Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, Ph.D., director of OKCIR: the Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics)

Mohammad H. (Behrooz) Tamdgidi, Ph.D.

About | Vita | Scholarship (BackgroundPhilosophyAutonomyVisionConduit) | Appreciations

Appreciative Comments on Teaching, Research, Service, and Tenure

“This is … one of your previous students at UMass Boston. I was also a mentor for one of your freshman year class, in which you had back injuries and i had to take over the class. I am emailing you because when i found out you retired I never thanked you officially or properly, … . You did a lot for me, not just academically, but also through mentoring, guiding, supporting, and providing opportunities for me. Not only did you trust in me enough to give me the position of a mentor, but you helped open the doors for me in many directions. I wanted to let you know that i hope you are enjoying the new step in your life and are feeling better compared to how you were before. I hope all is well, and life is treating you fairly.”

“My past two semesters at UMass have been filled with Tuesdays with Tamdgidi. I cannot thank you enough for all you have taught me. I would not be the student I am today without your knowledge or belief in me. Allowing me to take the position as your mentor means so much. It is something I will carry through my education, as you have made (and watched) me grow as a student. You saw something in me that I did not. You believed I could guide your class and introduce freshmen into the university. You truly do not know how much it means to me. Being able to sit in your class for another semester was an honor. Your guidance is so special and you really connect with your students. The way you teach this course and make me think has made me a better person today. I have taken so much from not only your class, but this mentoring experience. I gained confidence, ability to learn, and leadership skills all through what you offered me. Your intriguing thoughts and positive ways have taught me more about myself and life than I ever know. Your perspective is like no other and will stick with me through the decisions I make. Now, your time has come to experience another adventure. I will miss you dearly and appreciate everything you have done for me these past two semesters. I wish you nothing but the best as you take the next step in life. Enjoy it!”

“I wanted to share my thoughts that I find your class as the most interesting class to me this 1st semester. I feel somehow always looking forward to attending your class because you have a passion for sharing your knowledge about sociology that brings peace to me somehow whenever I’m in your class. I was about to ask you today if u teach any other classes as well; however, you brought up this being your last semester at school. If you don’t mind me asking, why is this your last semester? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t feel comfortable Professor. Lastly, I just wanted to say even though the semester is not over yet, you have made a positive impact on me and created a change in my perspective of how I see things. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us and for your dedication … [followup communication] Thank you for your kind words when you said I have a passion for learning. I wanted to let you know I’m not surprised that you’d go to Iran to be and share your love with your mother, to be with her when you are needed the most, I wouldn’t expect less from you. However, it does make sad we are losing a unique professor. What you are doing is what really matters, you are following your heart and don’t forget to always cherish happy moments with her as time is unfair. Needless to mention, I believe you are a very noble and wonderful person and a little piece of advice: pursue your dreams, do share your passion for teaching in the way you love and do indeed follow your scholarship independently via Okcir. I really love your research center by the way, I have found very rich journals and readings on it. It was a pleasure meeting you and I hope everything turns out wonderful for you and your loved ones. Thank you for everything.”

“I am really going to miss you. UMASS does not know what a valuable professor your are. I have never met any student that had any regret in taking your class. In fact they are always looking for other classes that you teach. I wish you all the best that life has to offer …. Too bad I waited too long to reach out to you. I was going to ask you to mentor me but never got around to do it as it gets too busy at my job. I will forever cherish the opportunity I had of working with you. I wish 2014 be a better, healthier, prosperous and successful year for you.”

“… I would like to sincerely thank you for designing a curriculum that allows for this type of self-exploration to occur, for allowing a creative space for reflection that has truly given me an opportunity to better the relationship I have had with my father for what I can say is too long a time. Hopefully, with this paper being finished, I can finally begin to take steps toward rebuilding a bond with my father, and eventually sharing with him the aspects of my life and myself that I have never felt comfortable sharing with him before. … Thank you again for the lessons you’ve taught, which allowed me to teach myself.”

“I would like to thank you for a wonderful learning experience in your class this semester. I can honestly say that I looked forward to coming to school every day because of my professors this semester, you especially. … I am very disappointed that you will no longer be at the University of Massachusetts Boston because I was hoping to take another class from you. You are such a gracious and kind man with a wonderful style of instructing. I am sure that you will be missed. …”

“I didn’t get a chance to speak with you on Thursday but I wanted to email you and thank you further for everything this semester. The lessons I learned in your classroom are much larger than school concepts meant to merely help me excel in the job world; they will thoroughly assist me in the real world and social world.…”

“The class has had a positive impact on my experience at UMass so far. Tamdgidi does an excellent job at allowing the class to expand on topics and explore their inner selves. It has allowed me to look at writing in a new light. Professor has helped me engage more in critical thinking and encouraged us to further explore topics of interest. … This is a great class, and everyone who speaks is usually respectful. … You teach a fantastic class! You have allowed me to speak freely and encouraged me to expand my knowledge which has resulted in my understanding more about myself and others.”

“In all honesty, I love this class. I love how challenging the discussions are, how thought-provoking the topics we discuss are. … You are one of my all time favorite teachers, you are patient, caring and want us to learn. Just continue being yourself.”

“This course has proven interesting because most of the topics covered are very relevant to each person’s life. The presentations always provide a good discussion. … I think the class has given students a great learning experience. Everyone has different opinions but are very open to listening to each other. This makes for great discussion. … I think overall this course has been taught wonderfully. There is nothing specific that I can think of that would improve the course.”

“I think what you are doing is Perfect. One of the best Professors I’ve ever had. … Thanks for all your hard work great Professor!”

“The individual presentations are always really interesting. They engage the class in a lot of discussion which is helpful. … The feedbacks I have received on my writing from the professor have been really helpful. … The professor does a great job making this all a learning experience. I have no complaints.”

“This course is immensely interesting! I think it is so cool that I can now analyze certain aspects of life and relate concepts to them and see how they influence the “macro”—the public. This course has brought light upon many new findings for me. There is nothing I can really dislike about this course, everything (especially group discussions) is very interesting and I learn a lot! This seminar has helped me write in a more empirical, research-based, way … It has helped me to steer clear of “following the authors’ grain” but instead question their ideas and imply my own experiences… You are a wonderful professor and really allow us to prosper as individuals by providing the right resources.”

“I found/find this course very interesting with all the different stories that we have to read that are followed by the group discussions. They get deep and everyone actually opens up. It’s challenging because you have to incorporate the books within your papers which is challenging. It’s helpful/positive because we learn to not be as shy and give our opinions on things and actually speak up. … I love this class and love professor T b/c he’s very understanding.”

“Class discussions are always interesting and I always learn something new about the class. The movies on Multiple Personality Disorder and Running Out of Time were also really thought-provoking. … The readings can be challenging but I try my best to understand them and the class discussions always help me further develop my ideas and understanding of the concepts. … Professor Tamdgidi is awesome and I really enjoy this class. … I have learned A LOT from the professor and my fellow classmates during class discussions. I’m learning to connect my life to the bigger picture.”

“I actually think this class is very helpful and interesting… I think the class is very well structured itself. I wouldn’t want to change anything.”

“I am amazed on the linkages — the readings and reviews and how they relate and help me with my other classes. I’m pleased with the professor’s style, curriculum and control over the class. He asks wonderful questions that stimulate discussion. … I look forward to this class every day!”

“In this course, I found interesting the way everyone gets to know each other. It is done in freedom, so it feels natural.”

“The Professor is very helpful and has empathy with all students without any exception. To be honest, I cannot find anything bad about this course. All the lectures are very interesting. … the Professor encourages us to learn about ourselves. … I think this course is perfect for every student that is interested in real life situations.”

“The class is an enlightening experience. I’m having some personal troubles, yet this class has helped me to work out a lot of my problems. I’m learning a lot about the topics, but more importantly myself and the world around me. Easily my favorite class this semester. Being completely honest, I find nothing wrong with the class. I can’t emphasize that enough. The work is informative and entertaining while at the same time challenging. The class is open and the discussions, though sometimes riveting, are very enjoyable. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome, Professor Tamdgidi! … Just keep up the good work! … I really love the class. I appreciate all you’re doing for us. I’ve been challenged while still having fun. I look forward to it every class 🙂 !”

“The books are interesting & interactive with the reader. There is a positive message & vibe in this class. And it is exactly what this world needs more of. Keep up the good work. I just wished I took this class earlier in college. There is a lot of helpful info given. That would have been nice to know in the beginning lol. Good knowledge to have early on, but I learned things the hard way. I always thought there should have been an easier way, now I know that there is. … You are doing a great job, keep it up!!!”

“I love this class and you’re a really sweet, kind and caring professor. I am very happy here.”

“… and I are pleased to concur with the recommendations of the Personnel Committee of the Department of Sociology …; of the Department Chair …; of the Personnel Committee of the College of of Liberal Arts; and of Dean …, that Professor Mohammad Tamdgidi be promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure. We find his record of accomplishments in the areas of teaching, research, and service to fully warrant such actions. …

“We join all previous levels of review in concluding that Professor Tamdgidi is an excellent teacher. His primary teaching responsibilities involve offering courses in sociological theory to undergraduate students. Professor Tamdgidi describes his pedagogical approach as involving globally self-reflective learning, experiential learning, flexible learning, and teaching as research. Evidence presented in the file indicates that he thoughtfully incorporates these elements into each of his courses. The central assignment in most of his courses is a complex research paper that students draft and redraft in stages, in close consultation with Professor Tamdgidi. He lets students know that some of the best examples of their work will appear in Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, the online journal that he founded and edits. Many students have known the pride of being published in that venue, and all of his students have seen the seriousness with which he regards their research. Professor Tamdgidi has also taught a graduate sociology course and several sections of the required first year seminar of the general education curriculum. Student evaluations of his teaching have been highly positive. According to the chair of the Sociology Department, his teaching evaluations often exceed the department norm. Narrative comments on student evaluations characterize Professor Tamdgidi as fair, approachable, possessing high standards, and having a high level of content mastery. In addition to his usual advising assignment, Professor Tamdgidi also requires that each student in his courses meet with him twice during the semester, thus offering the opportunity for students to establish a strong academic relationship with a full-time faculty member—a relationship that research suggests positively affects student engagement in university life. One student who submitted a letter for the file stated, “After my first class, I was hooked … Tamdgidi was the single most influential person during my career at the university …. He honors each person’s ability to contribute, discuss, disagree, question, and challenge …

“Professor Tamdgidi has established a record of scholarship that is impressive. His area of interest is sociological theory, with a focus on “the study of how biography and history, personal troubles and public issues, interrelate,” and, more specifically, “how everyday, here-and-now personal self-knowledges and world-historical social structures constitute one another.” His scholarly work has been published in one book, four refereed journal articles, and one book chapter. A second book has been accepted for publication and three additional book chapters and one refereed journal article are forthcoming. Professor Tamdgidi has also published numerous book reviews, working papers, conference proceedings, and other scholarly materials. In addition, he has presented his research at many national and international conferences. The Department Personnel Committee described Professor Tamdgidi as a “prolific and energetic writer engaged in an ambitious array of projects related to his areas of specialization.” This is consistent with the view of one external reviewer who concluded that Professor Tamdgidi’s “research demonstrates amazing range, depth and promise.” Most of the external scholars who reviewed Professor Tamdgidi’s scholarly work for the purpose of this review offered positive assessments. A common theme among the reviewers was that Professor Tamdgidi’s published scholarship was not only significant, but quite innovative, as well. As one reviewer commented, “he is an imaginative, energetic scholar, willing to take risks and fashion his own path.” One reviewer who expressed great admiration for Professor Tamdgidi’s scholarly work noted that it has not yet been reported in top-tier sociology journals, and another stated that “his writings haven’t (as yet) appeared in presses they deserve” but anticipates that the quality of Professor Tamdgidi’s work will result in additional publishing opportunities in the future. Indeed, his recent record shows that he has, in the past two years, enjoyed increased success in having articles accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. We agree with his department chair, who stated that Professor Tamdgidi is “serious-minded, enthusiastic and enormously committed to his scholarly journal.

“In the area of service, Professor Tamdgidi has distinguished himself as a highly dedicated and effective faculty member. Within his department, he has served as a member of many committees and as chair of the Lecturer Evaluation and Professional Development Committee. He designed and serves as webmaster of the Sociology Department website. Linking his scholarly interests and service commitments, he has served three times as guest editor of the department’s journal, Discourse of Sociological Practice. At the college level, Professor Tamdgidi is currently chair of the Majors, Honors, and Special Programs Committee. His university service has included membership on th University Fellowships Committee and a librarian search committee. The file includes letters of praise and appreciation for Professor Tamdgidi’s committee contributions. Judging from the comments of his peers, he is an exceptionally hard-working and thoughtful colleague, who, after preparing for meetings with exquisite care, brings balance and perspective to even difficult committee discussions and decisions. As one colleague commented, “Professor Tamdgidi has the perfect combination of conscientiousness, meticulousness, efficiency, and the human touch that makes him such an honor to work with ….” In addition to his committee work, he has been actively involved with the Center for the Improvement of Teaching. Professor Tamdgidi’s service to his profession is also laudable. He has served as a member of the editorial committee of one professional journal, and as a manuscript reviewer for several other journals and a book publisher. Perhaps his signature professional service contribution is his development of the Social Theory Forum, an annual conference held at UMass Boston that draws scholars from around the globe. Letters in the file from participants suggest that the Forum generates an unusually engaged and sophisticated dialogue. A faculty colleague stated that Professor Tamdgidi “showed a great deal of intellectual and academic leadership in realizing this impressive conference for several years. For a junior faculty member, his strength and his generosity of vision are nothing short of stunning ….” We commend Professor Tamdgidi for his service contributions to his colleagues, both on and off campus.

