Minch, Michael L
Professor - Philosophy & Humanities
LA 121
(801) 863-7482
Mail Code:
Last Updated: 10/24/18 -


B.A. in History from Grand Canyon College; Phoenix, AZ
M.Div. from the Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Philadelphia, PA
Ph.D. work in Theological Ethics at Drew University; Madison, NJ
Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Utah; Salt Lake City, UT

Areas of Specialization and Research

I work in conflict transformation and peacebuilding (including negotiation and mediation, theories of violence, and reconciliation), theories of justice, and global justice.  I also work in political and moral theory, and in particular, the connections between them; democratic theory and democratic peace theory, political ecology and political theology.  

Papers Presented

“A Critique of Communitarianism: When Baptists Go Bad” at Baylor University, 1999.

“Freedom Beyond Berlin: A Communitarian View of Liberty” at Southern Utah University, April 2001.

“The Strong Poet of the Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Humankind: Poesis and Mortality in Richard Rorty and Michael Oakeshott” at Utah Valley University, 2001.

“On Mormonism and America: An Essay” at Utah Valley University, 2001.

“Epistemic Virtue: On the Nature of Truth” at Utah Valley University, 2001.

“An Anabaptist Perspective on Violence and Religion” at Utah Valley University’s Annual Religion and the Humanities Conference, October 2001.

“Theistic Evolution: Christian Reflection on Darwinian Science” at Utah Valley University, 2002.

“On Postmodern Patriotism: Can Liberals be Patriotic?” at Utah Valley University’s fourth Annual Conference by the Faculty, September 2002.

“Can Liberal Theory be Radical?” at the Society of Radical Philosophy, Brown University, November 2002.

“Setting the Captives Free: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Intolerable Offense of Slavery” at Utah Valley University’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference, 2003.

“On Just War Theory and Iraq” at Utah Valley University, 2003.

“What to do about Saddam” at Utah Valley University, 2003.

“The Politics of Jesus” at Salt Lake Theological Seminary, 2003; and at a Utah Valley University Philosophy Colloquium, Fall 2003.

“Hobbes: Lessons from the First Great English Philosopher,” for Utah Valley University’s “Great Thinkers” Lecture Series, Fall 2003.

“Political Ecology and the Question of Sustainability: The Need for Democracy and Civil Society” at the sixth Annual Conference by the Faculty at Utah Valley University, September 2004.

“When Soldiers Aren’t Heroes” at the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities co-sponsored by the Asia Pacific Institute of Peking University, the East-West Council for Education, and the University of Louisville Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods, January 2005.

“Democratic Civil Society Under the Burden of Empire” at the seventeenth Annual Meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, June 2005.

“Loving Nature and Imaging God: A Sketch for a Political Theology of Nature” at the Salt Lake Theological Seminary, July 2006.

“Beyond Rawls, Habermas, and Dryzek: Radical and Green Democratic Theory” at the Annual Meeting of the Radical Philosophy Association, Omaha, November 4, 2006.

“Jesus: God Made Poor” at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Conference, Utah Valley University, January 17, 2007.

“Democracy, Equality, and Economy: Necessary Trends” at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, Copenhagen, June 30, 2007.

“Forgiveness as Political Practice and Economy: Double Negation and Reconciliation” at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Conferecne at Utah Valley University, January 2008.

“Why Justice must be Global Justice” at the twenty-first annual Environmental Ethics Conference at Utah Valley University, April 2008.

“Democratic Virtues as a Means to Overcome Democratic Deficits and Provide Hope” at the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, University of Costa Rica, July 22, 2008.

“With and Beyond Pogge’s Brief for a Global Resource Dividend: A Sketch” at First Unitarian Church, Salt Lake City, October 10, 2008.

“Democracy as Music, Music as Democracy” at the Radical Philosophy Association, San Francisco State University, November 7, 2008.

“Thoughts about Words and Definitions with Special Reference to the Words ‘Christian’ and ‘Christianity’” at Utah Valley University, November 12, 2008.

