J. Alan Winter, the Lucretia L. Allyn Professor Emeritus of Sociology and the former chair of the sociology department, was with Connecticut College from 1970-2002. Professor Winter passed away on March 31, 2009.
His areas of specialization were the sociology of religion, the sociological analysis of American Jewry, and social psychology. He was a graduate of New York University, and he earned his master's degree and Ph.D. from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Winter conducted much of his research on contemporary and American Jewry. He brought this expertise to his course on the "Sociological Analysis of Jewry," which examined the sociological and cultural forces affecting the behavior, norms and organization of Jewry. He also taught "Organizational Dynamics," which examined the structure and function of complex, formal organizations or bureaucracies with special attention to human service organizations, and a seminar on "Human Nature and the Social Order," which examined the relationship between theme as seen by various theories of interpretive sociology. In addition, Winter led a class on the foundations and development of sociological theory that viewed the development of sociology as an analysis of industrial and post-industrial societies. In this course he placed particular emphasis on the relationships of contemporary theory to the works of Marx, Durkheim and Weber.
Winter's most recent book was Jewish Choices: American Jewish Denominationalism (1999, SUNY Press) which he co-authored with colleagues in the U.S. and Israel. Winter was also the author of Continuities in the Sociology of Religion: Creed, Congregation and Community (1977) and co-author of Clergy in Action Training (1971). He also edited The Poor (1971) and co-edited Vital Problems for American Society (1968). Winter published over 30 articles, reports, and book chapters. In addition, he wrote over 30 review essays and book reviews and presented his work at numerous professional meetings.
A former visiting professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, Winter was the secretary and treasurer of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry. He was an Associate Editor of Review of Religious Research and previously the editor of Contemporary Jewry.