The University of Massachusetts Amherst

We Mourn the Loss of Dan Clawson

Dan Clawson | UMass Amherst Sociology

We are sad to share the news that Dan Clawson, Professor of Sociology at UMass Amherst, passed away on Monday, May 6, 2019. Dan taught in the department for over 40 years and was about to retire at the end of this semester. He received his doctorate in Sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1978.

Dan's research focused on labor movements and labor policies in the United States and their impact on the well-being of families. His research is very widely cited and well received outside academic circles, as well as having had an immense impact within his discipline. He served as the President of the Massachusetts Society of Professors (affiliated with the National Education Association), as editor of the journal Contemporary Sociology, and co-editor of the Rose Series in Sociology.

He is a former national chair of Scholars, Artists, and Writers for Social Justice (SAWSJ), which worked to connect intellectuals and the labor movement, and was chair of the Labor and Labor Movements section of the American Sociological Association. His sole, co-authored, or edited books include Unequal Time: Gender, Class, and Family in Employment Schedules (2014), The Next Upsurge: Labor and the New Social Movements (2003), Families at Work: Expanding the Bounds (2002), Dollars and Votes: How Business Campaign Contributions Subvert Democracy (1998), Required Reading: Sociology's Most Influential Books (1998), Money Talks: Corporate PACs and Political Influence (1992) and Bureaucracy and the Labor Process: The Transformation of U.S. Industry 1860-1920 (1980).

Thoughts from us:

"I am forever thankful to Dan for all of his contributions to the department and the university, and for serving as such an inspirational role model to scholars like me on how to apply principles of social justice and equity into our teaching, scholarship, and service." - C.N. Le

"To borrow a hip hop term of art, he was your favorite public sociologist’s public sociologist. He taught me why it mattered that social movements were built from the ground up (not the top down). He made sure we put away our notebooks and actually engaged in dialogue in class. Dan cared." - Lucius Couloute

"I will always be grateful for his strong, ethical presence in our department and his constant reminders to be aware of power and inequality." - Joya Misra

"I will miss Dan's ability to hold a community to account, his dedication to fair process, and his contrarian nature. He was a tireless advocate, an exemplary citizen, and a titan in our community. Quite simply, UMass Sociology would not be the department it is today without him." - Michelle Budig [I Won't Back Down by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers]

"We assumed he would help take care of us, as that is what he did." - Naomi Gerstel

"I admired many things in Dan, among them his respect for, and sense of commitment, to our undergraduate students.  I felt he saw the world as our students were experiencing it, and encouraged us, as faculty, to see students as whole people, often with enormous challenges, and yet entitled to a top notch public education, reminding us that it is our job to give them that." - Amy Schalet

"On a more personal note, he was an incredibly devoted mentor. We are incredibly lucky to have had him for as long as we did." - Ghazah Abbasi

"Always ardent about doing the right/moral thing, but combining this with being deeply thoughtful and open to discussion.  What a rare and exemplary human being.  What a huge loss for our community and the world." - Ofer Sharone

"I appreciate his compassion for students, especially those who have not had quite as linear paths. I felt like HE really got it. He understood how important a mission it is to ensure that students who come from impoverished or working class backgrounds needed to get through so that they can be a resource to their communities. He got that." - Sancha Medwinter

"In his own unique manner, he was a fighter for those who are the most excluded and marginalized… here and abroad… for that, I’ll forever be thankful to him." - Fareen Parvez

"It was his work as MSP president that made it possible for our and other departments to expand the faculty and for Sociology to target full-time, reasonably paid and benefited jobs for lecturers as the normal course of affairs." - Don Tomaskovic-Devey

"He was a kind hearted, compassionate man whose values were admirable.  He was humble, wasn’t in to drama and  knew how to get the job done." - Wendy Wilde

May 7, 2019