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Body/Mind Split in Pursuit of Beauty: Understanding Eating Disorders Through Sociological Writing
Nicole, University of Massachusetts Boston

Choosing My Major and Career: A Sociological Inquiry
Jacquelyn Knoblock, University of Massachusetts Boston

A Futile Struggle?: Power and Conformity in High School and the Society at Large
Eric Reed, University of Massachusetts Boston

What Do I Want to Be?: A Sociological Exploration in Choosing a Career
Joel Bartlett, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume V • Issue 2 • Spring 2007

Looking Inside Out: A Sociology of Knowledge and Ignorance of Geekness
Johnny Yu, University of Massachusetts Boston

Parallel Dualisms: Understanding America’s Apathy for the Homeless through the Sociological Imagination
Colin Allen, University of Massachusetts Boston

Lifting the Fog: Finding Freedom in Light of the Sociological Imagination
Keyon Smith, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Broken Path: Juvenile Violence and Delinquency in Light of Sociological Theories
Sylvia Khromina, University of Massachusetts Boston

Why Do I Not Like Me?: Sociological Self-Reflections on Weight Issues and the American Culture
C. G., University of Massachusetts Boston

Longing to Be Thin: Why I Wait Until Tomorrow to Change My Habits
Caitlin Boyle, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Boston Irish Male: A Self Study
Anonymous, University of Massachusetts Boston

A Family of Neglect and “Dysfunction”: Personal Blames or Structural Constraints?
L. Z., University of Massachusetts Boston

Exiting the Self-Destructive Highway: A Sociological Path Back to A Future Career
Paul Connor, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume IV • Issues 1&2 • Fall 2005 / Spring 2006

In Digestion: Processing Self in a Cycle of Consumption
Jennifer Maniates, University of Massachusetts Boston

Accepting Myself: Negotiating Self-Esteem and Conformity in Light of Sociological Theories
Sheerin Hosseini, University of Massachusetts Boston

An Unusual Immigration Tale: Why I Am Miserable in the Land of Opportunity
T. Portal, University of Massachusetts Boston

Transracial Adoption and Sociological Theory: Understanding My Identity
Elena VanderMolen, University of Massachusetts Boston

Why Am I Watching This?
Kristen Slavin, University of Massachusetts Boston

To Be or Not to Be…Thin: Sociological Reflections on the Price I Paid to Fit In
Kristin White, University of Massachusetts Boston

My Father, My Self: Employing a Sociological Imagination to Transcend the Imaginary in Both Self and Society
Sean Conroy, University of Massachusetts Boston

Coaching Myself Beyond Self-doubt: The Significance of the Subconscious Mind in the Sociological Imagination
Christine Berry, University of Massachusetts Boston

Sociology of My Anger: A Single Mother’s Struggles to Survive in A Patriarchal World
Jennifer Pike, University of Massachusetts Boston

“Why Am I So Fat?”: A Study of the Interrelationship Between Poor Body Image and Social Anxiety
Jessica Haley, University of Massachusetts Boston

Altruism or Guilt: Applying My Sociological Imagination to Choosing a Helping Profession
Elizabeth McCauley, University of Massachusetts Boston

Not Just a Wave, But Part of the Ocean: Examining My Small Town Roots
Jennie Porter, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume III • Issues 1&2 • Spring 2004 / Fall 2005

The “Difference” A Red Face Makes: A Critical Sociology of Bullying in Capitalist Society
Deborah D’Isabel, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Tension of Opposites: Issues of Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in My Identity Formation
Claudia Contreras, University of Massachusetts Boston

My Choice of a Lifetime: “Finding True Love” in a Sociological Imagination
Katherine Heller, University of Massachusetts Boston

Beyond Bifurcation: Femininity and Professional Success in a Changing World
Rebecca Tink, University of Massachusetts Boston

A Different Voice, A Different Autobiography: Letting My Authentic Voice Speak
Caitlin Farren, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Overdose of Shame: A Sociological and Historical Self-Exploration
Haing Kao, University of Massachusetts Boston

My Life So Far: A “Work” in Progress
Harold Muriaty, University of Massachusetts Boston

Intersections of My Lesbian, Feminist, and Activist Identities: Problems and Strategies in Everyday Impression Management
Rachel A. DeFilippis, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume II • Issue 2 • Fall 2003/Spring 2004

The Complexity of Naive Acceptance of Socially Manipulated Beliefs
Ayan Ahmed, University of Massachusetts Boston

