GTU Remembers Alum Dr. Gordon Clanton (PhD, ’73)

BERKELEY, CA – July 28, 2021 – The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) mourns the passing of Dr. Gordon Clanton (PhD, ’73). A Professor of Sociology for more than 30 years, a pioneer in the sociology of emotions, and an engaged contributor to his local newspaper, Dr. Clanton is remembered for his warm, wise presence. 

“On behalf of the entire GTU community, I offer my deepest condolences to Dr. Gordon Clanton’s family and friends at this time of loss,” said GTU Interim Dean Dr. Elizabeth Peña. “Like all those touched by his life, we are saddened to hear of Dr. Clanton’s passing. We join with all those who knew him in celebrating his life and scholarship.”  

Gordon Clanton earned his PhD from the Graduate Theological Union, in the field of Sociology of Religion. His 1973 thesis title was, “Peter L. Berger and the Reconstruction of the Sociology of Religion.” 

A student of Robert N. Bellah and Peter L. Berger, Dr. Clanton taught in the Religion Department at Rutgers University and the Department of Sociology at San Diego State University. His 1977 book, Jealousy, with Lynn G. Smith, stands as the standard reference work on this topic and an early contribution to the sociology of emotions. He was a founding member of the American Sociology Association Section on Emotions in 1985. In 2004, he received the Outstanding Faculty Award from San Diego State’s Sociology Department. 

Dr. Clanton is remembered as a committed educator who always encouraged his students toward excellence in courses such as Sociology of Religion, American Society and Institutions, Minority Group Relations, and his signature course, Love, Jealousy, and Envy: The Sociology of Emotions.


About the Graduate Theological Union

The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is one of the world’s most comprehensive centers for religious education, and one of the largest and most diverse partnerships of seminaries and graduate schools in the United States. 

More than a consortium and academy, the GTU is a dynamic laboratory that provides scholar-innovators with a staging ground to reimagine the future of interreligious life. An education with the GTU equips leaders to translate learning into action that will have tangible impact in the world.

Since its founding in 1962, the GTU has been at the forefront of interreligious education and dialogue, and the work of our eminent alumni, students, and faculty across cultures, traditions, and technologies continues to create new pathways to a truly pluralistic future.

Discover more about our programs and the work of our alumni and community at