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— About Dr. Nagler —



spacerMichael NaglerspacerMichael Nagler is Professor emeritus of Classics and Comparative Literature at UC, Berkeley, where he co-founded the Peace and Conflict Studies Program in which he taught the immensely popular nonviolence course that was webcast in its entirety as well as PACS 90, "Meditation" and a sophomore seminar called "Why Are We Here? Great Writing on the Meaning of Life" for fifteen years.

Among other awards, he received the Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for “Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India” in 2007, joining other distinguished contributors to nonviolence as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and peace scholar and activist Johan Galtung in receiving this honor.

He is the author of The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into Korean, Arabic, Italian and other languages; Our Spiritual Crisis: Recovering Human Wisdom in a Time of Violence (2005); The Upanishads (with Sri Eknath Easwaran, 1987), and other books as well as many articles on peace and spirituality.

He has spoken for campus, religious, and other groups on peace and nonviolence for many years, especially since September 11, 2001. He has consulted for the U.S. Institute of Peace and many other organizations and is the founder President of the board of the Metta Center for Nonviolence Education. Michael has worked on nonviolent intervention since the 1970’s and served on the Interim Steering Committee of the Nonviolent Peaceforce.

Michael is a student of Sri Eknath Easwaran, Founder of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, and has lived at the Center's ashram in Marin County since 1970. He gives workshops on Easwaran's system of passage meditation around the world.




PROFESSOR EMERITUS                                                                            YEARS EMPLOYED: 1991-2007

International and Area Studies Teaching Program                 University of California, Berkeley

101 Stephens Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.  (510) 642-4101


Founder and Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies: 1999-2002

Teaching:   PACS 164A-B, Nonviolence

                     PACS 190 Senior Seminar

                     PACS 94 Meditation

                     PACS 24/84 Freshman & Sophomore Seminars: Great Writers on the Meaning of Life



University of California, Berkeley


ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, 1966-73; Associate Professor (also Chair of Religious Studies), 1973-1984;

FULL PROFESSOR (also Founder of Peace and Conflict Studies), 1984-1991.

PROFESSOR EMERITUS: July 1991-present.



Teaching areas: Classics: Greek epic (especially Homer), lyric poetry, Greek religion, oral tradition, mythology and others, including basic language and composition courses, Greek and Latin language. 

              Peace and Conflict Studies: Introduction to peace studies, nonviolence

              Comparative Literature: lyric poetry, mysticism and literature, oral poetry and oral tradition, composition courses

              Religious Studies: Introduction to world religions, mystical traditions.



Responsibilities: Co-Chair, Peace and Justice Studied Association

                              Founder and President, Metta Center for Nonviolence

                              Founder, Peace and Conflict Studies Program (Chair several times)

                              Chair of Religious Studies Program, 1975-77

                              Co-founder, Chancellor’s Task Force on Violence and Prevention

                              Board of Educational Development (and other committees)

                              Assistant Dean of the College of Letters and Science, 1967-69



World Literature Department                              San Francisco State University (then College)


Teaching areas: Greek drama, Ancient Greek language, comparative literature.


ADDITIONAL TEACHING: Guest Professor, University of Vechta, Germany , January, 2004

                                                  Fromm Institute, University of San Francisco, 1996-2001

                                                  San Francisco Art Institute, 1980-82

                                                  San Francisco State University, 1965-67.






PhD IN COMPARATIVE LITERATURE                                                          January, 1966

UC, Berkeley                                                                                                             


Exchange scholar, University of Heidelberg (no degree), 1962-63

MA in Comparative Literature (UC, Berkeley, 1962)

BA in English and mixed languages (NYU, 1960). 

NY State Medical School (1957-58)

Cornell University (no degree), 1954-57

Midwood High School, Brooklyn, NY (1950-54).