Alice in the Gendered Sports-Fan Wonderland: A Sociological Inquiry
Elizabeth J. Schumacher, University of Massachusetts Boston

Will I Marry Her?
Chris DaPonte, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Effect of Immigrant Experiences on the Bifurcation of Women’s Consciousness
Guadalupe Paz, University of Massachusetts Boston

Who are “I”?: A Sociology of My Traditional, Modern, and Postmodern Selves
Marie Neuner, University of Massachusetts Boston

My Life’s Tapestry: Casting Theoretical Lights on the Social Threads That Tie Me Down
D. M. Rafferty, University of Massachusetts Boston

From Alienation to Exploration: Breaking Free from the Iron Cages of My Life
Annie Roper, University of Massachusetts Boston

Body Image: A Clouded Reality
M. D., University of Massachusetts Boston

Obsessed with Impression Management: A Critical Sociology of Body Image in Capitalist Society
Michelle B. Jacobs, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Roots of Procrastination: A Sociological Inquiry into Why I Wait Until Tomorrow
Jennifer M. Kosmas, University of Massachusetts Boston

Honesty, Trust, and Love—In That Order: A Sociology of My Emotional Kaleidoscope
Lynne K. Marlette, University of Massachusetts Boston

Questioning Motherhood: A Sociological Awakening
Keilah Billings, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume II • Issue 1 • Spring 2003

Why I Smoke: Sociology of a Deadly Habit
Emily Margulies, SUNY College at Oneonta

The Drinking Matrix: A Symbolic Self Interaction
Neo Morpheus, SUNY College at Oneonta

Theoretical Reflections on Peer Judgments
M. Goltry, SUNY College at Oneonta

It’s Worth Living in the World
James McHugh, SUNY College at Oneonta

My Image Struggles in Capitalist Society
Anna Schlosser, SUNY College at Oneonta

“It’s Not My Fault”: Overcoming Social Anxiety through Sociological Imagination
Charles, SUNY College at Oneonta

Treading Water: Self-Reflections on Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Megan Murray, SUNY College at Oneonta

Sociology of Shyness: A Self Introduction
Colin Campbell, SUNY College at Oneonta

“Let Me Introduce Myself”: My Struggles with Shyness and Conformity
Sherry Wilson, SUNY College at Oneonta

Religion in an Individualistic Society
Jillian E. Sloan, SUNY College at Oneonta

A Precarious Balance: Views of a Working Mother Walking the Tightrope
Jennifer S. Dutcher, SUNY College at Oneonta

Links in the Chain: Untangling Dysfunctional Family Ties
Ira Omid, SUNY College at Oneonta

Volume I • Issue 2 • Fall 2002

From Anti-man to Anti-patriarchy
Emily Margulies, SUNY College at Oneonta

Conspicuous Conflict
L. M. Damian, SUNY College at Oneonta

Repairing the Soul: Matching Inner with Outer Beauty
Kristy Canfield, SUNY College at Oneonta

Defying the Sweatshop, Sociologically Speaking
Steve Sacco, SUNY College at Oneonta

Struggles and Predicaments of Low-Income Families and Children
Jennifer VanFleet, SUNY College at Oneonta

Honor Thy Father and Mother
Nancy Chapin, SUNY College at Oneonta

My Translucent Father
Katie J. Dubaj, SUNY College at Oneonta

Mom and Dad’s Waltz: A Dance of Love and Sacrifice
Rena Dangerfield, Binghamton University

Volume I • Issue 1 • Spring 2002

The Capitalist Cuckoo’s Nest
R.F.A., SUNY College at Oneonta

I only Thought I Knew It All: Society and the Individual
Samara Cohen, Binghamton University

Why Is P Afraid to Love a Woman?
Peter Dai, SUNY College at Oneonta

Teacher Recruitment and Retention: Personal Conflicts, Social Dilemmas
P. E. Gracey III, SUNY College at Oneonta

“Alien Nation”
P. Heim, Binghamton University

Good Mother/Daughter Hunting: A Process of Self-Healing
L. Mlecz, SUNY College at Oneonta

For the Love of Our Many Lives
S. R., Binghamton University

Banana or Bridge? How Capitalism Impacts My Racial Identity
YuhTyng Tsuei, Binghamton University

My Asian-American Experience
William Wang, Binghamton University

Welfare Beyond Teaching: Caring for Children and Their Parents
Jan Michele Chilion, SUNY College at Oneonta

