Foran, John 1955–
Foran, John 1955–
(John Francis Foran, Jr.)
Born May 25, 1955. Education: Amherst College, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1977; University of California at Santa Barbara, M.A. (with honors), 1981; University of California at Berkeley, Ph.D., 1988; attended Université de Dijon and École Normale Supérieure in France.
Office—University of California at Santa Barbara, Department of Sociology, 2834 Ellison Hall, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9430. E-mail—[email protected]
University of California at Santa Barbara, professor of sociology, 1988—; served as visiting professor of sociology and Latin American studies, Smith College, Northampton, MA, 2000-02.
John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, 1999-2000.
Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1993.
(Editor) A Century of Revolution: Social Movements in Iran, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.
(Editor) Theorizing Revolutions, Routledge (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor, with Kum-Kum Bhavnani and Priya A. Kurian) Feminist Futures: Re-Imagining Women, Culture and Development, Zed Books (New York, NY), 2003.
(Editor) The Future of Revolutions: Rethinking Radical Change in the Age of Globalization, Zed Books (New York, NY), 2003.
(Editor, with David Lane and Andreja Zivkovic) Revolution in the Making of the Modern World: Social Identities, Globalization, and Modernity, Routledge (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor to various journals, including Futures, Journal of Haitian Studies, and Political Power and Social Theory; contributor to various books, including Power: A Critical Reader and the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology.
John Foran graduated from Amherst College summa cum laude in 1977, with an undergraduate degree in French and European studies. From there he went on to earn his master's degree at the University of California at Santa Barbara, followed by his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley, both in sociology. In addition to his primary studies, Foran attended the Université de Dijon, in Dijon, France, from 1975 to 1976, as well as the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. Partly as a result of his time abroad, he is fluent in French. In addition, he has both a reading and speaking competence in Spanish, as well as reading competence in both German and Persian. Since 1988, Foran has served on the faculty of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he is a professor of sociology. His primary areas of research and academic interest include social movements and revolutions, major developments and social changes, and the studies of culture in third-world areas, with a focus on Latin America and the Middle East. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and research fellowships, and lectures regularly at various academic conferences around the world. In addition to his academic duties, he has contributed articles to a number of journals, including Futures, Journal of Haitian Studies, and Political Power and Social Theory. He has also contributed articles and chapters to a number of books, as well as writing and/or editing several full volumes.
Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution, published in 1993, was developed from Foran's doctoral thesis, a fact that seemed obvious to William B. Quandt in a review for Foreign Affairs. The most vital point of his work is his discussion of revolutions as a means of bringing down governments that do not serve the people, and the fact that the true difficulty lies in actually replacing the previous government with one that will be more successful. Quandt observed the book is likely "heavy going for most readers."
Foran served as the editor of Feminist Futures: Re-Imagining Women, Culture and Development, along with Kum-Kum Bhavnani and Priya A. Kurian. The book focuses on the progress of women in third-world nations in particular, looking at ways in which they struggle not just for improved rights, but to be heard in a time and place where men still are the dominant global force against which they must struggle. The book looks forward in such a way that attempts to project the course that women in these parts of the world might take in order to achieve some measure of equality and control over their destinies. The authors attempt to gauge the women's progress using both traditional masculine measures of achievement, and through newly developed measures that fit both the ever-changing roles of women, and the changing needs of people in general that arise through various changes in culture, business, technology, and so on. They address both the ways in which women have progressed, and the ways in which they have been the forces of change and progress themselves, pushing the world forward as they stand to take their place in it. Ciedelle G. Piol, in a review of the book for Women in Action, remarked that "its advocacy of women, culture and development is a path-breaking guide that convincingly lays the groundwork for assessing and contributing to the writing of the stories being told by, for and of women in the Third World." Piol concluded that it is "a must-read not just for development scholars, nor even only for activists but for every people-loving individual." Uma Narayan, reviewing for the NWSA Journal, remarked that "it is difficult to do justice to the contents of this rich anthology in a short review. The editors have worked hard to provide a stimulating and useful collection for all who teach and think about issues of third-world women and development."
In Taking Power: On the Origins of Third World Revolutions, Foran takes a sweeping look at revolutions in third-world nations, covering more than twenty-five countries and more than forty-five instances of these uprisings. He describes the various types of revolutions, explaining the levels of unrest or violence, and going on to explain how each of the revolutions he mentions fits into this hierarchy. This approach met with mixed responses from reviewers, some of whom felt he was too unfocused in his examples and that the plethora of information, rather than giving a broad overview, weakened his arguments through over dilution. Others felt the diverse approach made for an important contrast with more traditional looks at the nature of revolution that concentrate on the historic European and North American examples. Said Amir Arjomand, writing for the Political Science Quarterly, remarked that "John Foran is as eclectic in compiling analytical perspectives as he is in the selection of his cases. He is, as the saying goes, all over the place." However, Krishan Kumar, in a review for Social Forces, remarked: "It is indeed hard to think of another book that covers such a number and variety of revolutions. This is no mean achievement. All students of revolution will find this an invaluable sourcebook, immensely informative and full of arresting insights and suggestive hypotheses."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, December, 1994, Ervand Abrahamian, review of Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution, p. 1730.
American Journal of Sociology, May, 2004, Matthew C. Gutmann, review of Feminist Futures: Re-Imagining Women, Culture and Development, p. 1514.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, September, 1993, N. Rassekh, review of Fragile Resistance, p. 198; May, 2004, K.M. Jamieson, review of Feminist Futures, p. 1746.
Contemporary Sociology, March, 1994, Nader Sohrabi, review of Fragile Resistance, p. 257; September, 2004, John Foran, review of The Future of Revolutions: Rethinking Radical Change in the Age of Globalization, p. 574.
Foreign Affairs, September 1, 1993, William B. Quandt, review of Fragile Resistance, p. 174.
International Journal of Middle East Studies, May, 1994, Ali Mirsepassi, review of Fragile Resistance, p. 319.
International Review of Social History, August, 1998, Turaj Atabaki, review of A Century of Revolution: Social Movements in Iran, p. 305.
Middle East Journal, winter, 1995, review of Fragile Resistance; spring, 1998, review of A Century of Revolution.
Muslim World, January 1, 1995, Mahmood Monshipouri, review of Fragile Resistance, p. 156.
NWSA Journal, summer, 2005, Uma Narayan, review of Feminist Futures.
Political Science Quarterly, winter, 2006, Said Amir Arjomand, review of Taking Power: On the Origins of Third World Revolutions.
Social Forces, March, 2007, Krishan Kumar, review of Taking Power, p. 1455.
Third World Quarterly, August, 1999, Peter Calvert, review of Theorizing Revolutions, p. 871.
Women in Action, August, 2004, Ciedelle G. Piol, "Global Development? A Review of Feminist Futures," p. 120.
University of California at Santa Barbara Web site,http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/ (April 17, 2008), faculty profile.