Terrorism, counter-terrorism, and the permissibility of violence

This event will be in Zoom

This is a joint roundtable event with BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies).

The Critical Studies on Terrorism sub-discipline was created as a critical response to narratives of the Global War on Terror, to interrogate the ‘productions and constructions of terrorism’ and the violence that is perpetrated to counter it. In light of the current state and non-state violence, occurring in Gaza/Israel, we want to re-open this conversation and reflect on the discursive power of the category ‘terrorism’ and the violence it permits in response to it. Following the recent attack by Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation in several countries, unprecedented levels of state violence have been legitimised and justified - violence which the UN has warned runs the risk of constituting acts of ethnic cleansing. Internationally, a broad use of the term ‘terrorism’ is being used to curtail freedoms of speech, expressions of solidarity and the right to protest, confirming previous warnings by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights. This roundtable discussion brings together scholars at this important moment for a conversation on the different framings of terrorism that permeate national and international discussion on Gaza and Israel.


Lisa Stampnitzky is a lecturer in politics at the University of Sheffield, where her research analyses how understandings of state and non-state violence are politically, socially, and historically constructed.  Her award-winning first book, Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented “Terrorism”, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.  Her current book project, How Torture Became Speakable, aims to explain the emergence of open acknowledgement and justifications of practices that violate human rights norms in the post-9/11 “war on terror.”


Somdeep Sen, Coloniality and the Permissibility of National Struggles

Somdeep is an Associate Professor at Roskilde University in Denmark and author of Decolonizing Palestine: Hamas between the Anticolonial and the Postcolonial (Cornell University Press, 2020). He is also the co-author of The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank: The Theatrics of Woeful Statecraft (Routledge, 2019) and the co-editor of Globalizing Collateral Language: From 9/11 to Endless War (University of Georgia Press, 2021). Alongside scholarly outlets, his writings have appeared in The Washington PostAl Jazeera English, Foreign Policy, The Huffington Post, Open Democracy, Jacobin, and The London Review of Books.


C. Heike Schotten (she/her) is a Professor of Political Science and affiliated faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her research interests lie at the various and unlikely intersections of queer theory and Nietzsche Studies, which ground a wide array of publications focusing, most recently, on the theoretical presuppositions animating Right-wing ideologies, including but not limited to settler colonialism, anti-queerness, neoconservatism, “terrorism” policy and the “War on Terror”, anti-Muslim racism, Zionism, and trans-exclusionary feminism. She is the author of Queer Terror: Life, Death, and Desire in the Settler Colony (Columbia UP, 2018).


Sophie Haspeslagh, Terrorism and the Permissibility of Negotiations

Sophie is a lecturer in International Relations in the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. She focuses on the impact of counterterrorism on conflict resolution and the transition of armed actors away from violence. Her latest book, Proscribing Peace: How listing armed groups as terrorists hurts negotiations (Manchester University Press 2021) explores the effects of proscription on mediation and peace processes. 


Dr Layla Aitlhadj, Prevent as a tool for suppressing pro-Palestinian activism

Layla is the Director and Senior Caseworker at Prevent Watch, a community-led initiative which has supported individuals affected by the Prevent programme in over 600 cases. Layla has led this support, litigation and advocacy work. She has published extensively on the British government’s counter-extremism policy Prevent Duty, ensuring the voices of those impacted are heard. Layla's experience of Prevent was crucial in her most recent role as the co-author of the People's Review of Prevent, an alternative to the widely boycotted official review of the policy.


Akram Salhab is a PhD student in politics at Queen Mary University of London, focusing on Palestinian history, sovereignty and anticolonialism.

Registration will close two hours before the event begins.

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