I am currently an independent writer and wandering philosopher. I was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Wellesley College, and a Fulbright Scholar to Burma/Myanmar. I have taught courses in the Department of International Relations at the University of Southern California (where I earned my PhD in 2012), in the Honors Program at UCLA, and in the Peace Studies Program at Chapman University. I am the author of several books, including Humanism and the Death of God: Searching for the Good After Darwin, Marx, and Nietzsche (Oxford University Press, 2017).
My teaching, research, and writing have bridged the humanities and social sciences, focusing in particular on questions of violence and nonviolence, political ethics and moral theory, human rights, and religious studies. Important influences on my thinking include Dostoevsky, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Martin Luther King Jr., Wendell Berry, and Noam Chomsky. My scholarship has also been shaped in important ways by my experiences growing up in Thailand, Taiwan, and Zimbabwe, which left me with a passion for travel, a commitment to cosmopolitan values (chastened by the need for rootedness), and hopefully adaptability to diverse cultural settings and challenging environments.
I have worked with human rights and development NGOs in Kosovo and in Guinea, West Africa. I have also conducted field research on the role of religion in resistance to the Indonesian Army’s genocidal invasion and occupation of East Timor, and on the Shining Path insurgency in Peru through a grant from the Oskar Schindler Humanities Foundation. In 2012, I had the unique experience of playing in an Ultimate Frisbee “tournament for peace” in North Korea. In 2016, I competed with team Club Rufaro in the Ngalawa Cup (a nine day, 500 km sailing race down the coast of Tanzania in traditional dugout fishing canoes with sails).
When not teaching, writing, or conspiring trips to far-flung corners of the globe, I enjoy swimming, catching up on films, quality conversations with friends and family, practicing the joy of Facebook resistance, and adventures in new cuisine (I’m a vegetarian because I find it easier sneaking up on vegetables). Correspondence is always welcome.