“Professor Tamdgidi was invited to join the faculty with the expectation that he would add strength to the Sociology Department’s undergraduate curricular offerings in sociological theory, and he has excelled in that regard. The department is enjoying an increased number of majors, and will benefit, therefore, by the addition of a tenured faculty member, particularly one who has demonstrated as much commitment to the university and its students as has Professor Tamdgidi.

“In summary, Professor Tamdgidi has made impressive contributions in the areas of teaching, research, and service. We are pleased to join previous levels of review in recommending that he be awarded tenure as an associate professor in the Department of Sociology.”

“Dear Professor Tamdgidi: At its June 10, 2009 meeting, the Board of Trustees concurred with the President …’s decision to grant you tenure in the Department of Sociology. It gives me great pleasure to acknowledge and celebrate this special occasion in your professional life. I am certain that I speak for everyone involved in the review in saying that the University of Massachusetts Boston is proud of your accomplishments and pleased to welcome you into the senior, tenured ranks of its faculty. Please accept my warmest congratulations on this well-deserved honor.”

“Dear Professor Tamdgidi: It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Board of Trustees at its meeting of June 10, 2009, has concurred with my decision to award you tenure in the Department of Sociology. This action reflects the high regard in which you are held by your colleagues and is a fitting recognition of your contributions to the University. Congratulations and best wishes for your continuing career at the University.”

“Dear Professor Tamdgidi: It gives me pleasure to say that, at its June 10, 2009 meeting, the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts concurred with President …’s decision to grant you tenure in the Department of Sociology. This is a particularly important professional and personal achievement, on your part, and I take this opportunity to commend you. As …, I take pride in your achievement and I extend best wishes to you.”

“Dear Professor Tamdgidi: I am pleased to extend my congratulations to you on receiving tenure in the Department of Sociology at the Board of Trustees meeting on June 10, 2009. I know that I speak for all those who were part of the review process in saying how impressive and promising we found your record and that we look forward to working with you in promoting the further academic growth of the University of Massachusetts Boston. Congratulations to you, and welcome to the senior rank of the faculty and to a long and productive association with the University of Massachusetts Boston.”

“Dear Mohammad: Congratulations on the granting of tenure! I commend you on such a monumental professional achievement and hope that you are enjoying the fall semester.”

“… In the words of one referee, Professor Tamdgidi “demonstrates breadth of knowledge” and the work is “plausible, well reasoned, carefully crafted, and often incisive and creative.” Tamdgidi is characterized by another as “an ambitious thinker engaged with important social theoretical questions.” The referee goes on to say, “There’s coherence to the work overall, a backward and forward trajectory, that signifies a scholar with a set of clear intellectual questions and the stamina to get the answers to them right.” The majority of the external referees conclude that Tamdgidi has produced significant scholarship to this point [2008] and that there is high likelihood of future productivity. … The referees are largely impressed by the coherence, creativity and significance of his writings and their contribution to new lines of thinking on problems of transformation in the world-system. … Professor Tamdgidi is serious-minded, enthusiastic, and enormously committed to his scholarly agenda.”

“… In reviewing his teaching record, I see Professor Tamdgidi as a highly motivated teacher, one who is very committed to pedagogical methods that engage students. He has used his self-published journal Human Architecture to showcase student writing. Helping students edit and rewrite their work for the journal serves those students who publish plus other current students who read this work and have a model to emulate. This time-consuming effort provides evidence of his dedication to student learning both outside and inside the classroom. Professor Tamdgidi has consistently been responsive to departmental needs and those of the First Year Seminar program. The DPC has found his course materials well thought through and challenging. Professor Tamdgidi takes student advising seriously, makes a lot of time for student appointments and visits, and incorporates advising appointments into his course plans ….”

“Professor Tamdgidi has a very substantial record of service through his work with campus and departmental committees, and through his four years as organizer of the department-based Social Theory Forum. The numerous letters in his file document a wide range of service activities and his contributions in each case. In some cases his leadership capacities and accomplishments are implicit in his role as chairperson of a high demand committee (e.g. Majors, Honors and Special Programs) and they are documented in letters from fellow committee members and from faculty with whom he worked on curriculum issues brought before the committee. … From these letters one gets the impression of a highly engaged faculty member who takes the committee charges seriously and has made very significant campus service contributions.”

“Launching and developing the Social Theory Forum over a four year period is a service activity that spans departmental, campus, and external professional service areas. Several letters detail the nature and significance of this conference and his role in organizing and managing the event. I find particularly impressive the reference to Tamdgidi’s role in creating “intellectual spaces” for faculty and students on this campus. This view is further echoed in other letters pertaining to his participation in a campus working group convened to consider Islam and the Arab world. Again, in this letter I see reference to his furthering the campus “intellectual culture.” Overall, these letters attest to the importance of the particular activities and to his recognition by campus colleagues.”

“Professor Tamdgidi’s service was judged as extensive and significant during the Fourth Year Review and he has subsequently undertaken new activities with success. His chairing important campus and departmental committees is new evidence of leadership in an already impressive service record.”

“While it is true that many Personal Statements talk about the adjustment to and richness of UMass Boston students, and CIT [Center for the Improvement of Teaching, now, Center for Innovative Teaching], I do not recall a Personal Statement that has so thoroughly analyzed how, from before day one, the culture of teaching here, particularly as expressed through the activities of CIT, has positively impacted one’s teaching. That this has been true for Professor Tamdgidi has been made possible by his own efforts to improve that teaching culture through participation in the annual CIT conference, and publication in HA [Human Architecture] of its proceedings one year, and publication in HA of student papers from his own and other classes, and of those submitted for the Esther Kingston Mann student scholarship awards.”

“One [reviewer] says that his writings “contribute fresh themes to the enduring discourse over Marx and critical theory.” Several reviewers are impressed by the breadth and consistency of his project and indicate that it will work to change current conceptions of social theory. One reviewer says that Tamdgidi “is one of the pioneers of this new field of scholarship. … The entire [CPC: Collegiate Personnel Committee] committee was impressed with Professor Tamdgidi’s energy and apparent commitment to his scholarship and with the quantity of his output. The committee agreed that any problems should be understood in a larger context of real achievement. The CPC assigns a rating of excellence to Professor Tamdgidi in the area of research and scholarly activity …There seems to be little doubt that Professor Tamdgidi is an effective, conscientious teacher who gives every indication of caring deeply about students and encouraging them not only to learn but to develop as autonomous, thinking people—the last aim entirely consistent with one of the central points of his scholarly work. The CPC unanimously assigns a rating of excellence to Professor Tamdgidi’s teaching performance … Professor Tamdgidi has clearly been a major asset to his department, college, and campus. The most notable service accomplishment recorded in the file is Professor Tamdgidi’s leading role in creating the Sociology Department’s annual Social Theory Forum and in coordinating its meetings between 2003 and 2007. This appears to have been a substantial undertaking, the success of which is attested in several of the materials in the file. It shows a degree of initiative and commitment beyond what is normally expected of junior faculty members. In several of the letters on Professor Tamdgidi’s service and in the department chair’s report, his work on the Social Theory Forum is described as being related to a larger commitment to enhancing the intellectual life of the university by “creating spaces” for discourses outside the academic mainstream. … The CPC is impressed with the amount of service activity in which Professor Tamdgidi has been engaged and with the evidence provided in referees’ letters of his hard work and accomplishments. … The CPC unanimously assigns a rating of excellence to Professor Tamdgidi in the area of service.”

“Most external reviewers were highly positive in their assessment of Professor Tamdgidi’s scholarship, arguing that he has made important and original contributions. As one reviewer put it: “(Professor Tamdgidi) is an imaginative, energetic scholar, willing to take risks and fashion his own path. His first book and other scholarly writings contribute fresh themes to the enduring discourse over Marx and critical theory. Professor Tamdgidi engages a core problem in social theory in a unique way, mapping a project that should yield much more published work in the future.” Commenting on the originality of Tamdgidi’s scholarship, another reviewer noted: “Tamdgidi is one of the few sociologists working on the relationship between social theory and utopian/progressive politics in the world, and his research demonstrates amazing range, depth, and promise. His contribution, spread as it is across his first book, Advancing Utopistics, and various prominent journal articles and book chapters, has been both nationally and internationally significant.” Several reviewers commented favorably on the intellectual consistency of Tamdgidi’s scholarly writings. One reviewer, for instance, stated that: “Tamdgidi’s social theoretical research and publications are focused around a coherent and ambitious intellectual project to revise and extent the world systems framework in which he was trained.” This same reviewer identified three interrelated components in Professor Tamdgidi’s scholarship: (1) to bring to world systems theory “an integrative attention to the determinant role of human agency, two areas where world systems studies have been weakest”; (2) to extend the critique of world systems studies’ Eurocentrism, both in terms of “a focus on the East and a focus on de-colonizing or de-alienating … Western knowledge paradigms”: and (3) to take up “the challenging problem of change and transformation within a world systems framework by critically engaging the Marxist tradition that underwrites what Immanuel Wallerstein calls utopistics” and by advancing his own “utopystics” as a logical and worthy next step. As this same reviewer continued: “In this regard, Tamdgidi’s research and writing on mysticism are especially interesting and important. Treated primarily as an obfuscating religious practice as an Orientalist irrationality by the Marxist tradition … Tamdgidi’s ability to critically situate mysticism within an ‘Asiatic mode of liberation’ is highly original and generative. Combined with the arguments put on the history of imperial forms (2006), this work is extremely promising.” The innovative nature of Professor Tamdgidi’s work is also emphasized in the comments of yet another reviewer: “Most of what we call Social Theory today is West-centric … The experiences and theories developed by people from non-Western countries and traditions of thought are frequently and systematically excluded from the field of sociology and social science in general.” According to this reviewer, recent social theory has begun to incorporate non-Western thought into its formulations and in this regard: “(Tamdgidi) is one of the pioneers of this new field of scholarship. (His) sociological imagination bridges East and West, North and South in creative, original, and innovative ways like nobody else before him.” Most reviewers consulted are also highly laudatory in their evaluation of Professor Tamdgidi’s book, Advancing Utopistics. One reviewer summarized his assessment as follows: “(Professor Tamdgidi’s) book is a tour-de-force in several fields of scholarship such as world-systems, sociology of knowledge, and Marxist sociology, recasting both Mannheim’s and Wallerstein’s concept of utopia. Here he develops his radical critique of what he calls the three component parts and errors of Marxism … His recasting of the dialectical method beyond the binary of idealism vs. materialism is an original and crucial contribution to sociological theory.” Another reviewer noted that: “(T)he argument of Dr. Tamdgidi’s book, that anti-utopianism in the form of radical materialism of the later Marx jeopardizes the creative dimension of dialectical thought, offers a critique and theoretical response rooted in the complex forces of the self as lived. The work is a contribution in Marxist social thought, in that it is part of the stream that offers arguments for reconsidering the early Marx, but it is also a work in agency-oriented dialectical social thought.” Finally, a third review assessed Tamdgidi’s book in these terms: “Professor Tamdgidi’s core argument is plausible, well-reasoned, carefully crafted, and often incisive and creative … Advancing Utopistics is a hefty, complex, intellectually serious work … Paradigm Press is a fine venue for this book; this press has a very impressive list of works by prominent sociological theorists … and top “critical theorists” … Being part of such an excellent list of senior authors should enhance Professor Tamdgidi’s reputation in broader social theory circles as his recently published work is more widely disseminated.”

“…after four years in which Behrooz Tamdgidi and other members of the sociology department and other UMass departments made [the Social Theory Forum (STF)] a signature event in our campus…”

“Behrooz: I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the wonderful job you have done, from editing to actual production of the hard copy, on bringing out the proceedings of the Anzaldúa conference. The beauty of the book itself and the set-up clearly embody the herculean effort you made. I also know that you dipped considerably into your own finances to accomplish this labor of love. So, to you, and to the committee of wonderful folks I am honored to be part of, I wish to express my thanks and appreciation for your efforts.”

“Special thanks go to Behrooz Tamdgidi who was the guest editor of this issue. He was also the architect of the Journal’s new design and format.”

“We specially thank Professor Behrooz Tamdgidi, the guest editor for this issue of the journal. He chaired the conference’s program

committee and did all of the editorial work for putting this fine collection of papers together.”