  • Languages: Ancient Greek, Latin and Sanskrit.  Modern French, German. (Conversational or reading knowledge of Spanish and Italian, some Dutch and Modern Greek)
  • Public speaker, academic and general audiences
  • Successful writer, academic and general audiences
  • Consultant for peace development: U.S. Institute of Peace, many non-governmental organizations worldwide.
  • Workshop facilitator/presenter for Blue Mountain Center of Meditation



Awards and honors


  •               Jamnalal Bajaj International Award for Promoting Gandhian Values Outside India (2007)
  •               Special Recognition Award, Season for Nonviolence (April, 2006)        
  •               Fourth Annual Huang Hua Memorial Lecture (Berkeley, 2004)
  •               Outstanding Contribution to Peace Education (Peace & Justice Studies Assoc., 2003)
  •               American Book Award (2002) (nominated for Grawemeyer Award , 2004)
  •               Christian  Science Monitor essay contest winner (see bibliography)
  •               American Council of Learned Societies Research Grant
  •               National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend
  •               MacArthur Foundation Research and Writing Program
  •               MacArthur Foundation research fellowship
  •               Distinguished Lecturer, University of Presque Isle, ME
  •               Chico State University Annual Peace Lectureship
  •               Honorary award, Maharishi International University (1975)
  •               Loeb Classical Lecture (Harvard University, 1973)





  • Co-chair, Peace and Justice Studies Association (2009-2011)
  •   Since 1966, member of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and resident at the Center’s headquarters (ashram) since 1970
  • Presenter for Center’s worldwide meditation retreats, 1986-present
  • Helped to found Nonviolent Peaceforce, which is now operating in five world locations
  • Panelist for SF Commonwealth Club, 2002
  • Testified before U.S. Commission on the Effectiveness of the UN, 1992
  • Co-founder of METTA: Center for Nonviolence Education, 1982
  • Co-founder of Educators for Nonviolence
  • Frequent speaker and writer on world peace and related issues since 1972, for schools and colleges, church groups, many public and private venues.  Recent campus talks include:
      • University College, Utrecht, NL
      • University of Sussex, UK
      • Stanford University
      • Boston Research Center (with Francis Moore Lappé)
      • Youngstown State University, OH, USA
  • Writer for blog, “WagingNonviolence,” 2011-12



  • Consultant for colleges and universities in establishing peace studies programs        (Northwestern, Sonoma State, others).
  • University Club of Orlando Endowed Chair, Scholar in Residence
  • Consultant for several documentary film projects.                     
  • Hundreds of interviews given to print and electronic media, especially since 9-11.






  •               Metta Center for Nonviolence (President)
  •               PeaceWorkers (Chairman of the Board)
  •               Peace and Justice Studies Association (Co-Chair, 2009-2011)
  •               Tikkun (Advisory Board)
  •               International Journal of Nonviolence (Editorial Board)
  •               Fellow, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy
  •               Other advisory  boards: AHIMSA, The Peace Alliance, FutureWAVE, The International Network for Peace, Justice and Democracy in the     Middle East, Dalai Lama Foundation







Hope or Terror: Gandhi and the Other 9/11 (Berkeley and Minneapolis: Metta and Nonviolent Peaceforce) 2006

Our Spiritual Crisis: Recovering Human Wisdom in a Time of Violence.  Chicago: Open Court (2005)

The Search for a Nonviolent Future: a Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World.  Makawao, Maui, HI: Inner Ocean Publishing (2004).  Original edition: Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Hills Books, 2001  (Winner of American Book Award, 2002)

The Steps of Nonviolence. Nyack, NY: Fellowship of Reconciliation, 1999

The Upanishads (with Eknath Easwaran).  Petaluma, CA: Nilgiri Press (1987)

America Without Violence: Why Violence Persists and How You Can Stop It.  Island Press, Covelo CA (1982).

Spontaneity and Tradition: A Study of Homer's Oral Art.  University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles (1974).



Articles and Chapters (Peace Studies):

“Gandhi Then and Now,” in Martin Keogh, Ed., Hope Beneath Our Feet: Restoring our Place in the Natural World. (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2010) 62-72.

“Connecting the Dots — Nonviolently,” in Rachel Macnair and Stephen Zunes, Edd., Consistently Opposing Killing (Westport, CN: Praeger, 2008) pp. 173-178

“The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Palestine/Israel,” (with Tal Palter and Matthew Taylor), in Nonviolent Coexistence, Edd. Kumar Rupesinghe and Gayathri Fernando (Colombo, Sri Lanka: Foundation for Co-Existence) 2007, pp. 275-305

 “The Constructive Programme,” in Richard L. Johnson, Ed., Gandhi’s Experiments with Truth: Essential Writings by and about Mahatma Gandhi (New York: Rowman & Littlefield) 2006, 253-259

“Spirit Rising,” Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures, (Winter, 2006) 12-17

