Peace and conflict Studies

Faculty Research

Current faculty books, articles, and research include:

Deina Abdelkader's most recent book is "Islamic Activism: The Anti-Enlightenment Democrats" (Pluto Press, 2011). In it she shows what Islamic leaders and activists believe and what they think about just governance. In doing so, Abdelkader reveals that democracy is not the sole preserve of those who support Enlightenment values, offering the reader a chance to understand the populist non-violent side of Islamic activism. Her article, "Coercion, Peace and the Issue of Jihad" will be published in the Digest of Middle East Studies, December 2011.

George Chigas' research deals with the survivors of state-sponsored violence with a focus on Cambodia and genocide in general. His current research deals with second generation Cambodian survivors and examines the potential for service learning opportunities in Cambodia and the US to provide a cultural context for personal growth and healing in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge period.

Mitra Das recently finished a book, "Between Two Cultures," that documents the resettlement issues experienced by Cambodian women who came to this country as refugees. She is working on a new project that examines the effects of development on women in the Indian subcontinent. Das hopes to extend her study to the experiences of other immigrants who have migrated from her native India.

"Cambodian Community in Lowell, Massachusetts, in Asian Americans, An Encyclopedia of Social, Cultural, Economic and Political History," (Xiaojian Zhao & Edward J. W. Park, editors) Volume One, Greenwood, 2014 

Her Recents publications: Mitra Das, Nicole Dubus and Linda Silka, "Decades after Resettlement: Later Life Experiences of Aging Cambodian Refugees," Humanity & Society, Volume 37, Number 4, November 2013

James Forest is completing a new book "Essentials of Counterterrorism" (to be published by Praeger later this year), and a revised edition of his textbook "The Terrorism Lectures" will be released by Nortia Press in summer 2015. His 2014 reports "U.S. Military Deployments to Africa" and "Countering the al-Shabaab Insurgency in Somalia" are both available at the JSOU publications website ( Professor Forest also serves as co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal "Perspectives on Terrorism" ( ), which has over 120,000 readers worldwide.

James Nehring’s research addresses the relationship between education and social justice. He is the author of five books and many articles. His most recent scholarly book is "The Practice of School Reform: Lessons from Two Centuries" (SUNY Press, 2009). He is the recipient of a Fulbright award for research in Northern Ireland and a Brown University Alumni award. His current research focuses on schools serving high poverty communities in Northern Ireland and the United States. He is also the author of a memoir, Why Teach? Notes and Questions from a Life in Education (forthcoming from Rowman and Littlefield).

Paula Rayman is completing her Senior Fulbright award on the project: "Beyond Coexistence: Israeli Arab and Jewish Relations.” The research seeks to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the complex situation in Israel today regarding Israeli Arab-Jewish relations.

Urmitapa Dutta's research deals with ethnic conflict and peace building in Northeast India. Specifically, she interrogates the culture of normalized everyday violence in the Garo Hills of Northeast India, examining how it shapes the identities of local youth. Drawing upon these understandings, she explores innovative everyday peace building possibilities in the region. Her current research also deals with the diverse forms of violence experienced by Garo women caught at the intersections of patriarchy, ethnic conflict, and armed insurgency, as these play out in a matrilineal society. At UMass Lowell, she has designed and teaches a course entitled 'Everyday Peace,' which engages students to develop more contextualized and community-based approaches to peace. 

Jenifer Whitten-Woodring ‘s research focuses on the causes and effects of media freedom and the role of media in repression and dissent. Her articles have been published in The Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, and Political Communication. Her book Historical Guide to World Media Freedom: A Country-by-Country Analysis (with Douglas Van Belle;CQ Press, 2014) includes chapters on the historical evolution of the concept of media freedom, defining and measuring media freedom, the correlates of media freedom and analyses of the evolution (and devolution) of media freedom in 196 countries from 1948 to the present. Her teaching focuses on intersections of media and politics and repression and dissent. She also teaches quantitative research methods. Courses developed at UMass Lowell include: Media and Politics Around the World, the Politics of Repression and Dissent, Political Communication, Political Analysis, and Advanced Research Methods. Prior to becoming a political scientist, Whitten-Woodring worked as a journalist in print and broadcast media and received five first place awards from the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association. She became particularly interested in media freedom and the relationship between media and politics when she was a journalism instructor and student newspaper adviser, first at Cedar Crest College in Allentown PA, and then at California State University at San Marcos.