“In his first two years at UMass Boston, Professor Tamdgidi has established himself as a hard working and innovative colleague. These traits are exemplified in his role as co-organizer of the new Social Theory Forum, which in the past two years has provided students and faculty at UMass Boston and other schools an opportunity for presentations and exchanges of ideas on social theory. Professor Tamdgidi also brought to the campus his journal, Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge, which provides students an opportunity to publish their papers, and he has served as guest editor of the department’s journal, The Discourse of Sociological Practice, editing the proceedings of the first Social Theory Forum. …”

“The Social Theory Forum (STF) is Professor Tamdgidi’s most important service contribution to date [2007]. … A principal organizer of the STF between 2004 and 2007, Professor Tamdgidi spent enormous amount of time and effort in planning nearly every facet of the yearly conference (including developing the conference theme, inviting keynote speakers, making travel arrangements for speakers, soliciting conference funding and participants, and publicizing the conference both on and off-campus). In addition, between 2004 and 2007, Professor Tamdgidi published conference proceedings in edited volumes of his journal, Human Architecture, or as guest editor of department’s in-house journal, Discourse of Sociological Practice. Now an annual spring event at UMass Boston, the STF has attracted local, national, and international participants. As the letter from one faculty member associate with the STF noted:

I find the Social Theory Forum probably the most interesting local faculty production in terms of scholarly dialogue that I have ever experienced in my 34+ years at the university. It is a refreshing, engaging accomplishment, an event that has brought together faculty and students from throughout the university, who can participate directly in and witness fresh, engaged critical dialogue over important theoretical issues in social theory, and can consider the application of that theory to contemporary affairs … Even though it is sociologists who lead and organize the STF, the event is far from being simply a departmental activity: it accommodates a broad-based substantial, extensive set of cross-disciplinary dialogues among scholars from across the entire campus and beyond, to other universities in the US and internationally … I have been to dozens of academic conferences over the years at UMass Boston … but not one of them has ever come close to any of the Social Theory Forums in terms of vitality, interest, participation, or quality of presentations and dialogue. I think the STF has helped create a new standard of intellectual exchange on our campus …

“… one of the important features of the STF that has been particularly well-received is its focus on cross-disciplinary exchanges. In this regard, one letter from a conference participant from outside the University reported that the STF “offers an exceptional opportunity for scholars in a variety of disciplines to exchange ideas around a common theme,” an opportunity that is “far too rare.” In this external faculty member’s view, the STF not only “provide(s) a source of cohesion and intellectual stimulation for faculty” at UMB but also “serves as an important source of intellectual stimulation for students and faculty at other institutions.” This external faculty member was particularly impressed by the diversity of presenters who came from different regions or countries and who were “graduate students, faculty, administrators and staff, from a wide variety of disciplines. Similarly the STF has generated great enthusiasm on campus. A UMass Boston faculty member who was actively involved in the STF acknowledged Professor Tamdgidi’s “invaluable contributions in organizing and hosting the Social Theory Forum for four years in a row.” The STF brought the UMB campus “an exciting scholarly exchange of ideas among educators and researchers in the US, Europe, and Africa.” Attending the STF provided her with a “valuable bolt of intellectual invigoration.” The same letter stated that conference participants appreciated the STF features keynote speakers “because the work of these luminaries has influenced an entire generation of scholars whose thinking can never be the same after having encountered the writings of these pioneers.”

“Clearly, the STF has had a significant impact on the campus by raising the University’s visibility among scholars and academics interested in social theory. As one senior faculty member put it in a letter solicited by the DPC: “In addition to the creation of intellectual spaces that enable students, faculty, and community and cultural workers to engage contemporary challenges the world is currently facing, the high caliber and quality of invited speakers has positioned the University as a leader among peer institutions that are concerned with transformative critical cross-disciplinary theory and practice. I lecture extensively at universities both in the United States and abroad and, in many occasions, I have met individuals that identify the University of Massachusetts Boston with the Social Theory Forum. This is not a small feat given the competitive market the University finds itself in, surrounded by highly rich and prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT, Tufts, among others. This recognition would not have been achieved without Professor Tamdgidi’s vision, intellectual rigor, and commitment to democracy and social change. … (His work) has, in my view, energized the University community in ways that render (its) intellectual and scholarly endeavors more relevant.”

“It is also important to note that inclusive nature of the STF has also promoted the active involvement of UMB students at the conference. According to one faculty letter, STF conference attendees particularly appreciated Professor Tamdgidi’s “commitment to involving student voices in the conference. The panels he composes bring together senior scholars, junior faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students, from UMass Boston and institutions around the country and internationally.” Another letter of support from a CLA department chair described how three outstanding undergraduate students from her department organized their own panel with the assistance of their professor. The chair notes it was “a huge thrill” for the instructor and “the entire department to see our undergraduates ‘perform’ at such a high level at this impressive conference.”

“”As most everyone here is aware, the centerpiece of Professor Tamdgidi’s service has been the organization and staging of four Social Theory Forums, the first centered around Freire, the second Said, the third Anzaldua, and the fourth Fanon, and the attendant editing and publishing of the proceedings in special double issues of HA [Human Architecture], two of them running to four hundred pages. The forums each took place over several days, each involved scholars from here and from other Universities in and well beyond the Boston area. These have helped to put UMass Boston on a larger map, and have brought many scholars and students here into a closer intellectual and collegial community. Had Professor Tamdgidi not said one word at the Forums, or written one word for or about them, these efforts involved a staggering amount of work. But of course he did speak at the Forums, wrote essays and then turned to the prodigious task of editing the proceedings and publishing the results in a remarkably timely fashion. Professor Tamdgidi’s Personal Statement alludes to his having acquired during his years at Binghamton practical knowledge of the graphics and printing trades. He has clearly put his skills to fine use.”

“Dear Mohammad: I hope this note finds you in great health and spirit. Thank you for always remembering to send me the latest issues of Human Architecture (volume VIII 2010). I appreciate your contribution to building this great Public Research University—The University of Massachusetts Boston. … ”

“… You continued your ongoing work as editor of the journal Human Architecture, and you brought to completion several co-edited issues of the same (in print and online versions) on subjects as diverse as the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Islamophobia, Latin American migrations and identities, anti-Semitism, and transformative teaching practices. I appreciate that the work of these special issues requires care and attention, and a significant investment of time. … You have much to be proud of in these diverse and significant sabbatical accomplishments. We are fortunate to have faculty such as you who care deeply about the university’s academic mission and who are equally committed to the production of new knowledge and to serving students in their intellectual aspirations. …”

“Prof. Tamdgidi: … I wanted to thank you for letting me write about this topic which has led me to think more of my problem and to try and seek help for my own health. I believe your class was very interesting and I hope to see you next semester sometimes. This class has really made a change in my life, maybe is nothing for you but for me was an encounter with my self. Have a good vacation. …”

“Professor Tamdgidi: I just wanted to say thank you for this semester. I learned so much and enjoyed our class. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or heard any songs from RENT, a Broadway musical, but there is one in particular that I have loved since I first heard it at age 12 or 13. I think it has a lot to do with what you’ve tried to teach us, and I just wanted to share the lyrics with you. Thank you again, and good luck with everything you do. …

The heart may freeze or it can burn. The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future, there is no past, I live this moment as my last
There’s only us, there’s only this, forget regret, or life is yours to miss
No other road, no other way. No day but today
There’s only us, only tonight, we must let go to know what’s right
No other course, no other way. No day but today.
I can’t control my destiny
I trust my soul, my only goal is just to be
There’s only now, there’s only here
Give in to love, or live in fear
No other path, no other way
No day but today.”

“Hi Professor: Thanks so much for your thoughtful feedback on my paper. … Thanks for your help and direction. You are a wonderful mentor whom I hope for more connection with as my studies progress. The work you are doing with the journal and your teaching is impressive, life changing stuff! Thanks for working with me on this. I know the process will be important in my personal development.”

“[Tamdgidi] is never tired to meet students, given explanation and advices. He shows great respect for students’ own ideas and points of view. A great part of my self motivation comes from his ability to persuade me to be more confident in pursing my goal …”

“He developed a thoughtful adn appropriate course syllabus that ensured students from a variety of educational backgrounds were engaged, learned the necessary material, and were able to contribute in a meaningful way in discussions and in writings … I learned a great deal, not just the nuts an bolts of different theoretical frameworks, but how to apply different theoretical perspectives to different situations and problems.”

“I enjoyed his class lectures, group discussions, and debates. He allowed me, as a shy person, to open up to the class in a non-threatening environment. He is organized, and has a gift to work with his students. He is a very knowledgeable professor, and taught me so much. I strongly recommend Professor Tamdgidi for this promotion. He is over-qualified.”

“[Tamdgidi] challenged us to view sociology not simply as something [out there] but also as a tool that can be applied to ourselves … Professor Tamdgidi’s classroom structure stimulated discussion and debate … This arrangement brought each student into the fold, actively participating in the conversation. … Additionally, professor Tamdgidi was always responsive to any questions or concerns that I had, whether they were about a specific assignment or about more general theoretical issues. He had an approachable and affable manner, which extended beyond the classroom setting. He maintained an open door policy in order to meet his students’ needs.”

“He sought actively to bring people into dialogue with each other, and through that dialogue to go beyond the particular perspectives they as individuals brought. He himself was a paragon of that process … he engaged the individuals at the conference beyond their presentations with extreme insight and intelligence … In general there is an elegance in his thought and the way he argues points or discusses issues that is refreshing. It is evidenced in his writing as well; I have read Advanced Utopistics and a number of his articles. They are a pleasure to read.”

“The learning environment was outstanding for an upper level course, where the size of class was almost 30 … I enjoyed being able to ask questions and felt the freedom to do so … Dr. Tamdgidi very much was able to recognize what students did not understand well, where his keen ability for posing questions was evident.”

“After my first class, I was hooked. … There is no professor more deserving of tenure. Tamdgidi was the single most influential person during my career at the university. … Tamdgidi uses a combination of teaching methods to create a unique and dynamic classroom environment. He has a gift for finding a delicate balance between teacher talk time and student discussion … He honors each person’s ability to contribute, discuss, disagree, question, and challenge. … He is at once completely professional, friendly, and accessible … With him I learned to view life as the classroom.”

“[Tamdgidi] helped bring me to push myself academically at a time when I did not think that I had it in me to do. It was hard for me to believe that I could do some of the things he was asking us to do in class when I had tried and failed in school several times before in my life … When we first went over Professor Tamdgidi’s syllabus I was astounded by the fact we had a paper that was due at the end of the semester that had to be close to twenty pages and had to go through several drafts … He not only encouraged my writings on the subject [of addiction] he gave me confidence I had been lacking in my life since I had decided to change it … By the time the semester was over I was raising my hand to the point of annoyance I think to other students … Professor Tamdgidi may or may not know it but he made a difference in my life and for that I am eternally grateful.”

“Several letters from UMass Boston faculty and professional staff attest to the quality of Professor Tamdgidi’s contributions to these college and university committees. For example from the co-chair of the … Library director search committee summarized his contribution to the committee as follows: “(T)he decision to place him on the committee was well rewarded. His dedication, insights, and helpful exchanges during deliberations were superb.” A letter from the Chair of the Fellowships Committee similarly noted: “By every measure, Professor Tamdgidi’s contributions to (the Fellowship Committee) stand out for their excellence …”

“One thing that impressed me most about Behrooz is his vast knowledge in areas in and out his sphere. Sometimes in reviewing applications from students for individual majors, the members might suggest that the student add another course to make his proposal more rounded. Behrooz would go one step further and give a list of appropriate courses, regardless of the topic, from which student could choose. He followed up on discussions by providing us with relevant facts and pertinent information. He listened as such as he spoke … When it was time to rotate the position of chair, it was a unanimous decision. Behrooz accepted gratefully and humbly, fitting into the role (as chair) as if he had been born into it. As coordinator of this committee, it is a pleasure working for and with him.”

“In regard to Behrooz’s work on the MHSP Committee, we note a final letter of support from a department chair who appraised his efforts as the committee chair in guiding the department’s conversion from a program to a minor. The department chair wrote: “Professor Tamdgidi at each step of the (conversion) process was remarkably attentive to all the relevant details that I myself had missed concerning the new criteria for CLA minors (and I pride myself on being a detailed-oriented person!) … Professor Tamdgidi has the perfect combination of conscientiousness, meticulousness, efficiency, and the human touch that makes him such an honor to work with … In conclusion, my experiences with Professor Tamdgidi have revealed an exemplary level of service on his part, both to my Department and to the College. On the general principle that people tend to work harder when they know their work is tended to with care and is appreciated, I can state unequivocally that Professor Tamdgidi had just that motivating impact on me.”

“Another professor of mine … recently liked a piece that I had written concerning love, conformity and social psychology. She said it would be a good contribution to show how interdisciplinary approaches provide opportunity for deeper insights. She told me that you publish a sociology journal of student writing every year and thought that I should run the piece by you. I write all the time, but I am not as confident about my writing as my professor is …”

“I really enjoyed your class and I’m very glad I had the opportunity to take it this semester. I think that you are a wonderful professor and that you have an excellent teaching method. I very much liked the way in which the class was structured for discussion. I also liked the fact that you incorporated film into the class. The films seemed to help and further extend the point of some of the major theories. Finally, I really liked the final paper that you had us write. It was a great way to explore some inner, personal issues, that for me personally, I would have never taken the time to do. It was definitely a therapeutic experience. …”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for this paper assignment. I learned so much about myself and the world we live in from asking questions that had i not taken this class with you i may had never asked. You have given me a sense of awakening.”

