Johonna McCants-Turner

Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies

Johonna McCants-Turner

(519) 885-0220 ext. 24227
Office:  CGUC 2114

BA, College of Arts & Science, University of Missouri, 2002
BJ, Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri, 2002
Graduate Certificate, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Maryland, 2009
Ph.D., Department of American Studies, University of Maryland, 2010
Graduate Certificate, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2015


Research Areas:

Restorative & transformative justice; contemporary social movements; narrative peacebuilding.


Courses Taught:

PACS 201 – “Roots of Conflict, Violence, and Peace” (Winter 2022)
PACS 331 – “Trauma, Healing, and Conflict Resolution” (Fall 2021; Winter 2022)

PACS 603 – “Building Civil Society”  (Fall 2021)



Dr. Johonna McCants-Turner’s scholarship lies at the intersections of restorative and transformative justice, narrative peacebuilding, and contemporary social movements. She is interested in the ways contemporary Black women and youth define and organize against multiple forms of violence while contesting carceral ideologies, institutions, and imaginaries. Her work interrogates how narratives of violence and safety are shaped and reshaped into popular discourse, public policy, and collective praxis. She also maintains a strong interest in the ways liberatory Christian theologies nourish resistance to violence and injustice in the Global South and its North American Diasporas. She is currently at work on a book project on the intersections of restorative justice and womanist theology. As a trainer, scholar, board member, convenor, and co-learner, she has contributed to numerous social justice and community development organizations, and to collaborations, delegations, and multi-disciplinary projects around the world. She currently serves on the advisory board of Life Comes From It, a U.S.-based grantmaking circle for restorative justice, transformative justice, and Indigenous peacemaking initiatives led by Black, Indigenous, People of Color.


Selected Publications:

  • “Can Restorative Justice Make Black Lives Matter in Schools?” Forthcoming in Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight, edited by PRASI –Practitioners Research and Scholarship Institute. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • “Creating Safety for Ourselves.” In Colorizing Restorative Justice, edited by Edward Valandra. St. Paul, Minn: Living Justice Press, 2020.
  • Review of Reina Neufeldt, Ethics for Peacebuilders: A Practical Guide (Rowman and Littlefield, 2016), in Mennonite Quarterly Review. Vol. 99 No. 1., January 2020.
  • “Race, Gender and Restorative Justice: Ten Gifts of a Critical Race Feminist Approach.” University of Richmond Public Law Review. Vol. 23 No. 267 – 29, 2019.
  • “The New Generation of Restorative Justice,” co-authored with Carl Stauffer, in Routledge International Handbook of Restorative Justice. ed. Theo Gavrielides. New York: Routledge, 2019.
  • “Transforming Trauma: Wounded Healing in the Way of Jesus” in Making Peace with Faith: The Challenges of Religion and Peacebuilding, ed. Michelle Garred and Mohammed Abu-Nimer. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017.


Selected Activities: 

Invited Addresses

  • Plenary dialogue with Dr. Brunilda Pali, “The Future of Restorative Justice,” Restorative Justice Over Distance Virtual Symposium. European Forum for Restorative Justice. June 22, 2021.
  • Plenary speaker with Mike Yoder. Child Safety and Protection Network Annual Conference on “Restorative Justice- Repairing the harm caused by abuse.” March 18 - 20, 2021. (Virtual)
  • Keynote speaker. “Facing Violence with Love and Power.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation, Le Moyne College. Syracuse, NY. February 5, 2020.
  • Invited lecture. “Peacebuilding and the Gifts of Faith.” Mindanao State University in Partnership with the Hidden Peacebuilders Network and Ateneo De Manila University. Iligan City, Mindanao, Philippines. January 31, 2020.                          
  • Keynote speaker. “Race, Gender and Restorative Justice.” Restorative Justice Symposium, University of Richmond Law School Public Interest Law Review. Richmond, VA. November 4, 2019.  
  • Plenary speaker, “At the Kitchen Table: Healing and Hope in Christian Community.” Bridge of Hope National Conference. Lancaster, PA. October 4, 2018.
  • Keynote speaker. Summit on Restorative Justice and Alternatives to Prisons. Prison Resistance Project, University of Maryland. College Park, MD. April 7, 2018.  

Academic conference presentations

  • Panelist, “Developments in Restorative and Transformative Justice: A Contemporary Justice Review Panel.”  Paper presentation at the Justice Studies Association Conference, June 3, 2021. (Virtual)
  • Panelist, “Deconstructing Patriarchy: New Diverse, Inclusive and Safe Labor Cultures” (Comments delivered in absentia), 4th Annual Conference on Peacebuilding from a Gender Perspective, Mexico City, Mexico. November 7, 2020. (Virtual)
  • “Transformative Justice: A Critical Race Feminist Approach to Racialized Gender Violence.” Paper presentation at the 4th Annual Conference on Peacebuilding from a Gender Perspective, Mexico City, Mexico. November 6, 2020. (Virtual)
  • “Womanist Peacebuilding Ethics in a Time of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo Movements.” Invited Paper Presentation for Theology and Peacebuilding Consultation, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Elkhart, IN. March 2020.        

Additional presentations and workshops

  • Invited Panelist, “Spiritual Care When Engaging Deep Divisions and Conflict Transformation.” Boston University Tom Porter Program on Religion and Conflict Transformation Fall Retreat. November 2020. (Virtual)
  • Panelist. ‘The Hate U Give’: Film Screening and Panel discussion. D.C. Unity and Justice Fellowship. Miracle Theatre, Washington, D.C. 2019.
  • Convenor and presenter, “Awkward Questions on Faith-Based Peacebuilding.” PeaceCon 2018: Alliance for Peacebuilding Conference. Washington, D.C. October 24–26, 2018.


Fellowships and Awards: 

  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Eastern Mennonite University, 2020.
  • Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship, Open Society Institute, 2007.
  • University Fellowship, The Graduate School, University of Maryland, 2002.