David Cortright

Professor Emeritus of the Practice

David Cortright

100 Hesburgh Center for International Studies
Notre Dame, IN 46556

Phone: 574-298-8584
Fax: (574) 631-6973

Areas of Expertise: Nonviolent social change; nuclear disarmament; use of multilateral sanctions and incentives as tools of international peacemaking

Cortright is the author or co-editor of 22 books, including A Peaceful Superpower: Lessons from the World’s Largest Antiwar Movement (New York: New Village Press, 2023), and Governance for Peace: How Inclusive, Participatory and Accountable Institutions Promote Peace and Prosperity, co-authored with Conor Seyle and Kristin Wall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), which was selected by Choice as an outstanding academic title of the year. 

Other works by Cortright include the second edition of Gandhi and Beyond: Nonviolence for a New Political Age (Paradigm, 2009), and  Peace: A History of Movements and Ideas (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Cortright and George A. Lopez have written or co-edited a series of major works on multilateral sanctions, including Smart Sanctions (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002), Sanctions and the Search for Security (Lynne Rienner, 2002) and The Sanctions Decade (Rienner, 2000). Cortright also is editor of The Price of Peace: Incentives and International Conflict Prevention (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).

Cortright has provided research services to the foreign ministries of Canada, Denmark, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, and has served as consultant or advisor to the United Nations, Catholic Relief Services, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, the International Peace Academy, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Cortright has a long history of public advocacy for disarmament and the prevention of war. As an active duty soldier during the Vietnam War, he spoke against that conflict. In 1978, Cortright was named executive director of SANE, the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, which under his leadership grew from 4,000 to 150,000 members and became the largest disarmament organization in the United States. He also was actively involved in the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s. In November 2002, he helped create Win Without War, a coalition of national organizations that opposed the invasion of Iraq and works for demilitarized national security strategies.

After graduating with a B.A. in history from the University of Notre Dame in 1968, Cortright earned an M.A. degree in history from New York University. He completed doctoral studies in political science at the Union Institute in residence at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

Recent Work

Op-Ed: I Never Expected to Protest the Vietnam War While on Active Duty (New York Times)

News: Activists Call for Realistic Portrayal of Vietnam War on a Pentagon Website (New York Times)

Book Chapter: David Cortright, “From Past to Present: Gandhi’s Relevance for Today,” in Gandhi’s Wisdom: Insights from the Founding Father of Modern Psychology in the East, eds. V.K.Kool and Rita Agrawal (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).

Journal article: Cortright, D. (2022), "Dissent, Democracy, and the Military." Peace & Change, 47: 190-195. https://doi.org/10.1111/pech.12486

Jornal article: Cortright, D. (2022), "A nuclear reckoning." Peace &Change. 2022; 00: 1– 3. https://doi.org/10.1111/pech.12550

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Curriculum Vitae