Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(1926-) Born and reared in New Haven, Connecticut, D'Antonio received his undergraduate degree from Yale University, 1948; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1953; Ph.D., Michigan State, 1958. Assistant to Full Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame, 1959-1971; Professor and head (1971-1976), Department of Sociology, University of Connecticut, 1971-1982; executive officer, American Sociological Association, 1982-1991; Adjunct Research Professor, Catholic University of America, 1991–. President, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 1978-1979; Association for the Sociology of Religion, 1993; International Institute of Sociology, 1992-1993.

D'Antonio's scholarly contributions to the social scientific study of religion express his special interest in the relationship between authority and individual freedom, particularly with regard to sexual and reproductive norms in his Roman Catholic tradition. He also has written extensively on the link between religion and family life as well as religion's connection to ethnicity (especially his Italian heritage). He is the author of several books on religion, including Religion, Revolution, and Reform (with Frederick Pike, Praeger 1964), Families and Religions (with Joan Aldous, Sage 1983); American Catholic Laity in a Changing Church and Laity: American and Catholic (with James D. Davidson, Dean Hoge, and Ruth Wallace, Sheed & Ward 1989, 1996). He also has published articles on these subjects in all the major journals in the social scientific study of religion and elsewhere. D'Antonio's other interests include political sociology, in which he has been a leader in the study of community power (e.g., Power and Democracy in America , with Howard Ehrlich, University of Notre Dame 1961, and articles in the American Sociological Review , c. 1960). He also has been coauthor of a leading textbook, Sociology (with Melvin DeFleur and Lois DeFleur, Scott Foresman 1972) and a book on gender and sexuality, Female and Male (with Elaine C. Pierson, Lippincott 1974).

D'Antonio has been a leader in professional associations. Prior to his presidency of the SSSR, he served as its executive secretary from 1970 to 1976. In this work, particularly, he was assisted by his wife, Lorraine, who at one point simultaneously served as business manager of the SSSR, ASR, and Religious Research Association. He also has held offices and board positions in the North Central Sociological Association, American Council of Learned Societies, District of Columbia Sociological Society, Consortium of Social Science Associations, among others. His special honors and awards include the Aida Tomeh Distinguished Service Award from the NCSA and the Stuart A. Rice Merit Award from the DCSS.

As a central spokesperson for American sociology for a decade, D'Antonio has made many appearances on television, lectured at numerous colleges and universities, and been asked to evaluate sociology programs on more than a dozen campuses. In addition, he has been actively involved in progressive movements to foster academic freedom, improve the quality of undergraduate education, and promote change in the Roman Catholic Church.

James D. Davidson

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