James McCarty

Assistant Clinical Professor of Religion and Conflict Transformation; Director, Tom Porter Religion and Conflict Transformation Program

James W. McCarty is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research sits at the intersections of Peace Studies and Christian Ethics. In particular, he is interested in the ways that social forces shape our moral lives and the ways that moral agency is exercised toward social transformation in the everyday lives of those most negatively impacted by those forces. He researches these dynamics in social and political practices such as peacebuilding, truth and reconciliation commissions, nonviolent social change, and racial justice and human rights activism. He has also written about the theological ethics of Martin Luther King Jr. and Desmond Tutu. His essays have appeared in journals of theology, ethics, and law.

In addition to his research, McCarty is a minister and activist. He has worked in congregational and campus ministries in Washington, Georgia, and California. He has also been a restorative justice, transformative justice, and conflict transformation practitioner in the United States and East Africa. Particular peace and justice practices in which he has both practical and research expertise include peacemaking circles, nonviolent direct action, truth and reconciliation commissions, and organizational change regarding issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism.

McCarty is a past co-convener of the Asian and Asian American Working Group of the Society of Christian Ethics and is a general editor of the book series The Business of Modern Life. Prior to coming to BU, he held administrative and teaching positions at Emory University, Seattle University, and the University of Washington.

He teaches courses in conflict transformation, restorative justice, peacebuilding, and community organizing.



Edited Volumes

The Business of Incarceration: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Prison-Industrial Complex. Co-edited with Justin Bronson Barringer and Sarah Frances Farmer. (Eugene: Cascade Books, in progress, expected 2023).

The Business of War: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Military-Industrial Complex. Co-edited with Mathew A. Tapie and Justin Bronson Barringer (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2020).

Violence and Peace, Special Issue of Practical Matters: A Journal of Religious Practices and Practical Theology (March 1, 2012). Co-edited with Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon.

Journal Articles

McCarty, James W. “‘Hope is a Discipline’: Practicing Moral Imagination in Transformative Justice.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 43.1 (accepted, expected publication in spring/summer 2023)

McCarty, James W. “The Power of Hope in the Work of Justice: Christian Ethics after Despair.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 40.1 (2020): 39-57.

McCarty III, James W. “New Directions in International Justice,” Journal of Law and Religion 29.1 (2014): 197-205.

McCarty III, James W. “A Paradoxical Theology of Biology: Desmond Tutu’s Social Ethics in Light of His Sermon at Southwark Cathedral.” Theology and Sexuality 19.1 (2013): 89-97.

McCarty III, James W. “The Embrace of Justice: The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Miroslav Volf, and the Ethics of Reconciliation,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 33.2 (2013): 111-129.

Pae, Keun-joo Christine and McCarty III, James W. “The Hybridized Public Sphere: Asian American Christian Ethics, Social Justice, and Public Discourse,” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 32.1 (2012): 93-114.

McCarty III, James W. “Nonviolent Law? Linking Nonviolent Social Change and Truth and Reconciliation Commissions,” West Virginia Law Review 114.3 (2012): 969-1005.

Nichols, Joel A., and McCarty III, James W. “When the State is Evil: Biblical Civil (Dis)Obedience in South Africa,” St. John’s Law Review 85.2 (2011): 593-625.

Selected Book Chapters

Laurent, Inga, James W. McCarty, and Barb Toews, “Restorative Justice in Washington State,” The International Encyclopedia of Restorative Justice: North America Volume (forthcoming)

McCants-Turner, Johonna and McCarty, James W. “Prison-Industrial Complex Abolition and Transformative Justice: A Primer for Christians.” In The Business of Incarceration: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Prison-Industrial Complex (Cascade Books, forthcoming).

McCarty, James W. “Desmond Tutu and the Spiritual Practice of Protest with and Against the Church.” In Against the Church, For the Church: 20th Century Christian Dissent, eds. Kyle D. Bennett, Noah Toly, and Myles Werntz (Lexington/Fortress Academic Press, forthcoming).

McCarty, James. “Building Peace in a Violent Nation: A Kingian Response to the Interconnected Violence of Racism, Materialism, and Militarism.” In The Business of War: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Military-Industrial Complex (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2020): 179-192.

McCarty III, James W. “‘The Gods Will Not Save You’: On Teaching Ethics with The Wire,” in The Wire in the College Classroom: Pedagogical Approaches in the Humanities, eds. Karen Dillon and Naomi Crummey (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015): 127-42.

McCarty III, James W. “Reading Differently,” in Reading Theologically, ed. Eric D. Barreto (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014): 95-108.

Nichols, Joel A. and McCarty III, James W. “Civil Law and Civil Disobedience: The Early Church and the Law,” in Law and the Bible: Justice, Mercy, and Legal Institutions, eds. Robert F. Cochran Jr. and David Van Drunen (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2013): 183-207.

Other Publications

McCarty, James W., Matthew A. Tapie, and Justin Bronson Barringer.  Excerpt from The Business of War: Theological and Ethical Reflections on the Military-Industrial Complex in Canopy Forum: On the Intersections of Law and Religion:

McCarty, James W. “Transformative Justice is Resistance to the Military-Industrial Complex,” as part of symposium dedicated to The Business of War:

McCarty, James W. Introduction to Syndicate symposium on Disciplined by Race: Theological Ethics and the Problem of Asian American Identity:

Faculty Types