Mark Juergensmeyer (born 1940 in Carlinville, Illinois) is an American scholar in sociology, global studies and religious studies and a writer best known for his studies of religious violence and global religion. He is Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Juergensmeyer received a BA in Philosophy from the University of Illinois in 1962, an MDiv from Union Theological Seminary, New York in 1965, and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1974. He has also done graduate work in international affairs at Columbia University. He is married to the University of California, Santa Barbara emerita professor Sucheng Chan.
Juergensmeyer is regarded as an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution, and South Asian religion and politics and has published twenty-eight books and over 300 articles. He has been a frequent commentator on news programs, especially after 9/11.
His early books were on religion and social change in South Asia, including Religion as Social Vision: The Movement Against Untouchability in 20th Century Punjab, and Radhasoami Reality: the Logic of a Modern Faith. With John Stratton Hawley he co-translated a book of medieval Indian poetry, Songs of the Saints of India. His book on Gandhian conflict resolution was originally published as Fighting with Gandhi and republished as Gandhi’s Way: A Handbook of Conflict Resolution.
In the 1990s he turned toward the issue of religion and violence around the world. The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State was cited by The New York Times as a notable book of the year in 1995. It has been revised and republished as Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State.
In 2001 he published Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, a comparative study of religious terrorism. It was named as a notable book of the year by The Washington Post. The revised fourth edition was published in 2018. This book introduced the concepts of “cosmic war” and “performance violence” as central to religious-related terrorism.
A book based on a five- year Luce Foundation-funded project surveying the changing role of religion in global society was published as God in the Tumult of the Global Square (co-authored with Dinah Griego and John Soboslai). In 2019 Oxford University Press published a book based on lectures given by Juergensmeyer at Princeton and Muenster, God at War: The Alternative Realities of Religion and War. A five-year project funded by Uppsala University, Sweden, will result in a publication on how jihadi terrorist movements come to an end.
Juergensmeyer taught at the University of California, Berkeley for fifteen years in a joint position as coordinator of religious studies for UC Berkeley and director of the Office of Programs in Comparative Religion at the Graduate Theological Union (1974–89); at the University of Hawaiʻi he was founding dean of the School of Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Studies (1989–93); and later he taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1993–present), where he was founding director of the global and international studies program and the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies.
He has also taught at Punjab University, Chandigarh, India, and the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was a research scholar at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India. He has been a professor in residence at Emory University, Muenster University in Germany, and the University of Miami.
Awards and Honors
Juergensmeyer is the 2003 recipient of the Grawemeyer Award for contributions to the study of religion, and was elected president of the American Academy of Religion for 2008-09. He was a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC in 1988-89 and has been the recipient of fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, and the American Institute for Indian Studies. Juergensmeyer has received honorary doctorate degrees from Lehigh University and Roskilde University, Denmark, and the Silver Medal from Spain’s Queen Sofia Center for the Study of Violence. In 2019 he was named the year’s Distinguished Scholar by the Religion and International Affairs section of the International Studies Association.
- Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence. Berkeley: University of California
- Press, 2000. Fourth ed., 2017. Also in Indian, Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, German, and Indonesian editions.
- The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. Also in German, Spanish, Indian, Japanese, Indonesian, and Turkish editions. Revised expanded edition published as Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State. Berkeley: University of California Press. 2008. Also in German edition
- God in the Tumult of the Global Square: Religion in Global Civil Society (with Dinah Griego and John Soboslai). Berkeley: University of California Press, 2015.
- God at War: The Alternative Realities of Religion and War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. Also in German edition by Herder Verlag, 2019.
- Fighting With Gandhi. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1984. Revised edition published as Gandhi's Way: A Handbook of Conflict Resolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005. Also Indian, German, and Chinese editions.
- Songs of the Saints of India. (Co-translator with John Stratton Hawley). New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Also in Indian edition.
- Radhasoami Reality: The Logic of a Modern Faith. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991. Revised expanded edition forthcoming
- Religion as Social Vision: The Movement Against Untouchability in 20th Century Punjab. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982. Revised India edition published as Religious Rebels in the Punjab: The Ad Dharm Challenge to Caste, Delhi: Navayana Publishing, 2009.
- The Oxford Handbook of Religion (editor). New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Rethinking Secularism (co-editor with Craig Calhoun and Jonathan VanAntwerpen). New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
- The Oxford Handbook of Global Studies (co-editor with Manfred Steger and Saskia Sasken). New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.