“Living Obliquely: Education for Democracy” at the Grace A. Tanner Symposium on Culture and Democracy” at Southern Utah University, January 23, 2009.

"On Secularism and Politics" at the "Secularism Revisited" conference sponsored by the Religious Studies Committee at Utah Valley University, February 2, 2009.

“The Politics of Jesus: Theopolitical Vision and Commission” at the annual Religion and Public Life symposium at Salt Lake Community College, March 12, 2009.

“Democracy: Can it be Rescued and Rebuilt?” at the eigth annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, January 13, 2010; and the Grace A. Tanner Symposium on Language, Rhetoric, and Democracy at Southern Utah University, January 22, 2010.

“Morality 101 and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:  Who Owes What to Whom and Why” at Utah Valley University, March 9, 2010.

“On Boundaries and Frames and the Erasure of ‘War’ and ‘Peace’” at the seventh annual Global Conference on War and Peace, Prague, the Czech Republic, April 30-May 2, 2010; and the annual meeting of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Canada, October, 2010.

“Christian Socialism: Past, Present, and Future Hope” at Salt Lake Community College, October 12, 2010.

"On the Legitimacy and Value of Violence" at Utah Valley University, organized by the Revolutionary Student Union, January 25, 2011.

"Learning from C. S. Lewis" for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for community members at Utah Valley University, August 11, 2011.

“The Palestinian Karios Document as an Unintended Contribution to Conflict Transformation Theory and Practice,” at the Annual Meeting of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, Memphis, Tennessee, October, 2011.

“Justice as Restoration” at the seventh annual Restorative Justice and Death Penalty Symposium, Utah Valley University, November 3, 2011.

"Notes on Religion, Violence, and America" at the Questioning Minds Forum, Salt Lake City Main Library, September 9, 2012.

"Freedom of Speech in the United States: How We Have Too Much of It, and Not Enough" for the Revolutionary Student Union at Salt Lake Community College, September 11, 2012.

"Human Development, Anthropogenic Climate Change, and the Demands of Justice" at the annual Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference, Tufts University, October 5, 2012; and the Intermountain Philosophy Conference, University of Utah, October 26, 2012.

"Art and Peacebuilding: Synergies and Casual Relationships" at the fourth annual International Conference on Peace and Reconciliation, co-sponsored by Hebrew University and York St. John University, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, November 6-9, 2012.

"The Ethics of Power and the Power of  Ethics: Conflict Transformation as Power Diffusion" at the annual Peace and Justice Studies Association Conference, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, October 18, 2013.

"Acting for Peace and Justice: How Theater Transforms Conflict" for the Department of Theater Arts and others at Utah Valley University, November 12, 2013.

"The Essene Option Among the Alternatives: The Jesus Movement and How to Achieve Peace and Justice" for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at the Leonardo Museum, February 1, 2014, Salt Lake City.

"Summit: The Sustainable Mountain Development and Conflict Transformation Global Database" lecture and demonstration at the annual J. Bonner Ritchie Dialogue on Peace and Justice, "Sustainable Development: Building Peace, Prosperity, and Human Security in the 21st Century," February 26, 2014, Utah Valley University.

"Global Democracy: A Preliminary and Minimal Proposal" at the David R. Keller Memorial Symposium, March 5, 2014, Utah Valley University.


“Anabaptism” in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Violence, Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, ed. (New York: Rutledge, 2004).

“On Postmodern Patriotism” and “Political Ecology and the Question of Sustainability” above have been published by the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University.

“When Soldiers Aren’t Heroes” in the Fall 2004 issue of Teaching Ethics.

Living Ethics, with Christine Weigel (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage, 2008); second edition, 2011.

The Democratic Theory of Michael Oakeshott: Contingency, Discourse, and “the Politics of Conversation” (Charlottesville, VA: Imprint Academic, 2009).

“Democracy as Music, Music as Democracy,” with Clifton Sanders, Radical Philosophy Review, Vol. 12. Nos.1 and 2 (2009).

