2003 – Mark Juergensmeyer

Why do religious people commit violence in the name of their God, victimizing and terrorizing innocents? Sociology professor Mark Juergensmeyer offers a timely study of religious terrorism and “cultures of violence” which give rise to it in his book, “Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence.”

The director of the global and international studies program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, won the $200,000 prize for the 2003 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion. The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and the University of Louisville give the honor jointly.

Jurgensmeyer indicated funds from the prize will be directed toward continued research in religion and violence in the contemporary world.

About Mark Juergensmeyer

Mark Juergensmeyer is a professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He also serves as director of the global and international studies program and chair of the global peace and security program.

He is an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics. He has published more than 200 articles and a dozen books. Since September 11, he has been a frequent commentator in the media, including CNN, NBC, CBS, NPR, Fox News and ABC’s Politically Incorrect.

Juergensmeyer has received research fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Smithsonian Institution), the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the U. S. Institute of Peace and the American Council of Learned Societies.

He earned a Ph.D. in political science at the University of California, Berkley, where he later coordinated the religious studies program. He also has degrees from Union Theological Seminary in New York (masters of divinity), Columbia University (international affairs) and the University of Illinois (bachelor of arts in philosophy).

The professor grew up in a rural area of central Illinois and worked as a war correspondent in Vietnam. Juergensmeyer previously served as Chair of the Pacific Rim Research Program, University of California system from 1993-1997; Dean, School of Hawaiian, Asian & Pacific Studies, and Professor of Religion and Political Science, University of Hawaii, from 1989-1993; Director, Religious Studies Program, University of California, UC Berkeley; and as Professor and Director, Comparative Religion, Graduate Theological Union, UC Berkeley from 1974-1989.

The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times listed his widely read “Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence” as one of the best nonfiction books of the year.

His previous book, “The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State” covers the rise of religious activism and its confrontation with secular modernity. The New York Times named it one of the notable books of 1993.

Oxford University Press will soon publish his forthcoming book on global religion.