Lester Kurtz is professor of public sociology at George Mason University, where he teaches peace and conflict studies, comparative sociology of religion, and social theory. He holds a Master’s 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’s), and The Web of Violence (U. of Illinois Press) as well as author of books and articles including Gods in the Global Village (Pine Forge/Sage), The Politics of Heresy (U. of California Press), and The Nuclear Cage (Prentice-Hall). He is currently working on a book on Gandhi and has taught at the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and Tunghai University. He has lectured in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America and served as chair of the Peace Studies Association and the Peace, War, and Social Conflict Section of the American Sociological Association, which awarded him its Robin Williams Distinguished Career Award.
Lee Smithey serves as Coordinator of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. He is an Associate Professor in the college’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, where he studies social conflict and social movements, especially ethnopolitical conflict and nonviolent conflict methods. He has focused much of his work on conflict transformation in Northern Ireland. His book, Unionists, Loyalists, and Conflict Transformation in Northern Ireland (Oxford University Press), was launched at the Northern Ireland Assembly and won the 2012 Donald Murphy Book Prize for Distinguished First Book from the American Conference for Irish Studies. He is a Co-Primary Investigator of the Mural Mapping Project, a longitudinal and geo-spatial study of murals and public art in West Belfast and the Greater Shankill Road area. He has served as Chair of the Peace, War, and Social Conflict section of the American Sociological Association.