“Dear Prof. Tamdgidi, I was reading some of the pass students papers and I am very impressed and want to use them as guidelines and references. The papers are very captivating and moving; I feel as I want to raise to the level and do even better; from the intro to the body papers Claudia’s paper was very breathtaking i did not want to let go. Hooped Dreams is also another powerful and moving piece which I hope that i can use as a guideline for my paper as well. This two papers motivate me to doing excellent work; now i see to what degree of explorations you want us to pursue.”

“I am a sociology minor, and as a requirement for my minor, I have to take this class. So it was inevitable that as long as I wanted to have sociology minor, at some point before I graduated, I would need to take this class. On the first day of class I came and sat down. I looked around; I didn’t really recognize anyone else. I liked that the class was pretty small, and it fit into my schedule perfectly. You gave an introduction to the class and told us all about yourself and how you like to conduct your classes. You came across as one of those teachers that really enjoy teaching. You went over some of your rules, all of which I thought were very reasonable and fair, but also well thought out and in particular designed to help us get the most out of your class, and to do the best. I listened to a few of the other students talk and relate social theory to their outside lives and their other classes. You handed a sheet around for us to fill out. That always makes me feel like the professor is a good one, because he/she wants “our” feedback. It makes me feel like the professor really wants to get a sense of who you, the individual are, and also who we, the class are. It’s just one of those things that stand out to me, that the professor went out of his/her way to make these questionnaires, to better get to know me and to better teach me. I really thought to myself that was going to really get a lot out of this class and that I was going to enjoy it … until I saw that one of the assignments was to write a 15 pages paper! The moment I saw that all bets were off and I was going to drop this class as fast as I could. Why is that? I had heard that another professor teaches this same course in the spring, and he is “so easy.” So I rationalized that I could just take this course in the spring instead. However, this bothered me. How come I was going to give up on this class before I even tried? I had never written a 15 page academic paper before, but it didn’t mean that I couldn’t. How would I know unless I tried? Why was I going to quit before I even tried? How come I wanted to take the “easy way out”? How would I ever grow, if I didn’t want to challenge myself? It bothered me that I was going to quit a class that I had initially thought I would really enjoy, because it required me to do something that I had never done before., it would require me to challenge myself. I really started thinking about this, and it became clear that I had done this with a lot of things. I always look for the “easy way out.” Is this because I don’t believe in myself or my capabilities? Is this because I have some form of low self-esteem” Is this because I am practical, looking for an easier route to take? I decided to stay in this class because you said we have to challenge our habitual ways of thinking, and so I am. My habitual response would have been to find the easy way out, and quit, but I am challenging that and challenging myself. But how come I try the easy way out? Why do I risk not growing, just to save myself a headache? I do well in school and don’t consider myself lazy, but in a number of situations I try to find the path of least resistance and not the path that will be the most beneficial to me? I was thinking of further developing this idea and trying to use it as a topic for my paper. I was hoping you could help me link it to some sociological concepts and help me develop the topic more. You told us to think hard about a title and that may lead us in the right direction and I was thinking of, “why do I say I can’t, before I say I’ll try?” This may not be a “deep” enough topic, but I thought it had some potential.”

“I’ve found that this course has helped me to better understand myself and my surroundings while stimulating change and acceptance. … This seminar has both taught me to practice my writing more often and made me more critical about my arguments which improved my writing as a whole. Through reading Pennebaker and various case studies [in Cahill/Sandstrom], I’ve become better able to grasp authors’ ideas, question them, and critically analyze them. All of this mainly because I am now aware of our bias and the impossibility of “taking yourself out” of a paper.”

“I was surprised to find that all the assigned readings thus far have been interesting. Also, they’ve been helpful in writing our essay. I’ve also enjoyed the films we’ve watched. I felt extremely uncomfortable with my individual presentation topic, but I still found it to have really important concepts. All the writing assignments have been helpful in improving my writing. I wasn’t in school for a while, so the writing practice is beneficial to me. … I really appreciate how you’ve told the class not to judge others or feel judged for being late. Sometimes in a class I feel I shouldn’t bother going when I’m late because I don’t want to be judged.”

“This course is very helpful by truly allowing us the students express our opinions and to discuss them in a safe, understanding environment. There is always an open space to participate, and it is something I have not always experienced in other classes. I feel that because everything is so open for discussion I have been able to open up more, and voice my opinion. … I have always had a problem with not being opinionated enough in some of my papers, but in this course I have found that my opinion is more encouraged in my writing. I feel that this has translated to my other classes in which I have been able to formulate more strongly supported opinions on the subjects at hand. This course has helped me to critically think about texts because in this course I have been able to make more connections between the readings and how they relate to everyday social life.”

“I found the readings both interesting and stimulating. The paper due in class have been challenging, but helpful as well. Through this class, I have learned how to navigate the Healey Library webpage and online resources such as SocIndex. In this course, unlike my others (or, at least, far more frequently than the other courses), I ‘ve had to confront my nervousness when talking to the class and expressing my feelings. I always feel comfortable doing so now.”

“I find this course interesting, challenging, stimulating and very helpful because it teaches me how personal and inner problems relate with the world and the bigger picture. It opens my mind and gives me a better understanding of myself as well. I have not found this course disappointing, frustrating, boring, or negative. On the opposite, this course is very exciting and keeps me engaged in it. I believe it has improved my writing in different ways. For instance, it taught me to proofread more than once, not in the same day. … The readings as well as films we watch are so interesting, that it is hard not to want to continue reading. … It has helped me to speak comfortably and effectively in a group tremendously because I feel that even if some of my classmates didn’t share my point of view, they’d still respect it. I feel confident in speaking to a group. … I believe the learning experience gotten from this subject is already amazing and it’s something I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. … I believe the course is great the way it is being taught. All the interesting readings, clear explanations from the professor, the engaging films and so forth are what make me love this class.”

“I learn to really understand my self as an individual and also as part of society and to understand why I do things that just reflect our human nature. I like it for the most part because I think the teacher is very approachable and easy to talk to. I have nothing bad to say. … I really like this class!!”

“This class has definitely opened my mind and allowed me to think outside the box in a well-structured manner. I feel it has also allowed me to be expressive in class.”

“I have learned that the whole “5-paragraph essay” and “don’t use ‘I'” rules from high school do not apply any more and because of that I am able to write more. … Through readings I have developed a better understanding of authors’ ideas because I am no longer just looking at facts, it is more about how it applies to me. This course introduced me to the electronic library resources and databases and I am more comfortable using them. … He is very open-minded and always guides us in the right direction when we start to get off topic. I don’t think he should change.”

“The readings have been presented in informative ways and having printed summaries of each chapter has been extremely helpful. The films we watch are directly relevant to what we’re studying. Class discussions tend to be interesting (at least when the class participates). There have not been elements of the course that I thought were in any way detrimental to my studies. This class has provided a very positive experience.”

“The course is really interesting to me because it opens up a door to a whole different world, a world that I’v never stopped to think about. It challenges me to think differently, have an open mind about different aspects of the world and our mind. I honestly like everything about the class. I like how the presentations are set up. It gives us a chance to discuss what we’re learning. It has helped me improve my writing by using richer vocab. and it has challenged me to explain myself w/ examples so the reader can understand what I’m explaining. … He opens up the topic to the bigger world and makes us think outside our little box. I ❤ sociology and all the new info I’m learning about people and myself. I feel smarter and smarter after every class :)”

“The teacher already has made this a great learning experience for me. I don’t know how else to make it better or what else to add.”

“How we analyze the “selves,” thoughts, emotions, situations, relationships, interactions, and experiences. It opens my mind to a lot of new concepts and ideas about others and myself as well. … This class is nearly perfect! The professor does a great job with how he sets up the readings, presentations, class discussions, papers, and movies. Well balanced. The course is simple but very complex. I appreciate this because I get a lot out of this class, but I don’t become overwhelmed like I often do in my other classes. I also appreciate how the professor allows us to make up the lost credit for the days we missed or late assignments. This is one of the most meaningful classes I’ve taken. Thank you!

“The topics discussed in this class positively influence my thoughts on the self in society. The material read and even films seen have been interesting and engaging. It has been a challenge to reflect on my self but worth it. I have become much more self-reflective in my writing and used my view of myself to help me progress as a writer. The course has helped me question ideas because of the constant mind-opening topics I learn everyday that help me cope with life.

“Professor Tamdgidi: I am glad that I am in your class. I really like how the course is set up, and I look forward to continue attending your interesting and positive sociology class. Thank you.”

“I found this course to be one of my most interesting courses because it was easy to relate to and understand the topics we discussed. … I really loved this class, the content and discussions.”

“Interesting discussions were always enjoyable and some topics I have always wondered about. … The professor’s insight always clarified complex concepts.”

“I love sociology and the teacher allowed us to have class discussions where we spoke freely. … You have been wonderful!”

“I like how open this class is. The conversations are always interesting and inviting for everyone to voice their opinions. … this course is A+!”

“The multitude of concepts learned in this class and how they are presented in class and text have opened my eyes to the world of sociology/psychology. It relates to the individual very well. …From reading a myriad of concepts, I have begun to challenge, adapt, or create my own sociological thoughts. My final paper really helps me analyze concepts in different ways, specifically to personal issues. I can understand them using different lenses.”

“I didn’t know much about sociology and after taking this class, which I’m in love with, I want to minor in it. It’s a stress-free class but the one class that teaches me the most. … It helps me read more carefully, because after reading it, I like to connect issues to my own life experience. … You’re amazing!”

“This course has helped me play devil’s advocate. Makes me question what the author says. … Love this class! Free speech!”

“I have found the ideas in this course make me think about the way I live my life on a daily basis. It has also helped me improve my writing skills as a student. … I have learned to be a more selective reader and differentiate main ideas from larger parts.”

“I have found it interesting because I am seeing things I have not seen before, a new perspective, that I can use for many things in life as well as school.

“Yes, I’m planning on it, looking forward to it! Thanks for the opportunity. You have influenced me to want to teach. I think in my written application, I mentioned I wanted to know what its like from the other side of the classroom. I shied away from the idea of teaching because I couldn’t fathom the grading, papers and tests. But you’ve given me a good look, and I’d like to talk to you more, about what its like. I am extremely interested in pursuing becoming a professor. :)”

“I just wanted to let you know that it was a pleasure having your class. You are a very wonderful Professor and you are extremely great at teaching sociology.”

“I appreciate the positive influence you’ve had on my academic and personal growth. And I have seen how you try to influence other students – you do great work.”

“Dear Behrooz: Most students clearly stated that their writing and critical thinking had improved. Several, especially #s 4, 8, and 15 wrote that they learned to think sociologically, and in particular, learned to think more tolerantly. In my reading of these self-assessments, that type of attention to a seminar’s method or focus is a sign of the depth of the students’ engagement. Please accept my thanks for your contribution to these students. ”

“Behrooz, I’m putting the self-evaluations from the fall seminars in the campus mail to you Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the weather. Particularly in section 3, students are very clear on your contribution to the their education—your thoughtfulness, and the values you represent: open-mindedness and kindness. Certainly they are clear on the improvement in their critical thinking and writing, their use of databases and their ability to think through concepts and situations. But your personal contribution is quite striking. These should provide a type of affirmation of your work as you begin your retirement. Let me send my best wishes and thanks for your contribution over the years to the students and to the first-year seminar program. With best wishes …” (1/21/14)

“Dear Behrooz: I’m putting into the campus mail the students’ self-assessments from the two sections of “Insiders and Outsiders.” Many students report improvement in their writing, but I was struck by a number in both sections that wrote that they learned to see things from multiple perspectives, integrate multiple sources, and incorporate multiple viewpoints into their writing. This is unusual in student self-assessments that I have read, and certainly appreciated! A number of the self-assessments mention that your seminar enabled them to think like sociologists. For example, @2: when asked what improvements in writing and thinking the seminar brought, the student wrote, “I brought more insight to my analyzing because now I can analyze things from the Sociological perspective.” Certainly one of the first desiderata that … and the other designers had in mind was for the students to gain a sense of disciplines approach the world: this was the justification for having the seminars taught by faculty deeply involved in their disciplines. Several of your students seemed to have taken the point! I don’t see anything to raise—please accept my thanks, again after the fall term, for the contribution you make to our students’ development.” (2/5/13)

“Dear Behrooz: … In two three sections during the year, every—every– student reported the development of capacities for critical thinking and writing. Most notably, many students in each section reported a new understanding of their relation to the world. Many reported development of capacities as researchers. They appreciated their student mentors’ friendship and support, and certainly appreciated you as a teacher. They found the course to be a wonderful experience. The comments of one student (in the spring term) gathers what I found in the group: “It has strengthened my ability to read material and incorporate it into my writing through citations . . . [The seminars instruction in library and information technology] “opened a new door for me as far as research is concerned. I had never used the online library before this semester.” [The experience that taught the student the most was] “my self-reflective paper. I not only learned about sociology but about myself as well.” [And finally] “Professor Tamdgidi had a great and positive impact on me. He has opened up a whole new world to me that I didn’t know was there before.” Please accept my thanks for the contribution you make to our students’ development.” (8/28/12)

