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Dr. Michelle I. Gawerc

Full Professor

Michelle I. Gawerc joined Loyola in 2011. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Boston College in 2010. Prior to her doctoral studies, she pursued and completed an M.S.W. at Boston College and a M.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame. Her B.A. consisted of an individually structured major designated as, “Prejudice and Intercultural Communication” from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Dr. Gawerc's book Prefiguring PeaceMichelle has a strong scholarly interest in the ways in which people accomplish working across difference and inequality to advocate collectively for justice and peace. Much of Michelle’s past research has focused on joint Palestinian and Israeli coalitions, movements, and organizations working to advance a just peace in Israel/Palestine. Her research has considered how Israeli and Palestinian peace activists cultivate (and sustain) a sense of solidarity and collective identity across lines of conflict and occupation, and what enables some alliances to survive when others are not. More broadly, her research explores the sustaining importance of diverse alliances, from when and why they form, to how they develop and sustain themselves across ethno-national, ideological, and cultural divides.

Michelle's current research focuses on truth commissions for racial and indigenous justice and transformation in the United States. She's exploring how truth commissions in the United States reckon with the past in a context of 400+ years of systemic racial violence and settler colonialism, and what are their possibilities and limitations for promoting racial justice and social transformation. She recently had a state of the field analysis of truth commissions in the Global North published in Sociology Compass.

Dr Gawerc smiling with two children in a classroomMichelle is a recipient of several honors and awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowship, and a United Nations Memorial Fellowship Award from the American Sociological Association's Peace War and Social Conflict Section. 

Michelle’s intellectual work has been driven by her dedication to peace, justice, and understanding. She has been involved as a facilitator in people-to-people dialogue with teachers and high school students in Israel/Palestine; in German-Polish-Jewish interchanges with young adults in Osweicim (Auschwitz), Poland; and in diversity dialogues with university and secondary school students in the United States. Beyond her involvement in peacebuilding and fostering dialogue across divides, Michelle has worked as a community organizer in New York City, and has lived and served on both the Dine (Navajo) Reservation and in Bahia de Kino, Mexico.


At Loyola, Michelle teaches courses in sociology and global studies including: Introduction to Sociology; Globalization and Society; Conflict and Peace Studies; Social Movements and Social Protest; Israel/Palestine: Conflict Narratives, Media Framing, and Peace-building; and Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation in Divided Societies. She believes strongly in active learning and participatory methods.

Courses Taught

  • SC 100 - Introduction to Sociology
  • SC 203 - Globalization and Society
  • SC 339 - Conflict and Peace Studies
  • SC 376 - Israel-Palestine: Conflict Narratives, Media Framing, and Peace-Building
  • SC 377 - Social Movements and Social Protest
  • SC 441 - Seminar: Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation in Divided Societies



Articles and book chapters