Volume 1, Issue 2 (2002) Spiritual Renaissances & Social Reconstructions

Teaching courses originally intended for Dr. Donald A. Nielsen, who retired last year from the Department of Sociology at the State University College of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta, I recently found the brief note “I miss Dr. Nielsen!” among the student evaluations of my “Ideas and Ideologies” class offered during the Fall 2002 semester. Paradoxically, the note also reminded me that I actually miss him too, despite the brief period of our face-to-face interactions towards the end of his tenure. Thankfully, just before leaving Oneonta, and having warmly received the first issue of Human Architecture, Dr. Nielsen had kindly agreed to submit one of his own earlier articles on Mannheim to this journal.

The coincidence goes much deeper to substantive matters, however—and I think the “missing of Nielsen” can be better understood from this angle. The piece by Nielsen on Mannheim printed in this issue of Human Architecture speaks to the heart of the project the journal has set itself to pursue. In my reading, Nielsen also arrives at the need for the sociology of self-knowledge and human architecture (in his own words, of course), through a constructive critique of Mannheim as well. Nielsen’s thesis about the legitimacy and the necessity of challenging global capital’s “busybodies” culture (using Mannheim’s term) by consciously withdrawing from it for spiritual self-reflection and renewal as prerequisites for any meaningful efforts at social reconstruction, involves a radical redeeming and renewed appreciation in a scholarly fashion of the useful legacies of the world’s religious and utopian traditions.

It is more than fitting, therefore, to dedicate this issue of the journal to Dr. Nielsen on the occasion of his “retirement,” for in many ways its pages (hopefully) represent a symbolic retreat center in the midst of busy academic life for spiritual renaissance and social reconstruction as envisioned by him.

Editor's Notes



My Translucent Father
Katie J. Dubaj

Back Matter


Mohammad H. Tamdgidi, SUNY Oneonta