Mr. Hadden was a Professor of Sociology who began teaching at the University of Virginia in 1972. Mr. Hadden earned his PhD in 1963 at the University of Wisconsin, where he was trained as a demographer and human ecologist.
During a post-doctoral year at Wisconsin, Mr. Hadden was invited to participate in a study of campus clergy funded by the Danforth Foundation. This study provided the opportunity to investigate the involvement of clergy in the Civil Rights Movement. For three years he interviewed clergy on the frontlines of the movement, and from this research came his first book on religion entitled The Gathering Storm in the Churches (1969). This book dealt principally with the conflict that was generated within mainline Protestant churches as a result of clergy participation in social action projects.
What was intended as a brief career diversion soon became Mr. Hadden’s primary research interest. He published eleven volumes and numerous articles and essays on religion. Mr. Hadden approached the study of religion from the perspective of social movements theory and characterized his primary interest as the comparative study of religion and politics. He was probably best known for his studies of religious broadcasters and the emergence of the Christian Right in America during the 1980s. In more recent years, he focused his interest on new religious movements. With David Bromley (Professor of Sociology at VirginiaCommonwealthUniversity) he edited a two-volume work entitled Handbook of Cults and Sects in America.
In 1995, Mr. Hadden was appointed a Teaching Technology Fellow at the University of Virginia. This program offered him an opportunity to learn how modern communications technologies might be employed in the classroom. He characterized himself as a “technophobe” when he began the program. In 1996, he began work on a religious movements web site in conjunction with a course in New Religious Movements that he taught at the University of Virginia for nearly twenty years. The site, developed with his students, now contains over 150 profiles of religious movements. Mr. Hadden’s Home Page also includes information on other courses he taught and is the temporary home of the Archives of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association.
In 1998, Mr. Hadden began construction of two additional websites on Religious Freedom and Religious Broadcasting, characterizing himself as a “recovering technophobe.” In an article for the American Sociological Association’s Teaching Resources Center, he described his quest to overcome his fear of technology.
Mr. Hadden received his BA and MA degrees in Psychology (1959) and Sociology (1960) from the University of Kansas. Before moving to the University of Virginia, Mr. Hadden taught at PurdueUniversity, CaseWestern ReserveUniversity, and Tulane.