Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Program on Energy and Sustainable Development Stanford University

A supporter of Indonesian militant cleric Abu Bakar Bashir wears a shirt with the image of Osama bin Laden. June 2011.
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June 25, 2013 - CISAC In the News

Terrorism studies: an "unruly field" at universities

Appeared in Chronicle of Higher Education, June 24, 2013

International terrorism has defined the major events of this past decade, yet the academic study of terrorism remains a black sheep at universities. CISAC's Martha Crenshaw and Thomas Hegghammer, along with former CISAC Fellows Jacob Shapiro and Lisa Stampnitzky, talk about their experiences and why terrorism studies can't find its niche. 

The interdisciplinary origins of terrorism research, its mercurial nature and heavy government support make it a difficult field of study for new and seasoned researchers alike. CISAC's Martha Crenshaw, a pioneer in terrorism research, said that she was seen as "hopelessly on the left" but also an "apologist for the CIA" while a professor at Wesleyan. She came to CISAC in 2007. Even today, scholars of terrorism are unfairly viewed as doing the research for government interests and funding, and not for rigorous intellectual inquiry. 

CISAC has long been a center for interdisciplinary research and has served as an academic hub for the study of terrorism. 

Topics: Education | Security | Terrorism | Terrorism and counterterrorism