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Bonnie Price Lofton is the university’s editor-in-chief. She oversees writings intended for public dissemination, including EMU’s print and online publications, Crossroads for alumni, and Peacebuilder for constituents of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding.
Bonnie has worked in newspaper, magazine and newsletter publishing since 1977. She has been a writer or an editor for the Montreal Gazette newspaper, the Canadian Press wire service, the Richmond News Leader, the Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Va.), the University of Virginia, Duke University, and a publisher of corporate newsletters. She has also worked in the Cambridge (UK) advertising department of Science magazine and as public relations director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Bonnie has earned: a bachelor’s degree in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she was editor-in-chief of the daily student newspaper; a master’s degree in conflict transformation from EMU; and a doctor of letters (D.Litt.) from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
B.A., McGill University, 1975
M.A., Eastern Mennonite University, 2004
D.Litt., Drew University, 2012
“Does Restorative Justice Challenge Systemic Injustices?” in Critical Issues in Restorative Justice (2004), edited by Howard Zehr and Barb Toews.
ABSTRACT of doctoral dissertation:
Many of the beliefs and practices that have traditionally characterized Mennonites—a Christian sect that hews to pacifism, simple living, and egalitarian lay-centered communities—run counter to those that underpin America’s prevailing socio-economic system. Since the sixteenth century Mennonites have taken one of two paths when at variance with the society in which they are embedded: (1) they have retreated into their own insular, rural communities and thus retained their distinctive beliefs and practices, or (2) they have engaged with the dominant society, ultimately losing their distinctive characteristics and becoming assimilated. In the United States today, Mennonites who have left their farm roots since World War II and sought higher education are taking the second path, with signs of assimilation already evident. A survey of 58 artists of Mennonite origin conducted for this dissertation found that many felt circumscribed by their communities. About half of them expressed positive feelings about leaving the Mennonite church and losing some of their Mennonite distinctiveness. Yet a strong majority of the survey respondents also acknowledged debt to their forbears in giving them a valuable alternative lens for viewing and living in the larger world. Ironically, many non-Mennonite sociologists are calling for all Americans to embrace the community-rooted, spiritually oriented values that a large number of modern Mennonites are relinquishing. This dissertation posits that few people can consistently uphold alternatives to the dominant socio-economic paradigm without being part of a community that seeks to embody that vision. It concludes by suggesting that the world needs the alternative value system embodied in the Mennonite church-community tradition. This tradition will disappear, however, as a positive countervailing force in the modern world unless Mennonites choose to forgo some of the individualism of mainstream society and voluntarily commit themselves to church-communities that hew to agreed-upon biblical values, handle conflicts healthily, and accept the wide range of members’ views and expressive gifts.