College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies > Faculty > Ken Butigan

Ken Butigan

Ken Butigan, Ph.D. is Professor of Practice in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Program at DePaul. He has worked in a series of movements for social change, including campaigns addressing homelessness, nuclear weapons, freedom for East Timor, and the US wars in Iraq.  In the 1980s he was a founder and national coordinator of the Pledge of Resistance, which for nearly a decade mobilized nonviolent action for peace in Central America. 

Dr. Butigan is a strategy consultant with Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service, which has trained tens of thousands of people in the power of nonviolent change and which organizes Campaign Nonviolence, a long-term, nationwide effort seeking to foster a more nonviolent culture free from war, poverty, racism and environmental destruction. 4,630 events were organized across the US and around the world during its annual Days of Action, September 21-October 2, 2022.

Dr. Butigan serves on the Executive Committee of Pax Christi International's Catholic Nonviolence Initiative. He has published seven books, including Pilgrimage through a Burning World: Spiritual Practice and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site; Nonviolent Lives; and From Violence to Wholeness.  Dr. Butigan earned his Ph.D. in the Historical and Cultural Studies of Religions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where he researched nonviolence in a range of religious traditions.

Teaching Philosophy:

My philosophy of education is that the classroom is a transformative space where all students can discover and deepen their capacities as human beings and as agents of change in their lives and their world.  In this space we seek to foster a collaborative learning community in which students: feel safe and motivated to engage with one another in respectful, creative and empowering ways; work toward meeting clear learning objectives and outcomes; engage a range of learning modalities (interactive small and large group discussions, lectures, readings, videos) and skill-sets (writing, group design, role-play, problem-solving, action strategies); often experience impressive guest presenters; research daunting contemporary challenges; create innovative solutions; and present significant findings to one another. 

My enduring hope is that students leave these courses with deeper wisdom, purpose, confidence, and a sense of their own power, along with a toolkit for putting it into practice.  As I say incessantly in my classes, “You have more power than you think," and I design these courses to help them discover—and act on—this truth. Some of the ways we do this include reflecting, in safe space, on the dynamics of injustice and violence – including the systemic violence of white supremacy, gender inequality, economic inequity, and environmental destruction—and the transformative power of restorative justice and anti-racist, nonviolent alternatives. 

In these courses, we often meet people working for justice in the present moment—but we also become familiar with the lineage of change-makers who have come before, whose example teaches us how to live and struggle for a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. Through these processes of study, dialogue, expression, and strategic thinking, students in these classes are invited to build their capacity for the fullness of life going forward, no matter their major, vocation, or future walk of life.​