Lester R. Kurtz is Professor of Public Sociology at George Masonthe University of Texas at Austin, where he teaches the comparative sociology of religion, peace and conflict, social movements, globalization, and both Western and non-Western social theory. He lectures regularly at the European Peaee University and was previously Director of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. and He holds a master’s in Religion from Yale Divinity School and a Ph D in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He is editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, & Conflict (Elsevier), coeditor of Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective (Blackwell), and coeditor of The Web of Violence: From Interpersonal to Global (University of Illinois Press). He is the author of numerous books and articles on religion and conflict peace, including The Nuclear Cage: A Sociology of the Arms Race (Prentice Hall) and The Politics of Heresy: The Modernist Crisis in Roman Catholicism (University of California Press), which received the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s Distinguished Book Award. He is currently working on books titled Gandhi’s Paradox and Gods and Bombs, as well as a documentary film, Peaceful Warriors: The History of Nonviolence, with James Otis.
Dr. Kurtz is the past Chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association as well as the Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association, which awarded him its Robin Williams Distinguished Career Award in 2005. He has lectured in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America and has taught at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Delhi University in India, and Tunghai University in Taiwan.