Membership Update: Survey News

By Jeremy Rinker and Dean J. Johnson

In early February of this year we solicited responses to a membership survey. Thanks to all of those who responded, we received 72 responses in total. Most of the information we hear as a board comes at the yearly members meeting which takes place during the annual conference. The information collected as a result of the survey allowed for more members to share their opinions about what they get out of their PJSA membership. Your responses will help the board do some strategic planning and growing of our membership base. The board hopes to be able to grow the organization in order to help maintain financial stability and professional presence. We all want peace, so encourage your friends and colleagues to join PJSA and help us build it!

The good news is that overall members seem to be happy with the organization. Members find value in the annual conference as a place to reconnect, to learn about new pedagogical approaches, and to catch up on social justice initiatives. Members also value the listserv as a place to stay connected and to post important news and/or questions. Finally, members shared an appreciation for the publications offered by the organization. All of these responses will assist the board in making good fiduciary decisions for the whole PJSA membership.

As you might expect there are also a few growing edges around which further planning becomes necessary. In the survey and at the annual membership meeting, members expressed a great need and desire to add to the diversity of the organization as well as a need to make it more accessible. Members expressed ongoing concerns about the divide between the language of academics versus non-academic practitioners in meeting spaces and on the listserv. Members also shared concerns about the costs of the annual conference and membership for those who do not have access to professional funding. The survey uncovered that institutional memberships are underutilized and provided some information about other groups and institutions that could be brought into the organization. Finally, the survey provided some very useful information about ways to create a larger, more diverse network of peace and justice studies professionals. All of these findings, plus other ideas, will be discussed by the full board.

Finally, the announcement you have all been waiting for… The winners of the random drawing of survey participants who will either get a year’s free membership or a $100 gift certificate from PM Press. The winners are: Susan Cushman, Janet Gerson, Anna Hamling, and Damon Lynch. Congratulations to you all! Thank you again to those who responded to the survey. We hope to provide a further update during the PJSA membership meeting in Winnipeg.

Please feel free to reach out to us at if you have any needs, questions, or concerns regarding membership. For more information about membership, please visit the membership section of the PJSA website. May the coming year be one of justice and peace.


Dr. Jeremy Rinker is the Institutional Liaison on the Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) Board. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Department of Peace and Conflict Studies where he is currently engaged in research that explores the intersections between marginalization, collective trauma, and systems of oppression. Dr. Rinker’s research and writings have long focused on South Asian communities, untouchability, human rights, narrative meaning making, and identity in social justice movements. His first book entitled Identity, Right, and Awareness: Anti-Caste Activism in India and the Awakening of Justice through Discursive Practices came out from Lexington Press in 2018. With expertise in restorative justice conferencing, peace circle facilitation, program development, and social movement organization, Dr. Rinker’s work aims to integrate the theory and practice of peace and conflict to achieve social justice outcomes.

Dr. Dean J. Johnson is the PJSA’s US Membership Chair. Dr. Johnson is director of Peace and Conflict Studies and associate professor of philosophy at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. An interdisciplinary activist scholar, Johnson teaches courses in peace studies and religious studies. His research interests include religion and social change, race critical theory, critical whiteness studies, gender critical theory, nonviolent activism, community organizing, conflict transformation, and critical pedagogies. As an activist and scholar, Dr. Johnson is a consultant for nonviolent campaigns and initiatives. He provides workshops and training in the areas of nonviolent direct action, community organizing, and (with his partner Melissa Bennett) anti‐oppression, queer solidarity, and anti‐racism. He is founding board member of the Peace and Justice Studies Association and a member of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. Dr. Johnson is an advisory board member and former chair of the SpiritHouse Project of Washingtn, DC.