The Disabled Welfare Program: The Welfare System and the Disabled
Erin Syron, SUNY College at Oneonta

Inadequate Programs Assisting Mothers in Poverty
Jessica Udice, SUNY College at Oneonta

Children: The Unheard Society
Aaron Witkowski, SUNY College at Oneonta

Anna D. Beckwith’s Student Publications in Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Volume IX • Issue 2 • Spring 2011

A Girl Amongst Men: A Sociological Analysis of My Identity Formation and the Creation of My Personal Feminine Ideal
Ann Barnes, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume VIII • Issue 1 • Spring 2010

The Miseducation of Ms. M
Melanie Robinson, University of Massachusetts Boston

Culturelessness and Culture Shock: An American-Asian Experience
Tara Cianfrocca, University of Massachusetts Boston

From Construction to Social Work: Finding Value in Helping Others
Albert Marks, University of Massachusetts Boston

My Work Utopia: Pursuing A Satisfactory Work Life Amid an Alienating World
Irene Hartford, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Loss of a Culture with an Accent: A Sociological Reflection on My Assimilation into the American Culture
Dora Joseph, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume VII • Issue 3 • Summer 2009

Working to Thrive, Not Just Survive: My Work History in a Sociological Imagination
Christine Quinn, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume VI • Issue 2 • Spring 2008

Gender and Violence: A Reflective Sociology of How Gender Ideologies and Practices Contribute to Gender Based Violence
Jacquelyn Knoblock, University of Massachusetts Boston

The Snail’s Pace of Racial Progress in America: Sociological Insights from a Participant Observer
Henry Mubiru, University of Massachusetts Boston

No Longer Adding to the Problem: Changing Society’s Raciallized Structure from Within
David Couras, University of Massachusetts Boston

Money Whitens But Doesn’t Erase: A Reflective Sociology of Racism from the Middle of the American “Melting Pot”
Dima Kurin, University of Massachusetts Boston

A Lifetime of Labor: A Sociological Imagination of Work as Life
Stacey Melchin, University of Massachusetts Boston

Finding My Work Utopia: Examining My Work Experiences and Position in Society
Laura Zuzevich, University of Massachusetts Boston

“Patching” My Life: Sociological Lessons for a Joyful Work
Michelle Tanney, University of Massachusetts Boston

Life is Change: “My Adolescent State of Mind”
Lora Aurise, University of Massachusetts Boston

Sociological Reflections on My Work Experience
Brian Ahl, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume V • Issue 2 • Spring 2007

Love and Marriage: Through the Lens of Sociological Theories
Ana Carolina Fowler, Tufts University

The Quinceñera Rising: Self-Discoveries on the Heels of City and Rural Town
Krystle Santana, University of Massachusetts Boston

A Family of Neglect and “Dysfunction”: Personal Blames or Structural Constraints?
L. Z., University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume IV • Issues 1&2 • Fall 2005 / Spring 2006

Rules of the Game: Finding My Place in a Racialized World
James Barrett, University of Massachusetts Boston

From Laundry to Social Justice to Counseling: Redefining Work as Synonymous to Life
Caitlin Farren, University of Massachusetts Boston

To Be or Not to Be…Thin: Sociological Reflections on the Price I Paid to Fit In
Kristin White, University of Massachusetts Boston

Growing Up African-American, Christian, and Female: The Dichotomies of My Life
Kemba Gray, University of Massachusetts Boston

Making a Home, Building a Family: Traditions, Boundaries, and Virtues
Verena-Cathérine Niederhöfer, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume III • Issues 1&2 • Spring 2004 / Fall 2005

Socialization of Transnationally Adopted Korean Americans: A Self Analysis
Lee Kang Woon, University of Massachusetts Boston

“Housing Project” In Comparative Perspective: Opportunity or Stigma?
N.I.B., University of Massachusetts Boston

Religion, Gender, and Patriarchy: Awakening to My Self-Conscious Resocialization
Sharon Brown, University of Massachusetts Boston

Beyond the “Goods Life”: Mass Consumerism, Conflict, and the Latchkey-Kid
Jennifer Lambert, University of Massachusetts Boston

Hooped Dreams: Internal Growth, External Stagnation, and One Man’s Search for Work
Anonymous, University of Massachusetts Boston

Volume II • Issue 2 • Fall 2003/Spring 2004

“Asian”: Just A Simple Word
Kuong C. Ly, University of Massachusetts Boston

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