A welcome message from the new Executive Director

Hello members, friends and supporter of PJSA,

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the list as I begin in the role of Executive Director of PJSA. I am honored that the Search Committee selected me for this position, and I am excited to begin helping to grow the association, serve our constituency, and continue to build towards the future. Though the hiring announcement contains a biographical account, I thought I should provide a bit of context for how I got here.

For the last few years I have been jumping around as a multi-site adjunct professor of sociology, terrorism studies, and conflict analysis, teaching more than 20 classes in six years. I have taught at Georgetown University, George Mason University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Malta and Jessup Correctional Institution while living between Ohio, DC and elsewhere. During this time, my partner and I had three beautiful children and relocated from Washington, DC to Cincinnati. After adjuncting for several years, I was hired as a Visiting Professor of Sociology and Social Justice at Miami University of Oxford, known as a 'public Ivy', and on the cutting edge of developing its Social Justice Studies program.

I have been involved in a wide range of social movements around the world since I began organizing in high school. I have helped to block the construction of strip mines in Scotland, oppose military occupation in Palestine, build networks of solidarity and mutual aid in Chiapas, Mexico, and have organized more marches and direct actions than I care to remember in the US. Over the last couple years, I have spent a lot of time organizing public talks to discuss police infiltration and how the rhetoric of terrorism is rapidly being exploited to silence domestic protest. Throughout these projects, I have made it a point to write as much as I can, and to distribute my work freely. I invite those who are interested to check out my 'formal' publications, syllabi, book chapters, and conference presentations. I have also helped to support scholarship on social movements and political violence through serving in editorial roles for academic journals and conference organizing committees. I have a passion for promoting student publishing, empowering us 'early career scholars', and helping to break down barriers between the contingently employed and those with more security.

My current research interests include using Critical Terrorism Studies to understand non-state political violence, the role of the communique in the discourse of protest, methods for resting the criminalization of dissent inside and outside of the academy, promoting an engaged and anti-securitization research methodology, and the role of trauma in researching violence. I am always interested in co-authoring, traveling for guest speaking engagements, and collaborating towards the creation of a better world.

While I have met many of you recently, known some of you for years, and have yet to meet everyone else, I want to make myself available to the association at large. I am available via email (michael@peacejusticestudies.org), Skype, phone, or good old fashioned coffee and conversation. While Cincinnati is my home for the time, I travel frequently and would love to meet PJSA folks along the way. I will be in the streets at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week, and all over California the week after. A few weeks later, I hope to see many of you at our conference in September, and welcome folks to reach out with any questions, collaborations, or comments as they arise. 

I will strive to be responsive and to best serve PJSA as we continue to build towards a more peaceful, justice-based world; or as the Industrial Workers of the World proposed, 'to build a new world in the shell of the old.'

In solidarity & support:

- Michael Loadenthal