“Spinning Wheel Birthday,” The Acorn xii:2 (Spring-Summer, 2004) 36-38.  Reprinted as “What would the world be like if we followed Gandhi?”, in The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Nov. 27, 2004; German translation: in Telepolis,

“The Time for Nonviolence Has Come,” Yes! (Summer, 2003); German translation:  “Es ist Zeit für die Gewaltfreiheit,” (With Marcel Baumann)

“Building a New Force,” Yes! (Fall, 2002: reprinted in McConnell and van Gelder, Making Peace: Healing a Violent World (Bainbridge Island, WA: Positive Futures Network), 2003

“Compassion: the Radicalism of This Age,” Yes! (Fall, 1998: reprinted in McConnell and van Gelder, op. cit.)

“The Challenge of Nonviolence,” afterword to Catherine Ingram, In the Footsteps of Gandhi (Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2003) 255-258 (listed in Working Assets December, 2005 Recommended Reading program) 

“Out of Darkness, a Strange Hope,” Tikkun, January/February, 2002, 23-26

“The Logic of Nonviolence,” Fellowship 65:7-8 (July-August, 1999) 10

“What is Peace Culture,” in Ho-Won Jeong, Ed., A New Agenda for Peace Research (Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, 1999) 233-258

“Unity in Diversity: From Paradox to Paradigm,” Ahimsa Voices 4:1 (1997) 1-2

“Is There a Tradition of Nonviolence in Islam?,” in J. Patout Burns, Ed., War and its Discontents: Pacifism and Quietism in the Abrahamic Traditions (Washington, D. C., Georgetown University Press, 1996) 161-166

“Forget the Past,” Fellowship 60:7/8 (July/August, 1994) 13

Meditation for Peacemakers Metta Publication (1994)

Peacemaking Through Nonviolence Metta (1994: testimony for U.S. Commission on the Effectiveness of the U. N.; excerpted in World Without Violence, Ed. Arun Gandhi, New Delhi, 1994: 189-199).

“Ideas of World Order and the Map of Peace,” in Thompson et al., Edd., Approaches to Peace: An Intellectual Map (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Institute of Peace, 1991) 371-392

“Nonviolence,” in Lazlo and Yoo, Edd., World Encyclopedia of Peace,” (Oxford: Pergamon, 1986) Vol. I. 72-78

“Comment” on R. J. Rummel, “Social Field Theory, Libertarianism, and Violence,” International Journal on World Peace 3:4 (1986) 44-46 (with Barry Zellen)

“Redefining Peace,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (1984) 36-38.  Reprinted: Donna U. Gregory, Ed., The Nuclear Predicament (New York: St. Martin's, 1986) 330-334; Don Carlson and Craig Comstock, Edd., Citizen Summitry (New York: St. Martin's, 1986) 238-245

“Education as a Five-Letter Word.”  Teachers College Record, 84:1 (1982), 102-114.  Reprinted in Douglas Sloan, Ed., Education for Peace and Disarmament (New York: Columbia Teachers College Press, 1983)

“Peace as a Paradigm Shift,”  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (December, 1981).  Translations: “Friede als Paradigmenwechsel,” in Rüdiger Lutz, Ed., Bewusstseins (R)evolution (Weinheim: Beltz, 1983); “La Pace come cambiamento di paradigma,” University of Naples history of physics brochure, 1983

“Berkeley: the Demonstrations,” Studies on the Left 5:1 (1965) 55-62.




Regular contributor to Metta Center blog (

Frequent contributor to others, incl. Common Dreams, Yes! Magazine, Peace Voice, New Clear Vision, and many others.  Recent sample:

Occupy 2.0: The Great Turning” (




Articles (Classics and Comparative Literature):

“Penelope’s Male Hand: Gender and Violence in the Odyssey,Colby Quarterly 29:3 (1993) 241-257

“Discourse and Conflict in Hesiod: Eris and the Erides,” Ramus 21:1(1992) 79-96

“Odysseus: The Proem and the Problem,” Classical Antiquity 9:2 (1990) 158-178

“Ethical Anxiety and Artistic Inconsistency: The Case of Oral Epic,” in M. Griffith and D. J. Mastronarde, Cabinet of the Muses (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990) 225-239

“The Traditional Phrase: Theory of Production,” in John Miles Foley, Ed., Oral Formulaic Theory: a Folklore Casebook (New York: Garland, 1990) 283-312

