Claire Chipman Gilliland

About Me

I am a doctoral candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill in the department of sociology. My research agenda centers on how religion both combats and perpetuates inequality across multiple axes of stratification. Specifically, I investigate the overarching question: How and to what extent do religious organizations, rhetoric, and beliefs contribute to racial, socioeconomic, and sexuality-based divisions and inequities? I use a range of research methods, including quantitative analysis, grounded theory, and content analysis. Within this overarching question, my research largely focuses on analyzing religious rhetoric on divisive social issues, religious trends over time, and family formation attitudes and behaviors.

Current CV


Department of Sociology
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
55 Hamilton Hall, CB# 3210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599



Google Scholar profile

I am currently funded by a Dissertation Fellowship from the Louisville Institute for my project “Clergy Voices: How Conflicts over Race and Sexuality in America are Framed from the Pulpit.” Broadly, I am analyzing how clergy address issues of race, homosexuality, and inequality in their weekly religious messages. You can read more about this project here.


I have also co-authored a book titled Religion in America which offers an analysis of religious trends in the U.S. using a demographic perspective. We pay particular attention to variation across different subgroups within the population, and the book is written to be accessible for an undergraduate course. You can order the book through University of California press here.


I have taught six sections of two courses, Social Stratification and Introduction to Sociology at two universities, UNC-Chapel Hill and Furman University (Greenville, SC). For sample syllabi and teaching resources, please email me at