Becca (my partner) and I spent the weekend in beautiful Santa Barbara — to check out UCSB and the surrounding area. The thought of spending five or six years here is really not so terrible.
Seriously, this place is a paradise. The natural beauty is definitely no small selling point. And there are a lot of fantastic professors I could see myself working with. I was able to meet with Dick Flacks, John Foran, George Lipsitz, Geoff Raymond, Verta Taylor, and Howard Winant. (I’m currently reading Dick Flacks’ must-read Making History: The American Left and the American Mind and Howard Winant and Michael Omi’s—also must-read—Racial Formation in the United States.) I was able to have rich conversations with other faculty and with a number of current PhD sociology students. I was also excited about the incoming admitted cohort. Many of them are also interested in social movements, politics, and society. All in all, UCSB is full of great folks and I think this is an excellent option for me.
No decision yet though! Tomorrow I check out UC Irvine and then University of Wisconsin on Friday on the way back east. More updates to follow.