Department Spotlight

Professor's Writing, Research Attracts National Exposure

Psychology Professor and Edward B. Lindaman Chair James Waller's research and writing on racial prejudice, collective violence and social injustice are garnering national and international attention, and are moving Waller to the forefront of public dialogue on critical social issues.

Waller's book, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (2002, Oxford University Press), was praised in a July 2002 Publishers Weekly review for "clearly and effectively synthesizing a wide range of studies to develop an original and persuasive model of the processes by which people can become evil." The book was included in an Oct. 2002 New York Times column by Edward Rothstein, was selected as a finalist for the Raphael Lemkin Award for Outstanding Book Published in 2001-2002 from the International Association of Genocide Scholars, and is being adapted as a play at UCLA.

"Most scholars believe that present-day population growth, land resources, energy consumption, and per-capita consumption cannot be sustained without leading to even more catastrophic human conflict," Waller says. "These facts, coupled with the harsh reality that our nation now teeters on the brink of war, make essential our continuing search for understanding the origins -- and, more importantly, prevention -- of social evil, collective violence, and group conflict."

Waller has an agreement with Oxford University Press to write two additional books on social evil and is writing a series of articles and book reviews in professional journals. He is also serving as the general editor for Deliver Us from Evil: Genocide and the Christian World, a volume of papers resulting from a seminar that Waller led at Whitworth last summer.

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