On this anniversary of 9/11 it seems appropriate to reflect on how Terrorism Studies has evolved as a field of interdisciplinary research and education. A recent article raises a number of good points for consideration:
- Terrorism Experts Are Sought by the Public but Not by Academe (Chronicle of Higher Education, June 24, 2013): http://chronicle.com/article/Terrorism-Experts-Are-Sought/139957/ )
There are still research grants available for scholars in this field, and many publishing opportunities in respected peer-reviewed journals (particularly in our own journal, Perspectives on Terrorism), and there has been a proliferation of research centers (like CTSS) at which you can pursue sophisticated research (for example, see the list of 100 Centers compiled by Benjamin Friedman). UMass Lowell will soon be offering a doctoral-level education in terrorism studies, an option within our PhD program in the School of Criminology and Justice Studies. There are Master’s degree programs throughout the U.S. as well.
Overall, I take a “glass is half full” attitude toward the current state of the field. Surely I’m an optimist, but being an optimist may actually be required for those who study the terrible things that terrorists do to innocent people. The reality is that terrorism has been a part of human history for centuries, and is unlikely to go away anytime soon. With that in mind, academe appears to be slowly, perhaps grudgingly acknowledging the need to study the phenomenon of terrorism, understand the many complexities of it, and hopefully discover new ways to contain, mitigate, and even prevent it in the future.