“Toward a Semantics of Ancient Conflict: Eris in the Iliad,” Classical World 82:2 (1988) 81-90

“Priams Kiss: Toward a Peace Concept in Western Culture,” in Ulrich Goebel and Otto M. Nelson, Eds., War and Peace: Perspectives in the Nuclear Age (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 1988) 125-136

“On Almost Killing Your Friends: Aspects of Violence in Early Epic and Ritual,” in John Miles Foley, Ed. Current Issues in Oral Literature Research: a Memorial for Milman Parry (Columbus, OH: Slavica, 1987) 395-433

“Homeric Epic and the Social Order,” in K. Myrsiades, Ed., Approaches to Teaching Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (New York: Modern Language Association, 1987) 57-62

“Foreign Languages and World Community,” Foreign Language Newsletter 34:125 (1984) 3

Beowulf in the Context of Myth,” J. Niles, Ed. in Old English Literature in Context (Cambridge, England, 1980) 143-156

“Entretiens avec Tirésias,” Classical World 74 (1980) 89-108

“Dread Goddess Endowed with Speech: A Study of Womankind in the Odyssey,” Archaeological News VI: (1977) 77-83

“Towards a Generative View of the Oral Formula,” TAPhA 98 (1967) 269-311

“Oral Poetry and the Question of Originality in Literature,” Actes du Ve Congres de l'Association Internationale de Littérature Comparée, ed. by N. Banasevic (Belgrade, 1966); German tr. in: J. Latacz (ed.), Homer - Tradition und Neuerung (Darmstadt, 1977)

“Dread Goddess Revisited,” in Seth L. Schein, Ed., Reading the Odyssey: Selected Interpretive Essays (Princeton University Press: revision of  “Dread Goddess Endowed with Speech,” above).



Forewords and Afterwords:


Catherine Ingram, In the Footsteps of Gandhi. Berkeley: Parallax Press, 2003.

M.K. Gandhi, Prayer (Berkeley Hills Books, 2000)

__________,The Bhagavad Gita According to Gandhi (2000)

__________, The Book of Prayer (1999)

__________, The Way to God (1999)

__________,Vows and Observances (1999)

Eknath Easwaran, Gandhi the Man (Nilgiri Press, 1978)


Articles (Religious Studies):

“All That We Are: Insights on Passage Meditation,” Yoga Journal (2004)

 “Words and the Mind: Thoughts on an Ancient and a Contemporary Technique of Meditation,” Religion East and West 3 (June, 2003) 79-90

 “The Upanishads,” Sufi 32 (Winter 1996-97) 26-33

“Mysticism: A Hardheaded Definition for a Romantic Age,” Studia Mystica I:1 (1978) 36-57.

“St. Augustine’s Sadhana,” The Mountain Path 14 (1977) 11-12

“Blessed are the Poor,” (Tr. and commentary on Mathew V:4-16), The Mountain Path 8 (1971)

“Paul’s Hymn to Love,”  The Mountain Path 7 (1970) 121-123.



Review Articles:

Discussion of Alan Dundes, “The Hero Pattern and the Life of Jesus,” along with article in Colloquy 25: Center for Hermeneutical Studies (Berkeley, 1977) 44-48

“How Does an Oral Poem Mean?,” review of: Berkeley Peabody, The Winged Word (Albany, 1975) in Arion n.s. 3:365-77 (1976).


Reviews (selection):

Richard Deats, Mahatma Gandhi, Nonviolent Liberator: a Biography (New City, 2005), in The Acorn 13:1 (Fall-Winter, 2005-2006) 44f.

B. R. Nanda, In Search of Gandhi: Essays and Reflections (Oxford, 2002), in International Journal on World Peace 22:2 (June, 2005) 99-92

Stanley Wolpert, Gandhi’s Passion (Oxford, 2001), in Yoga Journal (October, 2001) 159-161

Murray Polner and Jim O’Grady, Disarmed and Dangerous: The Radical Lives and Times of Daniel and Philip Berrigan (New York: Basic Books, 1997), in Peace & Change 24:3 (1999) 437-440

Thomas Weber, Gandhi’s Peace Army: The Shanti Sena and International Peacekeeping (Syracuse University, 1996), in Gardenia 4:2 (Winter, 1997) 1

Michael True, An Energy Field More Intense than War (Syracuse University, 1996), in Fellowship (January/February, 1997) 18

Per Herngren: Path of Resistance: The Practice of Civil Disobedience (New Society, 1993), in Peace and Change 20:2 (1995) 285f.