“Living Obliquely: Education for Democracy,” Proceeds from the Grace A. Tanner Symposium on Culture and Democracy, January 2010.

“Democracy Talk: Can It Rescue and Rebuild Democracy?,”  Political Rhetoric and Leadership in Democracy, Lee Trepanier, ed. (Cedar City: Southern Utah University Press, 2011), 49-66.

The following articles in The Encyclopedia of Global Justice, Deen Chatterjee, ed. (New York: Springer, 2011):

“Amnesty International”
“Corporate Social Responsibility”
“Deliberative Democracy”
“Democratic Peace Theory”
“Global Civil Society”
“Hobbes, Thomas”
“Human Rights Watch”
“Liberation Theology”
“Political Ecology”

“Trinitarian Economics” in Ryan McIlhenny, ed., Render Unto God (New York: Cambridge Scholars Press, forthcoming, 2014).

Review of Pippa Norris, Making Democratic Governance Work: How Regimes Shape Prosperity, Welfare, and Peace (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013) in Peace Research: The Canadian Journal of Peace and Conflict Studies, Vo. 44, No. 1 (2012).

"The Ethics of Power and the Power of Ethics: Conflict Transformation as Power Diffusion," and "Human Development, Anthropogenic Climate Change, and the Demands
and Innovations of Justice," in Randall Amster, Laura Finley, and Richard McCutcheon, eds., Peace and Conflict Studies: Between Tradition and Innovation (New York: Cambridge Scholars Press, forthcoming, 2014).

I am currently working on a book tentatively entitled, Democratic Virtues: Peace and a Livable Future to be submitted for contract in 2014.

Current Work

    The Sustainable Mountain Development and Conflict Transformation Global

I am building what I intend to become the world's premier database of its kind, entitled the Sustainable Mountain Development and Conflict Transformation Global Database.  This database will collect data from an extraordinarily wide field of sources, from around the globe, and categorize them in many different ways.  Not only will scholars and researchers use this tool, but so too will governments, multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, NGOs and INGOs.  The database will be a location for asset and resource transfer  from micro-hydroelectric technology, to water and food security systems, to democratization movements, to climate change engagement, to funding sources, and include many other categories of data.  The database will grow over the coming decades, employ researchers and technicians, create and utilize a global research network, and improve the lives of many thousands.  I am now working with a team of assistants, developing the database architecture and the website that will "front" the database, developing a network of people at various universities around the world, and developing funding from sources across the U.S.  In July 2013 I met with various organizations in Washington D.C. for purposes of partnerships in this endeavor.  They included the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the (international) Mountain Partnership, the Millennium Institute, and the American Councils for International Education.     

    The Conflict and Peace Research Center in the Balkans

I have been working with a colleague at North Argenti University in Shkoder, Albania, to build a Conflict, Peace, and Justice Studies master's program at his university (I signed the Memorandum of Understanding to this effect with the NAU President in August 2013 and the Ministry of Education authorized the program in September 2013).  We are also developing a Conflict and Peace Research Center in the Balkans with faculty and administrators of universities, and NGO officials, from across the Balkans.  This Research Center is a consortium of academic programs and NGOs.    

    Central Asia and the Ferghana Valley

Following my trip to Bishkek and Osh, the Kyrgyz Republic in November 2013, where I spoke at four universities, a National Academy of Sciences conference, and met with university administrators, faculty, NGO officials, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, I will continue my plans to conduct research and peacebuilding seminars and workshops in the Ferghana Valley.  This valley of ten million residents is shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, and is the location of serious ethno-political conflict and violence.  

    Fulbright Specialist Program

In spring 2013 I was awarded a Fulbright under this auspices of this program. Within the next five years I will use the Fulbright twice to teach, consult, conduct research, and work in two locations where my expertise is needed and requested.  I plan on using the Fulbright in the Balkans and in the Ferghana Valley (where I will be based at the Osh Technological University, in the Krygyz Republic).  My primary work in the Balkans will be teaching faculty in conflict transformation and peacebuilding pedagogy, etc., and developing the Conflict, Peace, and Justice Research Center in the Balkans.  My primary work in the Ferghana Valley will be teaching and developing faculty, and conducting mediation events with Uzbek and Kyrgyz citizens.       

