Lester R. Kurtz George Mason University, USALester R. Kurtz is Professor of Public Sociology at George Mason University, where he teaches the comparative sociology of religion, peace and conflict, social movements, globalization, and both Western and non-Western social theory. He has lectured regularly at the European Peace University and was previously Director of Religious Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Kurtz 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 the two-volume Women, War and Violence (Praeger), Nonviolent Conflict and Civil Resistance (Emerald), Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographical Perspective (Blackwell), and The Web of Violence: From Interpersonal to Global (University of Illinois Press). He is also 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 Gods and Bombs: Religion and the Rhetoric of Violence and another on Fighting Violence.
Prof. 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 received the Lester F. Ward Award for Distinguished Contributions to Applied and Clinical Sociology in 2014 and 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.