David Belden

David Belden, PhD

Adjunct Faculty
Bachelor's Completion Program

Dave Belden acquired a BA in modern history and a doctorate in the sociology of religion, both at Oxford University. His enthusiasm for restorative justice (RJ) is expressed in volunteering with the Insight Prison Project at San Quentin, in publishing the first RJ comic book (due out April 2014), and in Tikkun magazine's restorative justice issue (Winter 2012), which he edited. He is a past managing editor of Tikkun and currently works half time with Bay Area Nonviolent Communication. His eclectic life experience includes working with a religious movement in India and Ethiopia, co-founding two worker-owned collectives, one of which launched the first fair trade commodity in Britain (Campaign Coffee), two published science fiction novels, hosting his own radio show, and work as a professional carpenter, corporate contract writer, and college professor (Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY).

Dave Belden acquired a BA in modern history and a D Phil (same as a PhD) in the sociology of religion at Oxford University. The first was done as a good boy obeying parental wishes, the second as a passionate enquiry into the religious movement his parents had raised him in, in an attempt to stave off despair after leaving it, rejecting belief in God, and adopting radical left politics.

At age 32, after a decade in countercultural organizing - including co-founding two worker-owned collectives, one of which launched the first fair trade commodity in England (Campaign Coffee) - and after having spent 30 years in communal houses, he fell in love with an American feminist, emigrated, and went all nuclear family. The stresses of collectives had convinced him that to fulfill their goals cooperative structures required a level of personal maturity and relational skills that were just not yet adequately available in the culture.

Instead he wrote thought experiments to discover why patriarchy had ever got started, in the form of science fiction adventures set in a genderless future (Children of Arable and To Warm The Earth). He supported himself as a carpenter, a business writer, and a college professor teaching sociology to undergrads, who were mostly being obedient children, and social work grad students, who were passionate about understanding society.

With his son in college, Dave got back full time into trying to change the world, looking for groups committed to integrating three elements: structural change, spiritual insight, and the development of personal and relational skills that enable cooperation. After four years as managing editor of Tikkun magazine, he got passionate about restorative justice, which appears to him to embody all three. He volunteers with Sonya Shah and the Insight Prison Project at San Quentin prison and is publishing the first restorative justice comic book (due out April 2014). He works half time for Bay Area Nonviolent Communication.

All this explains why he is thrilled to be teaching at CIIS.