“Dear Behrooz: As I read your set, many students appreciated the opportunity they had—and that they took—to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing capabilities. Several students wrote in particular that your seminar allowed them to think about issues that had concerned them for some time, and to begin to think deeply about tolerance. There was appreciation for you as their teacher, for your student mentor, and for the academic advisor. I found nothing in the set that would warrant particular attention at this point. Please accept my thanks for your contribution to the development of our students, and to the first-year seminar program.” (9/6/11)

“Dear Behrooz: I find them rich and interesting: students report that they “love Sociology,” that they’re writing improved, that they learned to be more open in class discussions—that they found the library visits helpful and the mentor “awesome” and personable. Many reported that their ability to do research writing improved. One wrote that the course taught him not to write “off topic.” another, not to procrastinate. “The who experience of this class taught me how to critically analyze the socially constructed world around me,” one student wrote. The same student wrote in response to the question, “What will you differently, as a result of this course?”–”I don’t know . . . look at the world differently.” The student found the class “awesome” and “so was Prof. Tamdgidi and the class mentor.” These student self-assessments indicate that the seminar was very successful—please accept my thanks for your contribution to the students’ development, and to the first-year seminar program.” (1/13/11)

“In all honesty, I don’t really know how to thank you for not only providing such a welcoming and understanding space inside and outside the classroom, sharing such powerful life experiences with me and the class (which I’m sure many learned a great deal from- I most certainly did) and for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to be in your class and expand my role as a mentor; but also for the tremendous amount of support that you gave me today at the debriefing. I felt so much pride sitting next to you. Seeing and hearing the feedback that you provided for the other professors and (big wigs), looking at the break down that you had about what a “capable student” is and bringing the sociological and real questions to the table that made people think and become aware of what we were really talking about. Not only did that make me proud to be seated with you and to have worked with you this semester, but it made me so proud to be a Sociology student who was able to understand why hearing this and having it out in the open was so important. My heart swelled that whole time. And also that you were not afraid to voice your valid concerns, suggestions, and opinions; but that you also supported mine as well. I felt that without you there they may have received me in an even more awkward and rebellious light than they already might have. I can not put words to my unconditional gratitude to you. I was shaking the whole time I was in there, because it’s hard coming into college and learning that you have to advocate for yourself in many ways, but you most definitely “had my back” today. And it is humbling to have met you and learned from you, and watch you set the bar about what it really means to be an mindful educator and a mentor all in the same. Not to mention someone who is not afraid to challenge the system and do it with such sophistication, accuracy, relevancy, and tact. Once again, I’d like to give you a HUGE thank you. And even then…I don’t feel its enough. With much respect and admiration…”

“It has been a pleasure knowing you. This paper has been a breakthrough for me in my journey to mend the past and the relationship with my mother. Although it was a difficult topic to write and i found myself avoiding it as i have been avoiding to deal with the problem. At time, i wanted to give up but I’m glad i didn’t. I found myself at peace after i finished the last page. If there is one thing i learned from this course it would be the power of healing in writing. I am grateful that God has put you in my life to help me change the things i couldn’t on my own. I really enjoyed our discussions I cannot wait to see the improvement this will bring to my life. I am hoping the revise the final paper after i get the feedback from you and let my mother read it. Maybe it would help her to understand me a bit better.”

“I just want to let you know how much your class aided me in my struggle with public speaking and the acceptance of myself. I still have a hard time accepting myself, but it isn’t as bad as before attending your class. It felt great that I got such a positive response from the students, which was shocking to me because I was never accepted and people never responded to me positively before. Having the students accept me is just a step in me accepting myself. I never speak up in any of my other classes, if you check the first questionnaire that you gave us, I was 1 of 2 people who voted for a lecture because I was that afraid of discussions but now the anxiety has decreased a bit. Thank you so much. ”

“It’s been two busy years since I took your Sociological Theory course. I’ve been working for Boston Public Schools for the past year and I finally finished my bachelor’s in December. Your unique approach to teaching has helped me both academically and personally. The paper you assigned has proven to be invaluable. After exploring my decision to chose a helping profession I feel comfortable and confident in my chosen career, teaching. More importantly, I am continuing to use my sociological imagination as a tool to understand my relationship with myself and others.”

” I really appreciate what you have done for me. I enjoyed the class very much and enjoyed the readings as well. I am glad you said what you said this morning about noticing efforts and participation through student papers rather than speaking in class. You are a very insightful, passionate, and pleasant professor. I will recommend anyone to take your class. Maybe you will see me again. Good luck and have a great summer!.”

Student Advisor: ” Your syllabus is very complete and impressive.”

“Thank you for a great semester! You really are a special teacher. Thank you!”

“Prof. Tamdgidi: just wanted to say that I’ll miss our class! ”

“You’re the best Prof. Tamdgidi! Thank you so much for a wonderful class and I look forward to seeing more of you next semester! I will be sure to stop by your office hours to discuss my grad school application process and other worldly issues! :0)”

“Professor Tamdgidi, Thank you so much your the extra time to complete this paper. This paper was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my academic career.”

“… I finished my paper! I want to thank you so much for all of your time, efforts and patience with me. This was one if not the hardest thing I have ever had to do but am so pleased I have accomplished it.”

“Hi. I took your course at Binghamton University back in 1997. I will never forget how amazing a time I had. We each were to write an essay on a topic of our choosing, and you published a book of selected essays. Mine was titled, “Motivation, Self, and Society : An Exploration”. You included my essay in the book. I am sure you have had many students since, and do not expect you to remember me, but I will always remember you as one of the most warm, thoughtful, innovative human beings I have come across. … You have triggered the spark of genius in many students.”

“I really want to thank you for talking me into taking this class, when I was planning to drop it. You helped me learn about my anxiety problem, which I didn’t really look into until taking this class. You may not know it, but you have helped me a lot.”

“This assignment was a great deal of help to me and I thank you very much, and hope that future classes you teach will be affected as much as I was.”

“I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I wanted to drop you a hello this many years after I’ve graduated from UMass and all! I am actually writing you eight months before I graduate from my doctorate program in Clinical Psychology, believe it or not, and I do believe that a lot of what I got in your class has helped me navigate through the program I am in now, which is at C.S.P.P./Alliant International University, so it’s based on a very multicultural model. In fact, a lot of the personal growth that I have gone through while here has made a lot of the ideas and movies that once seemed ludicrous to me seem much more interesting and appealing, and I am looking for a copy of Affluenza on DVD; all I have been able to find is the book thus far. I am sure I will come across it eventually though. ^_^ I am keeping fairly busy while going through this program as well; I am working my final pre-doctorate internship at California State University Northridge in the Univeristy Counseling Services department, which is fairly amazing. I am writing my doc project, which will be a presentation on clinical issues regarding gay Asian men. For money, I am split, since I work my weekends at a mental hospital running process groups, and I teach a night class through Los Angeles Valley College in Life-Span Psychology, which is very exciting, as I am trying to impart the sort of excitement that I have for the material on to the next generation of students. I feel like I am standing in front of a group of really cool people, talking about something I love to talk about when I am teaching! I hope this email finds you well. I have been enjoying being on your mailing list and seeing the fun and exciting projects that you have been advertising, and I am a bit jealous at times, because I would love to be a part of most of them, if only I wasn’t 3,000 miles away!”

“I want to take this opportunity to thank you for a wonderful semester. I want you to know that writing this paper was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. Through this paper, class and therapy it has helped me cope with the death of my father and find my inner self. I could not have done it without you. The class was great and extremely helpful. I hope that my paper is what you are looking for, I must say it was very difficult to do, so I’m in hopes that I covered if not all some of what the class required.”

“Dear Mohammad: Thank you for presenting at the Annual Conference on Teaching for Transformation sponsored by the Center for the Improvement of Teaching (CIT) at the University of Massachusetts Boston on January 21, 2005. This year’s conference drew more than 120 participants from colleges and programs in the New England area, and evaluations reflected participants’ appreciation for the rich, informative, and varied sessions. Your presentation, “Evaluating Student Evaluations: Toward More Effective Strategies for Evaluating Faculty Teaching,” contributed to the success of the conference and helped extend CIT’s mission to promote high quality, inclusive teaching. One participant at your session, for example, commented that the session provided a “great discussion of student evaluation instruments” and “an excellent exchange of ideas.” We are grateful for your valuable contribution and hope you will consider presenting again at a future CIT Conference.”

“Dear Mohammad: Thank you for presenting at the Spring 2005 CIT Forum on “Teaching Students with Different Levels of Preparation in the Same Classroom.” This issue continues to be a challenge for all of us teaching at an urban institution such as UMass Boston. Your thoughtful comments about why you are committed to inclusive teaching and your discussion about the multiple opportunities you provide so that all students can engage the course material and one another contributed to a provocative dialogue on the importance of promoting this kind of teaching and learning. And because your panel consisted of individuals from different disciplines, your session represented a powerful demonstration of the benefits of interdisciplinary collaborations of this sort. Thank you again for your contribution to the forum.”

“I just finished reading Human Architecture. I want to extend my deepest thanks for your amazing work in putting together this journal. It was a deeply enriching experience to read through the students reflective writing and the articles that both you and … contributed. I was impressed with the range of issues covered in this edition — Substance abuse, ethnic/religious identity, gender issues, cultural assimilation – a plethora of the most important issues we face. During my first semester at UMB, I took an introductory English class that placed great emphasis on peer editing. This was one of the most exciting classes I took that semester. I absolutely loved reading other students’ writing and was always amazed to see the level of passion and commitment students put into their work. The most poignant pieces in that class were very similar to the articles in Human Architecture – writing pertaining to people’s most challenging, personal, and emotionally engaging issues. A good friend of mine wrote about kicking his heroin habit, another friend wrote about his experience as a refugee – These stories – like the stories published in this journal – drew me as close as I could be with the writing. I was intrigued by each student’s work to incorporate sociological concepts and see their relation to them in the realm of praxis. It was wonderful to see student’s taking concepts that often stay fixed in an abstract and theoretical realm and to apply them to the stories they know best – their own. … Above all, the quality of the writing and the reflection students display in this journal is amazing. With each sentence you can see the level of effort and time people put into their work. … I think a lot is to be learned with student’s insight/reflection and that the example you have set with this journal is a model from which can all learn from. I would love any information/documents you have related to this workshop. It is a great topic and I am curious to see the course it took. Behrooz, I thank you again for sharing this journal with me. It has been a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to continued work on this project …”

“He was able to get me to finally take or seek action for a personal issue.”

“Outstanding, …. It stimulated my thinking and encouraged me to criticize certain [of my] behaviors.”

“Professor knows subject matter better than any professor I’ve ever had … always well-prepared.”

“He has an extensive knowledge on social theory … Yes, he promoted class participation … He was always well-prepared.”

“Excellent grasp of subject matter … outstanding …. Yes, encouraged dialogue … Very successful. Thank you for making the class stimulating and interesting. Very fair. Thank you for the fair criticism on my paper and for encouraging me to deepen my inquiry on self and life. Excellent class. The school should have more instructors like Prof. Tamdgidi; challenging but it is worth it. [What I liked best about the course were] his lecture format and tying self and the global and the films that were viewed in class.”

“Outstanding, always well-prepared. … This class goes well beyond a class at UMass. It’s a course that will travel with me throughout life.”

“Excellent above and beyond… Always prepared… I found the whole semester was stimulating… Would take another class w/ this instructor.”

“He was open to meet anytime and went to his office hours. He was helpful.”

“Excellent. His lectures were jam-packed with relevant info…. Excellent–he explained everything fully and clearly… Always well-prepared… Very successful [in stimulating interest]… The reading was heavy, however we only met once a week so considering that makes a difference. Most of the readings were from very educated sociologists so some of it was a bit advanced for me. Very fair and somewhat lenient. It is an excellent course. Truly perked my interest in sociology.[What I liked best about the course were] the Prof.’s lectures. They were very stimulating.”

“Excellent understanding of the subject matter, able to access other important information and link to the class discussion.[What I liked best about the course were] the teacher and structure of the course work.”

“Excellent… It was a great learning experience.”

“He was extremely fair & gave opportunities to better our grades. [What I liked best about the course was] linking the movies to theories we learned in class.”

“Behrooz, … Last week I finally picked up the journal! Muchas gracias. I read the first article, by Ayan Ahmed … what a great essay. I am looking forward to reading the rest.”

“Dear Behrooz, thanks for the notice — and publishing my work! Now I can say I’m a published author. Thank you for opening up my eyes to see beyond my own little world. Thanks for teaching me so well.”

