Fall 2014

Fall 2014

September 19 – Boko Haram’s Grand Strategy: Trajectories of Jihad in Nigeria and West Africa  with Jacob Zenn

Jacob Zenn’s most recent book is “Northern Nigeria’s Boko Haram: The Prize in al-Qaeda’s African Strategy.”  This extraordinarily violent jihadist group is firmly planted in northern Nigeria and became infamous because of their kidnapping of over 250 teenage girls who, after four months, still have not been recovered.

Zenn is an analyst of African and Eurasian Affairs for The Jamestown Foundation as well as a consultant on the Countering Violent Extremism.  He also serves as a non-resident research fellow of the Center for Shanghai Cooperation Organization Studies in Shanghai, China, as well as a specialist in international law and practices related to the freedom of association at the International Center for Not-For-Profit Law where he has written several works regarding association in the digital age and commentary on law reform in South Sudan.   He possesses experience working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Malaysia, an international law firm in Thailand and served as a program supervisor at a university and educational training center in Duhok, Iraq.  As a consultant and researcher he has specialized in writings regarding radicalization and persecution as well as produced geospatial analysis for mapping and visualization.  His academic background includes a J.D. from Georgetown Law where he was a global law scholar and recipient of the Certificate in Refugee Law and Humanitarian Emergencies; a graduate degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) Nanjing Center for Chinese American Studies in Nanjing, China; and a B.A in International Studies and Mandarin Chinese from Emory University.  Zenn speaks 9 different languages and has researched and studied in

October 10 – How Political Violence Became Terrorism with Lisa Stampnitzky

Lisa Stampnitzky is currently a lecturer at Harvard University in Social Studies .  She specializes in human rights, terrorism and political violence, culture, and politics,.   Her most recent book, based on extensive interviews with key figures in the field, is “Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented “Terrorism.”  The book is a fascinating study of the sociology of knowledge and how those studying political violence have created something new in the academy, “disciplining” it in the process.

Stampnitzky possesses both a M.A. and Ph.D. fromthe University of California at Berkeley in Sociology as well as a B.A in Sociology from New College of Florida. Her background includes fellowships at Harvard, Oxford, Ohio State, as well as the European University institute.   She has also been the recipient of the 2012 Social Science History Association President’s Book Award. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled, The Lawyers’ War: Legalizing Torture in the War on Terror

October 31 – An examination of suicide attacks in the United States: Comparing Al Qaeda and affiliated movements and far-right suicide and non-suicide incidents and perpetrators with Josh Freilich

Josh Freilich is a Professor of Criminal Justice at John Jay College.  His work in recent years has focused on extremism in America, research that connects as well with his interest in “lone wolf” terrorist actors.  He is both the creator and co-director of the United States Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) study, which is an open source relational database of violent and financial crimes committed by far-right actors, Al Qaeda –inspired related movements, and environmental and animal rights extremists in the United States. 

Professor Freilich was the former head of the Criminal Justice Ph.D. program at John Jay College.  He is a member of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Center of Excellence of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security where he serves on the Executive Committee and is a member of the Global Terrorism Database Advisory Board. His research interests include terrorism, countering violent extremism, Al-Qaeda affiliated movements, psychology and the law regarding terrorism studies, as well as environmental criminology.  He possesses both a M.A. and Ph.D. from University of Albany as well as a J.D from Brooklyn Law School. 

November 14  – Inside the NYPD’s secret spying program & Bin Laden’s final plot against America with Matt Apuzzo

Matt Apuzzo is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter currently working for the New York Times. His most recent book entitled, “Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot against America” discusses the systematic program the NYPD put into place as a means of spying on Muslim families including John Jay students.  Apuzzo previously worked for the Associated Press in Washington where he was known for having revealed CIA misconduct, widespread cheating on FBI certification tests and the location of a secret CIA prison in Romania. Formerly AP’s legal affairs writer, Apuzzo covered the trials of Sen. Ted Stevens and White House aide Scooter Libby, the Virginia Tech shooting and the conclusion of the FBI’s long-running Amerithrax case. He has covered corruption in the Senate, influence on Wall Street, and a mobster who built an empire on the nation’s richest fishing port. Apuzzo is a graduate of Colby College and currently possesses a degree in biology.

December 5 –  Strategies for Preventing Terrorism with Tore Bjorgo

Dr. Tore Bjørgo is Professor of Police Science at the Norwegian Police University College, adjunct research professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and a Fulbright scholar at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (fall 2014). His main fields of research have been political extremism and terrorism; racist and right-wing violence; delinquent youth gangs; disengagement from violent groups; political communication; crime prevention; and policing. He has (co)authored or (co)edited a dozen books, including Racist and Right-Wing Violence in Scandinavia: Patterns, Perpetrators, and Responses (1997); Root Causes of Terrorism (2005); Perspectives of Police Science in Europe (2007); Leaving Terrorism Behind: Individual and Collective Disengagement (2009, co-edited with John Horgan), and Strategies for Preventing Terrorism (2013). He is currently completing a book on crime prevention.

In his talk, Dr. Bjørgo will present the main ideas from his latest book Strategies for Preventing Terrorism, where he argues for a holistic approach to countering terrorism. The analysis is based on crime prevention mechanisms as the organizing theoretical concept, identifying nine key preventive mechanisms: normative barriers, reducing recruitment, deterrence, disruption, protecting vulnerable targets, reducing harm, reducing rewards, incapacitation, and facilitating disengagement. The model addresses the measures used to activate these mechanisms, the principal actors in charge of implementing them and their target groups, as well as critically examining the strengths and limitations of the various measures. This model provides a powerful tool for thinking systematically about how to reduce terrorism and other crime problems.