Robert Bauslaugh, The Concept of Neutrality in Classical Greece, (University of California, 1991) in Religious Studies Review


M.S. Silk, Homer: The Iliad (Landmarks of World Literature: Cambridge U.P., 1987) in Journal of Hellenic Studies

Charles Segal, Pindar's Mythmaking: The Fourth Pythian Ode (Princeton U.P., 1986) in Religious Studies Review

Friedrich Solmsen, Isis Among the Greeks and Romans, in Classical Philology 78:1 (1983) 81-83

Eknath Easwaran, Dialogue with Death (Petaluma, Ca.: Nilgiri Press, 1980) in Studia Mystica 5:2 (1982) 74-77

Harald Patzer, Dichterische Kunst und poetisches Handwerk im homerischen Epos (Wiesbaden, 1972) in Classical World 68 (1974) 187ff.

Patricia Merivale, Pan the Goat-God: His Myth in Modern Times, (Cambridge, Mass., 1969), in Western Folklore (1971) 297ff.

Albrecht Dihle, Homer Probleme (Opladen, 1970), in Classical World 65:131ff (1971)

P.L. Henry, The Early English and Celtic Lyric (London, 1966) in English Studies 52 (1971)

Brian Wilkie, Romantic Poets and Epic Tradition, (Wisconsin, 1965) in Comparative Literature 19:380-1 (1967)


Journalistic and Occasional Writings (brief selection):

“Of Hope and Disappointment,” West Marin Citizen, 2:33 (February 12, 2009)

“Fight Violence with Nonviolence” (with Rolf Carriere), Christian Science Monitor, (March 27, 2008)

“What would the world be like if we followed Gandhi,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat (November 27, 2004)

“‘Constructive work’ toward peace,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat (February 28, 2003)

“Give peace workers a chance,” San Jose Mercury News (Wed., May 12, 1993)

“Nonviolence Can Prevent War,” single-issue newspaper edited by Glenn Smiley, 1993

“Trivializing War,” Los Angeles Times (Sunday, November 11, 1990)

“Meditation and the Challenge of Peace,” Pax Christi (March 12, 1986) 11-13

“Taboos,” San Francisco Chronicle (June 24, 1984) 8

“Toward Abolishing War,” Christianity and Crisis 40:20 (December 8, 1980) 349-352.



“Strength Through Peace,” in Foell and Nenneman (Edd.), How Peace Came to the World (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1986) 151-159 (Winning entries of Christian Science Monitor 2010 international essay contest)

Poem: “For Roberta,” Love Letter 7 (1969).


Published Interviews (brief selection):


“A Gandhian Abroad,” At a Glance December, 2007, p.49

“Nonviolence as a Spiritual Force and a Path to Social Change,” Part I: Lilipoh, Summer, 2007, 51f; Part II Autumn, 2007, 52f

“Nonviolence: the Link Between Spiritual Development and Social Change,” Sentient Times (April-May, 2006), 10-11

“A passionate voice for peace – and nonviolence,” San Francisco Chronicle (February 28, 2003)

“Self-contained country spells national tragedy,” Jakarta Post (April 17, 2003)

“Choosing a nonviolent Path,” Petaluma Argus Courrier (April 24, 2002)

“Peace and a Nonviolent Future,” Pacific Sun (December, 2002 – cover story)

“Michael Nagler: Search for Truth,” Sequoia: Newsletter of Religion and Society (SF: Fall, 2002)

“A conversation with Michael Nagler,” California Monthly (December, 2001)

“O.J. Mania: American Tragedy,” by Shann Nix, in La Guardia and Guth, Ameriican Voices (1995), 440-446

“Author plans nonviolent video game,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat (Sunday, March 26, 1995)

Joan O'Connell, Religion Editor, San Jose Mercury News (Sunday, March 2, 1991)

“Dreaming the Dream: UC Professor Wins MacArthur Grant,” Shann Nix, Berkeley Beat (August 29, 1988) 23 & 34

Dennis Paulson, Ed. Voices of Survival (Santa Barbara: Capra, 1986) 253-255

“Can Violence be Outgrown?,” The Tarrytown Letter (May, 1984) 3-6

“‘Peace Armies’ being trained in non-violence,”  Santa Rosa Press Democrat (May 16, 1983).