“Professor, I was truly surprised to get your email because I was not that happy with my paper upon handing it in; I actually believed that you made a mistake.  I am very happy that you thought so highly of it because due to either more clarity from not editing it for hours, or due to your compliments (more likely), I am actually kind of proud of it now. … Please know that I was a little skeptical about putting it in the journal, and when I decided that I would I debated on a pen name.  I realized that doing either of these things would be a large step backward however, and you are partly to thank for that.  I thank you for your openness with me while I was writing this paper and also for making me feel extremely comfortable in the process.  I don’t think that I could have been so emotional with my writing had it not been you that would be reading it. (I finally allowed —- to read it last night; she was impressed (even though she understood little of the theories) and was very happy when I decided to submit it for the journal).”

“… I wanted to thank you for a great semester. I had a good time in your class and learned a lot. I went into that class thinking it was going to be boring and I would just get it out of the way and I left having really enjoyed it and coming away with more than I thought I would.”

“I have truly enjoyed the class and the journey I have gone through writing this paper.”

“Thank you very much for the great semester. I was very skeptical of the class in the beginning, but you did an excellent job in helping me get through the tough topics. Thank you.”

“I would like to thank you for this semester, it has truly been inspirational. I just wanted you to know that I have enjoyed the format of the class, and although I thought that it was going to be impossible, it was possible. I would also like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to write about a topic that we cared about because if I had not, I would have never truly understood the complexity of my situation. Thank you again …”

“I need up to 4-5 sentences on your experience here as a Professor for UMASS and as to why you believe I choose you to participate. (Because you’re the best professor I ever had). I also need to find out when it best for you today, so I can take your picture which will be accessible on the web. Thanks, Professor and please respond, ASAP.”

“Thanks for a stimulating semester. I thoroughly enjoyed the class.”

“I have tried to understand Gurdjieff, reading several introductions. However, there is nothing like your excellent book! It clarifies many issues and questions I had. It is a major achievement.”

“i tracked down your article on abu ghraib from Sociological Spectrum. i was preparing a little presentation on prisons and the war on terror for a lecture series here on campus. your piece was very instructive for me. i especially appreciated how to brought such a diverse set of knowledges to bear on the problem. it’s inspiring to see rigorous historical and sociological analysis using diverse ways of knowing and being in the world. and i could feel your strong spirit come through your writing. i look forward to reading more of your work.”

“Dear Behrooz: Professor … and I have talked about asking you to join us as co-editors of a proposed new journal …. We think that your background in sociology, your wide range of talents, and your quickness in regard to making yourself cognizant of the work going on in the study of globalization, to be undertaken from an historical perspective, broadly conceived, will be invaluable as we go forward. …”

“After having known Behrooz Tamdgidi as a good friend and colleague since the early 1990s, his concept of the sociology of self-knowledge became meaningful to me in my experience of teaching over the past few years. Having become more familiar with his work over those many years, it became apparent to me he was onto something quite profound.”

Sociology Graduate Student, University of Maryland: “Dr. Tamdgidi: I am writing to you because I see you are the Editor-In-Chief of “Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge”. I’ve recently discovered this journal and I have been both fascinated by the way subjects are covered and heartened to see authors thinking about topics in ways that I find myself also thinking about. I see that the last published issue of this journal is listed as Winter of 2012 and I wanted to ask if that is, in fact, the most recent publication and, if so, if you anticipate continuing this journal. I am extremely hopeful to see more issues of this journal in the future and I would love to be of assistance if that would be helpful.” (4/17/13)

Ph.D. Candidate, Australia: “Dear Dr. Tamdgidi: I teach Introduction to Sociology to future youth workers and therapists (at …, South Australia). I have greatly appreciated discovering the reflexive student papers in the wonderful Human Architecture journal. I am very keen to pursue a similar pedagogical approach, and help students to apply the sociological imagination to their own issues and stories. … I wonder if you would be happy to share the course outline you give students for Elements of Sociological Theories, which include assessment details? Thanks for your great work … ”

Professor of Sociology, California State University: “… I only recently ran across a reference to your journal, and I would like to express my appreciation for your efforts to help fill what I think has been a huge gap in the sociological enterprise.” (4/23/10)

Faculty, Massachusetts College of Art and Design: “Thank you, Behrooz, for this helpful information on print run and distribution which I will pass on to the gallery. I also thank you for the very generous offer for the 5 copies at a reduced rate. — The journal is really an extraordinary gift to scholars and general communities.” (4/27/2010)

Professor, Rhode Island College: “[we] were editors and assistant editors of two professional journals (New York State The Outdoor Education Communicator and the New England Reading Journal) for years. We enjoyed the contributions we were making but it was work. Human Architecture is a very interesting publication. …. Take some time to enjoy our beautiful sunny days.” (4/14/2009)

Faculty, College of Charleston, South Carolina: “… I want to take the time to thank you, Behrooz, not only for publishing my essay, but also for all the work you obviously do to produce such an outstanding journal. It is really a fine, innovative and high quality accomplishment–congratulations! With my best wishes to you for the Fall…”

Faculty, University of Saskatchewan, CA: “I have a question besides the edition and this volume (if there is any chance I can collaborate with the journal). I am originally a sociologist who needed to leave the discipline after coming to North America. My intention of doing critical perspectives of sociology of religious knowledge was not well received by positivist/quantitative sociological departments. I found a place within religious studies but I still consider myself a sociologist. This is why I find your journal (that I read as a critical contribution to global political economy incorporating post-1970s radical perspectives such as post-colonial studies) very provocative. In addition I find very interesting your critical revision of the peer review business and your implosion of the limits between academia/activism and hierarchical levels of faculty/students. I am wondering if I could join you in any capacity. I am not so sure if you have an open sit in the board but I would love to collaborate in anything I can.”

UMB Faculty: “This is an extraordinary journal, rich and scintillating, challenging, brilliant, as … writes, vibrant with diverse genres and voices, and alive with the power and beauty of Darwish’s poetry in translation. … Thank you and congratulations again for your vision, your inclusive spirit and your inspiring effort” (10/6/09)

Distinguished Faculty, Temple University: “Congratulations on the three issues! They are result of enormous work and dedication.”

Faculty, Fitchburg State College: ” It has been great working with you and I am honored and delighted to be a part of the journal. I hope our paths will cross again soon.”

Copyoutlet: “Who do I contact for copyright permission. Need to reprint an article to put in a coursepack for Texas Tech University

Dr. Charlotte Dunham, Sociology 4395, 20 students, name of article : Alturism or Guilt: Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge,” author: Elizabeth McCauley, fall 2005/spring 2006 pgs. 147-156, issn 1540-5699, Thank you.”

Doctoral Candidate, U.C. Berkeley: “This essay is written from my perspective both as someone who has received teaching from Thich Nhat Hahn and who has spent time in robes in a Buddhist Monastery. I really appreciate you placing out this call for papers, as I feel that Buddhist theory has been making important contributions in the realm of psychology and neuroscience, and it is useful to bring it into sociology as well. I had a brief conversation with … about that possibility in the past, but never acted on it. So when I saw your call for papers, I was very happy to be able to create this contribution.”

Faculties, McMaster University, CA: “Please find attached our submission for Human Architecture‘s upcoming issue with regard to the ‘engaged Buddhism’ of Thich Nhat Hahn. When we first heard of your call for papers an undeniable excitement took hold and motivated us to carefully consider the importance of Hahn’s philosophy for Sociology. We anticipate reading the issue filled, we have no doubt, with exciting and promising perspectives capturing ‘comparative sociological imaginations’.”

“Your “Editor’s Note” was very touching and, frankly, I have not had very many such comments from colleagues over the years, at least, not ones with such a personal tone to them. I do appreciate it and thank you for the dedication of the issue. Incidentally, you have a really handsome journal (in every sense of the word, both physically and intellectually) and I am proud to have my little Mannheim piece in its pages. It seems to me that you have created an ideal situation—your own center and journal, where you can publish what you really want to say, rather than have to mold your ideas and forms of expression to what the “gatekeepers” of the “professional journals” want. Moreover, I think your combination of sociology and self-knowledge is really THE thing, precisely what I have always thought sociology ought to be. Moreover, you have a truly great talent for eliciting responses from students and helping them to combine an understanding of their own experiences with sociological ideas. I read the entire issue straight through the night I received it. They were all fascinating essays. I know several of the students and was particularly moved in an emotional sense by … account of her experience with speech impairment (she had been in one of my classes, so I knew her a bit). Also, “…” thoughtful writing on conspicuous conflict. (I’ll get in touch with him through the email you gave me.) …”

“Sir or Madam: A Bemidji State University student has requested a copy of an article from “Human architecture: journal of the sociology of self-knowledge“. We are unable to locate any library holdings of your journal. Are you able to supply a copy of the following citation for our student or direct us to another source? Kuong C. Ly. “Asian”: just a simple word. Volume 2, Issue 2, Fall 2003. pp. 116-121. Thank you in advance for your help.” (6/28/2006)

“Dear Dr. Tamdgidi, A student at Gettysburg College is interested in obtaining the following article published in your journal, Human Architecture: Article Title: Obsessed with Impression Management: A Critical Sociology of Body Image in Capitalist Society. Article Author: Jacobs, Michelle B. Journal Title: Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. Journal Volume: 2 (2). Journal Year: 2003. Unfortunately, we have been unable to locate a library that owns this issue of your journal. Would you be able to supply a copy of this article? With appreciation and best regards, …” (2/24/2006)

“Dear Dr. Tamdgidi: I am very interested in an article that appeared in the journal Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge. The article is called, “It’s Worth Living in the World” and appeared in volume 2, issue 1 (2003), on pages 27-33. I have tried getting hold of the journal at my university library, but was unable to do so. Could you please forward me an e-text of the article or indicate how I can obtain or purchase the journal? Thank you very much! Sincerely, …, York University, Toronto, Ontario”

“Dear Behrooz: … Congratulations on the publication of these issues. I know this represents a significant contribution on your part.”

“Dear Professor Tamdgidi: I just wanted to thank you for all of the help you have given me. It is such an honor to be published in your journal …”

“Mohammad: I’m interested in some articles from the Human Architecture journal, but Worldcat doesn’t list any libraries as having it. Where can I get reprints? I’m currently teaching a class titled self-knowledge in the Religion and Philosophy department at Roanoke College. … I’m extremely interested in both your journal and your class. I am currently teaching a class on self-knowledge at Roanoke College as part of a required series on ethics. Could you also send me your syllabus. I’ve attached mine …”

“Behrooz –It was good to see you, and to hear your wisdom about teaching to EVERYONE in the classroom. Your journal is marvelous. What a splendid idea!”

Faculty, Mount Holyoke College: “Dear Professor Tamdgidi – I very much wanted to attend the Fanon conference this past week but unfortunately wasn’t able to. I’d love to read a number of the papers in the next few months, as I’m writing a paper on Fanon for another Fanon conference in France and might want to engage with some of your conference’s writers in that piece (obviously, with attribution to both the writers and your conference). Are the papers available either on line or hard copy (I’d be happy to pay for them), or must I write to the relevant individual presenters? If the latter, do you have a list of the presenters’ email addresses? Thanks so much – the conference you helped organize looked absolutely terrific. …”

Faculty, Sonoma State University: “Just a quick note to thank you so much for all of your hard work putting on the STF conference last week. I came primarily as a student of Fanon’s work and as such I can definitely say that I learned a great deal from the speakers, the panelists, and from the many informal conversations that I had the good fortune of having during the two days. I feel very fortunate for this experience, and want to congratulate you on creating the conditions for so many meaningful moments. I look forward to our future interactions down the road. If I can be of service to you in any way at any point, please don’t hesitate to contact me.”

Faculty, Sonoma State University: “congratulations! i’d say you deserve an extended vacation. thank you for your extraordinary efforts and i look forward to seeing the forum proceedings.”

UMB Faculty: “Dear Behrooz, Thank you for everything you do to reinforce the intellectual spirit of the campus! It was a real pleasure to see the wonderful copies of the journals stacked on the conference table at Troy. The two copies of the Fanon issue you gave me at the reception are more than sufficient. If you have sent me two more, I will return them to your mailbox as soon as I get them. I think as many people as possible that want the Fanon issue should have them, and it would be a pity if you ran short of them. I am privileged to have two copies!”

Faculty, Syracuse University: [Re. STF conference on Fanon, published proceedings in Human Architecture]: “Vow! Got my copies in the mail today, Behrooz: Looks breathtaking! Thanks again,”

Faculty, Syracuse University: “Thank you very much for the copy of HA with the Fanon forum communications. It is an issue produced with (your) very good taste, very agreeable to look at and manipulate, extremely rich in its contents. It will from now on be, I am sure, an obligatory reference in social sciences. You are indeed to be highly congratulated for such a production. I really feel honored, and thank you for it from the bottom of my heart, to have something included in such a beautiful and intelligent issue. As I told you once, you are the one among us who more closely are following the steps, the example, the teachings, and the scholarship of our dear Terry Hopkins. I feel touched, but also exalted, for that. Please keep on the good work. If eventually I can be of any use, please let me know.”

UMass Boston Administrator: “I would be honored to serve on your Board. Thank you for inviting me. I hope you will send me a copy of that journal, also. You mental energy must be unlimited, given all the work in which you are engaged! Congratulations to you, and thank you for the way you are extending the profile of the University.”

