Lester Kurtz is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at George Mason University, where he teaches nonviolence, social movements, peace and conflict studies, the comparative sociology of religion, globalization, and social theory. Professor Kurtz is also involved in helping to create a new Ph.D. program in Public Sociology.
He holds an M.A. in Religion from Yale and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He is the editor of the Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict (Elsevier), co-editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell) and The Web of Violence (University of Illinois Press). Dr. Kurtz is the author of several books and articles including Gods in the Global Village (Pine Forge/Sage), The Politics of Heresy (University of California Press), and The Nuclear Cage (Prentice-Hall). He is currently working on a book called Gandhi’s Paradox, writing about Gods and Bombs: Religion and the Rhetoric of Violence, and co-editing a book on The Paradox of Repression. He has lectured in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America and has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Delhi University, Tunghai University, and the European Peace University. He served as chair of what is now the Peace and Justice Studies Association and the Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association, which awarded him its Robin Williams Distinguished Career Award.