Learning Transformations: Applied Sociological Imaginations from First Year Seminars and Beyond

Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge

Volume IX • Issue 2 • Spring 2011

Journal Editor:
Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, UMass Boston


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. Contributors include: Thanh D. Pham, Iris M. Rivas, Melissa Mejia, Ryan J. Canillas, Michaela Volpe, Rose Bautista, Jennifer Cervantes, Ann Barnes, Melanie Maxham, 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.

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To read individual contributions of this volume that are freely accessible online, please click on the title of each contribution in the table of contents below.


vii—Editor’s Note: Know Thy—Student—Selves
Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, University of Massachusetts Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

65—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

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