Professor Ben Zablocki served on the faculty of the Sociology department from 1977 to 2012, including a three-year term as graduate program director, followed by another three years as department chair. His interests included the sociology of religion, community, the social psychology of influence and charisma, the sociology of the adult life course, and the relationship between believing and belonging over time. His research and teaching encompassed many of these themes.
Professor Zablocki published widely on charismatic movements, cults and brainwashing, including his books The Joyful Community, Alienation and Charisma, and Misunderstanding Cults. Professor Zablocki was the principal investigator of the Urban Communes Data Set, a rich set of longitudinal network data from naturally occurring groups of adults available for sociological research. His research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Templeton Foundation.