Faculty, Wellesley College: “Dear Professor Tamdgidi, I want to thank you for the three copies of the summer ’07 issue of Human

Architecture. I’m pleased with the appearance and quality of the issue. And I appreciate your willingness to include my article and your

professional handling of all aspects of the publication process. It was a pleasure working with you. Thanks again. …”

“Dear Berhooz, i will certainly revise my paper and send you the paper by may 15th, but what i wanted to say is that I am enjoyed every moment of my staying at Umass, and I am so glad I came all the long way to meet such good scholars and, I hope, new friends. The forum was a success and we delighted in reading and rereading our beloved Gloria.”

“Professor Tamdgidi, I enjoyed your presentation at the Anzaldua conference. It was a very interesting event. I am currently working independently on some papers containing the ways my burgeoning theories have been influenced by Anzaldua, and some of the serendipitous things I learned from many of the speakers.”

“Dear Dr. Tamdgidi, I thank you and all your colleagues for organizing such a great conference. I feel humbled to have been part of it and grateful for the opportunity. I had to rush to the airport yesterday during the final session and therefore could not tell you this in person. The warmth that I felt at UMASS made me feel so at home. I also wanted to tell you that your paper was one of the best moments of the conference. Thank you! As I grow I will try to mirror some of your hopefulness. This was my first academic conference…so it will always be remembered fondly. Thank you again, …”

“While I will not be able to attend the conference, I am very interested in reading some of the papers that will presented. Can you inform me as to where I might be able to access these papers after the conference?”

“Wow! what a lot of WORK and Smart Thinking! shines thru on this program—-I just had coffee up here in Toronto with … — she’s so sorry that she’s not going to be able to get down to Boston for this wonderful gathering. … I’m all set for the noon, Thurs., April 6 talk — In the Ryan Lounge of the McCormack Bldg? and I’ll be trying to get to the Thurs morning panels beforehand (I’ll be flying down from Boston Wed. eve April 5). Again, thanks sooo much for including me what will be a lively gathering …”

“Dear Behrooz— you are so generous and understanding! YOU are the ideal conference organizer/thinker/colleague!”

“Hi Behrooz, This is going to be a great conference, thanks largely to your enthusiasm and openness and hard work!”

“Dear Prof. Tamdgidi: Thank you very much for your very kind and generous way of carrying on the Forum. I really enjoyed it.”

“Dear Professor Tamdgidi: I enjoyed meeting you and participating in the Social Theory Forum last week. Thank you for all of your efforts to make participants feel welcome and to encourage a lively intellectual exchange.”

“Any case, I do want to say that it was a pleasure to present my research at the 2nd Annual Social Theory Forum. I am so glad to have met you; you seem like a good-hearted person. I also want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to present my work. I hope to see you around more in the future at UMass-Boston.”

“Dear Mohammad Tamdgidi: In conversation recently with …, I told her that I was working on a grant proposal and since I had never done one before I needed some guidance. She said that I should contact you because you have been behind the Social Theory conference on campus, which has been very successful.”

“STF 2005 turned out to be a really fantastic conference. I was really happy to see that you built on the successes of last year. I look forward to seeing next year’s topic!”

“Dear Prof. Tamdgidi, I want to thank you for a wonderfully organized and inspiring conference experience. I found everyone I met at

UMB very helpful and enjoyed all the panels I attended. Undoubtedly, my conference participation will influence my career in ways I intend as well as those that remain unknown. Because of the depth and passion of scholarship presented, I am revisiting my work applying Anzaldua as well as reflecting on other on-going projects. I am honored to have been a part of such a very special and meaningful conference. …”

“Again thank you so much for all your enormous work for the conference and now for this publication consideration.”

“Thank you! This seems to you an exceptionally efficient operation. I look forward to reading the papers, because–as

you know–I had to leave for Washington, after my brief presentation.”

“I know how hard you worked to organize the conference, and never for one moment did I question your deepest commitment to every one of us– faculty, students, staff, and visitors alike.”

“Always saying hello. There are some professors who have a seriously strong influence on their students. These individuals leave a certain imprint that never quite leaves a person. They become a slightly salient voice in a person’s social structure (intrapersonal). That is the reason that I am writing to you now… You have provided a different structure for me to see the world at large. That means something to me. When I begin to do serious writing, I will always ask you about your opinion on it. I hope that if there is anything else that I can do for you, you only ask. For some reason, I value your opinion. For some reason, I believe that you can continue to teach me, even beyond the classroom. Your classes have changed the way that I view the world, for that, you have my lasting respect and deference.   I just want you to know that I am out here, doing my thing, consciously, with love. I would ultimately like to become an advocate for women, and children in the legal system. I hope that I can teach others as well. This is my goal. I will be speaking to you soon. Be cool.”

“Hello, I received the journal and I want to say thank you for seeing something special in my story. Various people have approached me and said that it was touching. I greatly appreciate this opportunity.”

“Behrooz: As we begin another semester I want to tell you how much I appreciated your end of term guest lecture, “20th Century Iran: the land of failed revolutions,” on December 5, 2002. It was an easy to understand yet nicely analytical presentation. In my students’ final essays I gave them the choice of several questions to answer, and those who chose to address “revolutions in twentieth century Iran,” clearly demonstrated that they learned a great deal from your lecture. They were able to expound on the repeated struggle for “constitutionalism” from 1905 forward and the repeated conflicts over genuine “national independence” and freedom from outside interference throughout the last century, as well as to identity how these drives were thwarted. It is only fair to credit your concise portrayal and analysis of “failed” revolutions in Iran as deepening their understanding of the chronological narrative provided in their textbooks. This was additionally revealed by my students’ discussion in the next class in which several of them spoke with sympathy about the many betrayals of democracy experienced by Iranians. They also evinced a new awareness toward the multiple efforts of Iranians to secure social justice through both western ideologies (imperial protectionist, nationalist, Marxist, monarchical) and eastern (authoritarian militarist, and conservative, liberal and radical Islamist) paradigms of social change. I particularly appreciated your discussion of the class bases of various Iranian social movements and your contextualization of Iran’s history as a site of political experimentation and “globalized” interests when most of the Muslim world was formally colonized. The way you framed Iran’s history assists everyone’s comprehension of the developing world’s endless struggle to control and benefit from its own resources—issues still very much with us. Again, many thanks for your generosity of time and overall collegiality in agreeing to address my class.”

“I learned more in this class than in my last two years in Oneonta combined. Dr. Tamdgidi is a great teacher.”

“I also wanted to tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed doing the paper for your class. It was refreshing to research something that really means so much. Unfortunately, it is rare to get that feeling from a course. I think you for that!”

“I really enjoyed this class and the way it was taught.”

“He is an excellent prof. If you can just keep up with the readings then you can score excellent grade in the class.”

“Mr. Tamdgidi is an enthusiastic teacher who is eager to help students get involved and learn & understand material. I am sorry to see you leaving [SUNY-Oneonta], but you made this class very interesting and informative.”

“I found this class to be a very positive experience for me. The work was reasonable and though the 15 page paper was time consuming, it was not the end of the world. Overall I enjoyed this class and would recommend Tamdgidi to another student if he was returning [to SUNY-Oneonta].”

“I always enjoy Dr. Tamdgidi’s classes [at SUNY-Oneonta]. He has a way of stimulating students to want to learn more about themselves and the world around them. Sociology students will miss him next year.”

“This class helped me to learn sociological theories and to develop a different view of the world.”

“You opened many eyes to “real” sociology and its application to each and all. Thanks for the chance to know you. Keep up your search for self and stay well.”

“I think the course was a valuable learning experience and the professor did a great job of engaging students and learning opinions and different points of view.”

“Dr. Tamdgidi is a very good instructor. He explains ideas effectively and is passionate about his field. His greatest asset as a professor, I think, is his sincerity. He genuinely tries to make a difference in his students.”

“Professor T. did a great job as instructor for this course. He explained sociology really well.”

“Extensive amount of required and suggested reading. Class was a challenge but I like to be challenged. Dr. Tamdgidi was very helpful during office hours and classes. Dr. Tamdgidi is very intelligent and an incredible asset for any learning institution to have. He will be missed [at SUNY-Oneonta].”

“I just wanted to let you know that you were one of the few sincere, and helpful professors that I had here at SUNY. You have provided me an excellent example for my future teaching endeavors.”

“Yes I did receive the journal. I was really impressed with the format of the journal and variety of essays that were published. Thank you so much for all your work and time that went into having all of our essays published.”

“I also wanted to say thanks for everything this semester. “The Awakening” is now one of my favorite movies I just ordered it online! … I want to say that it was probably the most important research I have done in school because no matter what my grade I really did learn a lot about myself and my surroundings. I found answers to a lot of questions that I never even thought I had.”

“At first I dreaded this paper. I just wanted you to know that it turned out to be very therapeutic and helped me with the issues I was dealing with. Thank you.”

“I did enjoy the book we used for this course. The movies were also very good. I enjoyed the class. I wish more people spoke up in class, it would be more interesting.”

“It was nice to have a class where the instructor encouraged a lot of group discussion, instead of just being a lecture. I enjoyed this class.”

“I found the course to be a very enlightening and interesting learning experience. And while the material was rather difficult, it was helpful just knowing the instructor was always available to help.”

“I personally felt, from being a transfer student that I would have learned more in the past if in fact I had more classes such as this. His methods were simple, he would ask open-minded questions and students were able to answer open-minded as well. He allowed us to preach our philosophies … I show much gratitude to his teaching.”

“The class was enjoyable and was good at making us think. It was better than a class in which students learn boring, irrelevant facts.”

“I just wanted to let you know that this paper was a really great learning experience for me. It really opened my eyes up and changed my perspectives on a lot of things. I hope that everyone else got as much out of this as I did.”

“He enlightened me and others to new ideas and ways of looking at life. His class taught me the fundamentals of many governments that exist today. The instructor also allowed us to carry out debates in class which was a great learning experience. Overall his class was highly effective and I have learned a great deal from it.”

“I really enjoyed this class. Dr. Tamdgidi did an excellent job and was always open to suggestions as to how to make the class a better learning experience. This is an important attribute of an instructor, which unfortunately, is the exception, as opposed to the rule.”

“I felt overall that the class was a good learning experience. The topics covered in class were difficult but professor Tamdgidi eloquently expressed the terms in a simpler fashion making the concepts much easier to grasp. Overall I feel as if I am taking away a lot of knowledge from this course.”

“I thought this course provided a valuable experience. There were many interesting topics. Having this teacher a second time, I think student reports are interesting and helps break the class up. The paper provides a highly valuable experience in one’s life. The two papers I have done have helped me out immensely.”

“The class was a lot better than I had thought it would be. The Professor allowed students to voice their opinions on all topics, creating time for students to participate.”

“I really enjoyed taking this course, it was interesting and I felt I learned a lot about sociology. I’m very glad I got to take it with this instructor. He explained all assignments well and was always happy to answer any questions.”

“This course was like no other I have taken in college! The professor took this course in a direction of self-exploration. I learned not only about myself but a great deal about sociology. I re-took this class to better my grade and my experience was 100% better. Not many teachers realize teaching is about self-exploration. Not a textbook.”

“This course was very interesting. The teacher was always on time and he always made sure that we were occupied. This course has taught me a lot about sociology in its art form. I really enjoyed this class.”

“I enjoyed this course and feel I will walk away using the information I have learned. Thank you.”

“The way the class was formatted around discussion was a very positive way to teach/learn sociology. The films were very good, but also a good learning tool for the course.”

“Professor Tamdgidi provided a wonderful learning experience this semester. His clarification of terms was helpful in getting the full benefit of class lectures. He showed respect for all students and valued everyone’s participation. He encouraged critical thinking and problem solving. The knowledge attained here in his class will certainly help in other academic endeavors.”

“The instructor was excellent in this course. I like the way he mixed movies into class time. Although I was not used to the heavy writing assignments because in my past college I never had any, I still liked this course a lot.”

“Your class has had a positive influence on me and has changed not only the way in which I see myself, but also the way I see and think about everything in my life.”

“I can never thank you enough for what you have given me. It will be difficult to know what to do when the instruction ends. Instruction, readings, discussions can only take one so far. What we learn here is life, and it will never be two dimensional. The understanding that will be taken with me from this room will never leave me. The gift of self-remembering/actualization is not the common material to obtain in a college classroom. The lessons learned will have everlasting consequences in the life of this student. The work of liberation from complacent dissolution will never end. From the freedom from habituation, communication of the unconscious will be the true self.”

“More Social Science classes at Oneonta should be taught like Dr. Tamdgidi teaches. Most students find his classes challenging. Great teacher to have on campus! I have grown tremendously in my person and my studies which all started with a little coaxing from him. This guy goes way out of his way to help students learn.”

“I must say that I enjoyed this class. The laid back conversation teaching method made it easy for students to get involved and comfortably accept their surroundings. Tamdgidi is a professor that I don’t want to fail, making my effort that much more real.”

“It may have been better if one type of utopia was more carefully looked at instead of looking at all. The instructor was very understanding and always willing to help students.”

“This class was probably the most interesting in my college career. Dr. Tamdgidi makes you explore things that you would have never thought about before. He encourages you to think critically, in an organized manner. …”

“I found the course interesting and insightful. I learned new things about the world and myself. The readings were interesting.”

