Michele M. Dillon

Interim Dean, Liberal Arts
Class of 1944 Professor of Sociology
Phone: (603) 862-2500
Office: Sociology, McConnell Hall Rm 330A, Durham, NH 03824
Michele Dillon

Michele Dillon, Ph.D., is Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, the UNH Class of 1944 Professor of Sociology, and Senior Advisor for Research at the Carsey School of Public Policy. Educated at University College Dublin and the University of California-Berkeley, her research focuses on autonomy and authority in the Catholic Church; moral politics; religion, spirituality and aging; and religion and cultural change. Her publications include Postsecular Catholicism:Relevance and Renewal (Oxford University Press, 2018); Catholic Identity: Balancing Reason, Faith, and Power (Cambridge University Press, 1999); American Catholics in Transition (co-authors W. D’Antonio & M. Gautier; Rowman & Littlefield, 2013); In the Course of a Lifetime: Tracing Religious Belief, Practice and Change (co-author Paul Wink; University of California Press, 2007) - named by Choice as an outstanding title of 2007; Debating Divorce: Moral Conflict in Ireland (University Press of Kentucky, 1993); Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (editor, Cambridge University Press, 2003); Introduction to Sociological Theory (Wiley-Blackwell, 2nd ed., 2014), and over 50 book chapters and articles in journals such as Sociological Theory, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, Public Opinion Quarterly, Journal of Adult Development, and Research on Aging. Dr. Dillon’s research has been supported by grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Louisville Institute, the Fetzer Institute, and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, among other entities. She was honored in 2011 as the 11th Annual Anne Drummey O'Callaghan Lecturer on Women in the Church, at Fairfield University; and in 2011-12 was the JE and Lillian Byrne Tipton Distinguished Visiting Professor in Catholic Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Professor Dillon has served as President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Chair of the American Sociological Association Section on the Sociology of Religion, and President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. She is frequently interviewed by regional, national and international media outlets on matters pertaining to religion and society.

Religion, Culture, Sociological Theory, Aging/life course, Irish Society


  • Ph.D., University of California - Berkeley
  • M.A., University of California - Berkeley
  • M.Soc.Sci., University College Dublin
  • B.Soc.Sci., University College Dublin

Research Interests

  • Aging and life course
  • Culture
  • Irish society
  • Religion
  • Sociological theory

Courses Taught

  • INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/Sociology
  • SOC 640: Religion
  • SOC 794: Evaluation Research
  • SOC 904: Sociological Methods IV
  • SOC 911: Sociological Theory I
  • SOC 912: Sociological Theory II

Selected Publications

Dillon, M. (2018). Postsecular Catholicism. Oxford University Press.

Dillon, M. (2015). Debating Divorce Moral Conflict in Ireland. University Press of Kentucky.

Dillon, M. M. (2015). Assessing Reverence in Contexts: A Positive Emotion Related to Psychological Functioning. Journal of Humanistic Psychology.

Dillon, M. M. (2015). Secularization, Generational Change, and Ireland’s Post-Secular Opportunity. In The Catholic Church in Ireland Today.

Dillon, M. M. (2015). Christian Affiliation and Disaffiliation the United States: Generational and Cultural Change.. In Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity.

Dillon, M. (2014). Asynchrony in Attitudes Toward Abortion and Gay Rights: The Challenge to Values Alignment. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 53(1), 1-16. doi:10.1111/jssr.12096

Ai, A. L., Kastenmüller, A., Tice, T. N., Wink, P., Dillon, M., & Frey, D. (2014). The Connection of Soul (COS) scale: An assessment tool for afterlife perspectives in different worldviews.. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 6(4), 316-329. doi:10.1037/a0037455

Dillon, M. M. (2014). The Orphaned Irish: Church and State in Neo-Liberal Irish Society. In Religion and Regimes: Support, Separation, and Opposition.

Dillon, M. M. (2014). The Difference between Irish and American Catholicism. In Are the Irish Different?.

Dillon, M. (2013). Introduction to Sociological Theory Theorists, Concepts, and their Applicability to the Twenty-First Century. John Wiley & Sons.