    Peace and Justice Study Abroad Programs

I have envisioned and developed study abroad programs to Northern Ireland, Haiti, Russia (all of which I direct), the Middle East, and Cuba.  Each of these programs has a specific purpose that is unique and related to important matters of conflict transformation and peacebuilding.  I have been asked to develop additional programs and have met with Ugandan university administrators; NGO officials from Mali; and Nepalese academics, government officials, and NGO directors toward this end.  I might also extend the Russian program to Central Asia and/or the Ukraine; and/or develop a program in the Balkans.  In the past four years I have raised $96,000 in external grant funding to support these programs.    

    Union of Guinean Students in the Americas

Guinea Bissau is controlled by an authoritarian government that cares little for human rights or democracy, and has become a haven and agent for the illicit drug trade.  Young Guineans fortunate to leave this chronically and acutely poor country often go to Brazil for university study (because of the use of Portuguese in each country).  Of course, Guinean students go to university throughout the Americas.  A number of these students formed the Union of Guinean Students in the Americas precisely to develop nonviolent strategies for replacing the regime now seated and to democratize their country.  I have been a mentor to this group of Guinean students both as they developed the UGSA, and as they continue to develop their strategies and long term plans.  I was in Rio de Janeiro December 18-20, 2013, presenting to, and consulting with, the UGSA, and will be in Fortaleza, Brazil in July, 2014.        

Organizational Memberships

Research Liaison, Board of Directors, the Peace and Justice Studies Association
Peace and Collaborative Development Network
The International Peace Research Association
The Radical Philosophy Association
The Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

I have taught or teach:

PHIL 2050 and 205G: Ethics and Values
PHIL 1610: Introduction to Western Religions
PHIL 1620:  Introduction to Eastern Religions
PHIL 3700: Social and Political Philosophy
PHIL 450R: The Philosophy of Liberalism
PHIL 450R: Contemporary Political Philosophy
PHIL 451R: Virtue Ethics
PHIL 3510: Introduction to Christian Theology
PHIL 3530: Environmental Ethics
PHIL 450R: Religious Traditions and Nature
PHIL 3540: Christian Ethics
PHIL 450R: The World After 9/11
PHIL 450R: Senior Ethics Seminar: Ethics Bowl
PHIL 450R: Democratic Theory and the Democratic Peace Theory
PHIL 486R: Citizenship, Republicanism, and Democracy Across Borders
PJST 3000: Introduction to Peace and Justice Studies
PJST 3020: The Ethics of War and Peace
PHIL 490R: International Political Economy and Globalization
PHIL 450R: Gandhi, King, West, Marx, and Prophetic Politics
PHIL 366R: Liberation Theology
PHIL 450R: Democracy and the Democratic Peace Theory
PJST 475R:  Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding
HONR 499R:  Nonviolent Resistance: Theory, Strategy, and Analysis

Other Academic Work

Director, Peace and Justice Studies Program, 2003-present.
Director, Summit: The Sustainable Mountain development and Conflict Transformation
               Global Database.
Chair, Philosophy and Humanities Department, Utah Valley University, 2009-2012.

I have organized, or helped organize, 41 conferences and symposia at Utah Valley State College/University; and the 2012 and 2013 Peace and Justice Studies Association conferences.  I have participated in over 63 panel discussions.

Recipient of the the 2008 Gandhi Peace Award from the Utah Gandhi Peace Alliance.

Recipient of the Dean's Award of Excellence, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Utah Valley University, 2013.

Recipient of the Utah Valley University Faculty Senate Award for Teaching Excellence, 2014.

I serve on the UVU Religious Studies Committee.

I have raised $174,340 off campus for Peace and Justice Studies since 2011.  Peace and Justice Studies receives no hard/dedicated funding from Utah Valley University.