“This course has had a tremendous impact on my life. I have learned much about myself through this class. I have not taken any other course like this. It’s very interesting. Yes, I definitely would recommend this course to others. I have gained much from it.”

“I’ve seen two masters degrees, 3 teaching credentials, 6 colleges, 2 junior colleges and 13 years of public school and I never had a real lesson until this class. Dr. Tamdgidi taught a lesson in life long learning and perception that will never be forgotten. Super job.”

“This course was a little different than I had expected. I was very pleased though. The content of the class was very informative and educational. It opened up different view points and ways of thinking. The course was very well organized and covered many different Utopian views. We focused a lot on self-exploration which I think was very beneficial overall. I enjoyed the professor’s method of teaching tremendously. I would recommend this class to others.”

“This class has taught me so much about those ‘selves’ that boil up underneath the surface and how they interact with society and other ‘selves’. I have been looking forward to a class such as this one and am glad to have been through it as a student and as a person interested in sociology.”

“Text was great help in final paper. Class discussion very helpful. Awakening film very good and relevant to class and subjects discussed. Some other films like Patch Adams and Good Will Hunting were good movies. …”

“Professor Tamdgidi is a valuable asset to the teaching community. He was well prepared for each class and accomplished all of the goals outlined in the syllabus. I believe his requirements were fair and tolerable. I also feel this was a valuable personal experience as I got to explore an issue of some importance to me from a sociological perspective.”

“In my opinion this class was truly exceptional. Few class have ever helped me as an individual like this one did. Every student at SUCO would be better off if they took this class at some point while they are here. He is an excellent teacher with a truly sincere personality.”

“I think this course was very valuable in the search for self knowledge. My only problem w/it was that we were often retained after the class period was over. I liked the way the people in the class interacted w/one another.”

“I thought this was an excellent course. We are taught about so many things in college yet are never really taught to learn about ourselves. This course has made it possible for us to learn the most important thing, ourselves…”

“I learned a lot from being in this class. I found out a lot about myself that I was really not aware of. The class is very beneficial.”

“Dr. Tamdgidi is very thorough and passionate about this subject. I enjoyed his class immensely.”

“Course was well organized. Material was explained and followed thru. I learned a lot. Wonderful teaching. Made a not so interesting class very interesting.”

“He was a good teacher but graded rather difficult. I found the class harder than I anticipated. He gave extra work for missing class but was more than it should have been.”

“I felt Dr. Tamdgidi was a very good teacher. I would definitely recommend Dr. Tamdgidi for another student to take him.”

“This course will provide excellent references later in my career as a teacher. The professor was a good instructor and knew what he was talking about.”

“I felt that the teacher was well prepared for this course and very informative.”

“Thank you for making me reevaluate my own thinking and biases. Paper made me think.”

“I enjoyed the class. It helped me to understand more about real people living in the world.”

“I really appreciate learning about the many aspects of society. I enjoyed that everyone had their own opinion and that there were not tests or quizzes. The movies were great insight to society and showed how many people live and face hardships. Have a great summer!!!!”

“Prof. Tamdgidi was an excellent instructor and should be used in more of an effective way than this course. The material wasn’t as relevant to us as ed majors as much as other courses. He is understanding and very thorough. I enjoyed the course and would gladly take another w/him.”

“This class has by far been the most worthwhile class I’ve taken in 4 years here. Dr. Tamdgidi has an excellent way of instructing and making material understandable. I have learned more in this class than I have in any other. Yes, I am extremely happy and pleased that I have taken it. I’ve learned a lot about myself. No other class that I have taken compared to this class. This has been my favorite class ever.”

“After the paper I began to see things in a different light. I never took a course that forced it’s way into my mind and thought as much as this one did.”

“It has made a difference. Our way of problematizing our existence, has given me a somewhat new outlook on my life, as well as social life, since there is no difference between the two. This course approaches the depths of sociological theory. It is more conceptually difficult, but is intrinsically important in the study of social/your life. Fuck yes. This course should be made available regularly, I recommend it to everyone. Whether or not someone is a student of social life, the concepts addressed in this course pervade social life, and like it or not we live social life.”

“Yes, it helped me cope with issues I hadn’t been able to before. This course is more conducive to learning than most I’ve taken.”

“This was the 1st time I really studied myself, and it was good.”

“The readings presented entirely new concepts to me which I will never forget. I made valuable self-discoveries as suggested by the readings.”

“This is a unique course. … It helps students develop. At college you are at an impressionable age where you are not sure about yourself and who you are. However, taking a class like this helps you understand life’s problems and helps you understand things better.”

“It forced me to define a large part of “who I am” —This is useful due to my graduating next week. I feel I am going out into the world with a much firmer grasp of my goals, expectations, and abilities due to this course.”

“This is the first time I took a course that had to do with learning about myself. There aren’t many courses out there like this and I think it’s important for many young adults.”

“… it has given me the opportunity to look at my life in other ways. If it was not for this class I would have kept my true feelings inside. Other courses just give

you information to remember, this course relate the information you learn to yourself.”

“This course, I believe enables the student to contemplate on their entire life. Not many classes can even compare to that. I would highly recommend this class, and I am baffled why it is not offered regularly.”

“I enjoyed this class because of various reasons. Most important reason is that it helped me deal with a certain situation in my life through a different approach than in the past. I am very glad I took this course.”

“It has changed my way of thinking about myself! Even looking at how I contradicted myself in my paper. I don’t really know who I am, but I’m starting to think about it now.”

UMB Student Mentor: “This is … the student who mentored for your class last semester. I just wanted to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to mentor as well as writing multiple recommendation letters for me. I hope you enjoyed your break and your back is better now. Thanks to you i was also able to receive a merit scholarship award which i would not have been able to win without your help. Anyways, thank you and i hope you are doing well. Sincerely, …”

UMB Student: “I just wanted to take some time out to say thank you for all you have passed onto me, and the class. I have learned a lot about other, the people around me, and especially myself. I am hoping to use what you have taught me as I am growing, as I am working to better myself.”

“This class has prolonged and reinstated my wanting to find the meaning of life. The search for truth and the ways that I can make my life and the lives of others better through education and action. I want to reach my highest potential so that my contributions to society can be remembered and used to make it better for future generations. I have never taken a course like this before and this has been one of my favorite classes I’ve taken here in my four years. How can one not like a class that focuses on yourself and how one can improve his/her life. This course should be taken by everyone on campus or a similar class like this. If we can get everyone on all campuses to take this class then we would have a higher number of people with the potential to become aware and in turn affect society positively.”

[What was good about this course?] “Learning about myself and how other people view the world. Also learning about different theories and how they affect people in our society.” [What was bad about the course?] “Nothing Really.” [How can the course be improved?] “May be less reading outside of class. If you have other course or other responsibilities.” [What was good about the instructor?] “His passion and knowledge for what he was teaching.” [What was bad about the instructor?] “Nothing.” [How can the instructor improve?] “I liked the instructor very much. I thought that he was great.” [Has this course made any differences in your life?] “Yes. It’s made me see myself differently.” [How do you compare this course with other courses you have taken on this campus before? Have you taken a course such as this before?] “This was a great course. It really forced me to look at myself. No. I’ve never taken a course like this before but I would definitely take it again.” [Do you think this course deserves to be offered regularly? Why? Would you recommend this course to others if it was offered?] “Yes, I feel that if more instructors were like Mr. Tamdgidi people would really stop and try to reevaluate themselves and others.” [What do you recommend to the instructor in improving his offering of this course in the future (readings, organization, teaching style, syllabus, etc.?] “Change the title of the course and recommend less outside readings (may be).” [Give the instructor a piece of advice and the reason for your advice?] “Keep being who you are. I think you’re great. Get into teaching seminars. What a great mind.”

[What was good about this course?] “The way there were constant opportunities to participate.” [What was bad about the course?] “Nothing.” [How can the course be improved?] “More movies—they brought out greater dialogue.” [What was good about the instructor?] “He was open to different opinions, he was unbiased.” [What was bad about the instructor?] “Nothing.” [How can the instructor improve?] “Speak a bit more assertively.” [Has this course made any differences in your life?] “Yes. It has opened my eyes to self-awareness. I was always apathetic about my behavior towards others and myself. However, this course and its many dialogues on interpersonal relations and self-analysis made me see that there was indeed another facet to life, that not everything was so as it seemed.” [How do you compare this course with other courses you have taken on this campus before? Have you taken a course such as this before?] “It was different to say the least. When YOU are the focus, things get turned around and it feels good to have a different setting such as this one. No.” [Do you think this course deserves to be offered regularly? Why? Would you recommend this course to others if it was offered?] “Yes, It would offer students insight on introspection and how to evaluate themselves.” [What do you recommend to the instructor in improving his offering of this course in the future (readings, organization, teaching style, syllabus, etc.?] “Everything was fine. May be a bit more group work.” [Give the instructor a piece of advice and the reason for your advice?] “I think you should be louder just b/c we are students and sometimes it is difficult to “stay tuned” when a prof. is so soft-spoken. Other than that, I think you (prof.) were a wonderful instructor.”

[What was good about this course?] “Interesting reading material.” [What was bad about the course?] “20 page paper—felt like as pages went on the quality of my work went down.” [How can the course be improved?] “Instead of having a 20 page paper, have several papers on different ideas.” [What was good about the instructor?] “Very knowledgeable, open to discussion and different viewpoints.” [What was bad about the instructor?] “Did not move around room enough making for wandering minds less interest.” [How can the instructor improve?] “Move around. Loosen up.” [Has this course made any differences in your life?] “It has helped me answer some questions about my life. It has helped me explore in reading comp. skills.” [How do you compare this course with other courses you have taken on this campus before? Have you taken a course such as this before?] “This is a unique course. Having no real exams made me more interested in actually understanding the material presented and not just memorizing stuff for a test.” [Do you think this course deserves to be offered regularly? Why? Would you recommend this course to others if it was offered?] “Yes. It helps students develop. At college you are at an impressionable age where you are not sure about yourself and who you are. However, taking a course like this helps you understand life’s problems and helps you understand things better.” [What do you recommend to the instructor in improving his offering of this course in the future (readings, organization, teaching style, syllabus, etc.?] “Teaching style. Open the class up more. It’s about self-knowledge, not I told you so knowledge.” [Give the instructor a piece of advice and the reason for your advice?] “Stick with this! You are an exceptional professor. I criticize only constructively.”

OKCIR’s director wishes in turn to appreciate and celebrate the courage, thoughtfulness, and creative wit, of all his students throughout the years he taught at Binghamton University (SUNY), SUNY-Oneonta, and UMass Boston. including those who lent their bright attention to knowing themselves better in a global context, and in doing so offered the gift of their excellent published articles as sample papers for future students to use as their scholarly journal articles to read and learn from in writing their own “sociological self-research” papers.

The following are the articles published by Tamdgidi’s students (ranging from first year seminars to graduate courses) since 2002 across many courses, campuses and departments. Also see the first “class publishing” experience at Binghamton University, the class-book published in 1997, from which the idea of Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge was born, to encompass in time the voices of other faculty and distinguished scholars amid a borderless publishing conduit.

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

Also see the first class publishing experience at Binghamton University, the class-book published in 1997.

Note by Tamdgidi: The surprise gift of the framed image and comments above was from students in one of the last “Insiders/Outsiders” First Year Seminar classes I taught in Fall 2013, a kind symbolic gesture made in consideration of my early retirement from UMass Boston to pursue other projects—a gift that I wish again to thank them for sincerely.

To offer a background to the funny quote my students used to headline their gift:

… in one of the class sessions discussing a reading on animal shelters the topic was on how these centers’ social organizations maintain and reproduce themselves while the employees joining the center for the love of animals end up euthanizing many of them. The conversation led to the students’ talking about the love for their pets. One student shared her experience loving her rabbit, the occasion of which was used to reflect on the theme of the course dealing with “Insiders/outsiders.” We noted how the way we regard animals and more broadly nature as “outsider” is itself a social construct having to do with the dualisms long ingrained in our psyche. Elaborating again on the concepts students had already been introduced to when learning about symbolic interactionism and sociology of the self, it was noted how we as humans cannot relate to anything, including others, ourselves, and nature, without the many selves in us that symbolically represent those “others.” Therefore, our relations to “others” including our pets, is always simultaneously, relations to ourselves. So, the love for our “bunny” pet out there is always a relation to our “inner bunnies” —that the love we feel for our pets is always also a love for those selves in us that represent those pets. This is why caring for pets is often therapeutic and a process that aids our own emotional healing. That is also why when we teach something to others, we always learn it anew and better ourselves—and vice versa. The students were amused by the funny notion of finding and loving “our inner rabbits” and we all heartily laughed about it. The students’ surprise gift’s “Persian” line means “We will miss you!” Their original “google translated” version needed revising, so I enjoyed helping them translate it. The feeling is mutual. Thank you Rebecca, Erin, and all my wonderful students for this nice gesture. I couldn’t have concluded this “UMass Boston” page of my life on a nicer note. Here are a set of student feedbacks from your class (Soc. 110G-3, Fall 2013).]


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