Friday Seminar Series

Each Friday seminar hosted by the Center on Terrorism focuses on a singular aspect of terrorism.  An invited speaker presents on a topic and a question-and-answer period follows. The seminars are free and open to the public,  they are also a core component of the graduate Certificate in Terrorism Studies curriculum offered through the center.  We warmly welcome all those interested in  or currently working in the field of terrorism.  This is an excellent forum for the exchange of ideas helpful to the academic and practitioner alike.

Please Note: From the 1st of March 2013, we will be video-taping the seminars. More info here.

Fall 2014 Friday Seminar Schedule 

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

October 10, Lisa Stampnitzky - “How political violence became terrorism”

October 31, Josh Freilich - “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”

December 5 , Bruce Hoffman - “Al Qaeda’s Curious Comeback 

December 19, Party! 


zenn headshot

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 over 110 different countries.

Time: 3 – 5 PM   Location: John Jay College, New Building, 899 10th Avenue, Room L2.84


Lisa Stampnitzky Head Shot

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

Time: 3 – 5 PM   Location: John Jay College, New Building, 899 10th Avenue, Room L2.84


Freilich headshot

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. 

Time: 3 -5 PM    Location: John Jay College, New Building, 899 10th Avenue, Room L2.84


 bruce-hoffman headshot

December 5 - Al Qaeda’s Curious Comeback with Bruce Hoffman

Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism and insurgency for nearly four decades.  He is a professor in Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service where he is also the Director of both the Center for Security Studies and of the Security Studies Program.  Professor Hoffman is also a commissioner on the Independent Commission to Review the FBI’s Post-9/11 Response to Terrorism and Radicalization and Professor of Terrorism Studies at St Andrews University, Scotland.  He previously held the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation and was also Director of RAND’s Washington, D.C. Office.  He was Scholar-in-Residence for Counterterrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency between 2004 and 2006; an adviser on counterterrorism to the Office of National Security Affairs, Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq in 2004, and from 2004-2005 an adviser on counterinsurgency to the Strategy, Plans, and Analysis Office at Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, Baghdad.  Professor Hoffman was also an adviser to the Iraq Study Group.  He is the author of Inside Terrorism (2006).  His forthcoming books, The Evolving Global Terrorist Threat: Cases From 9/11 to Osama bin Laden’s Death and Anonymous Soldiers: The Struggle For Israel, 1917-1947 will be published respectively in 2014 and 2015.

 Time: 3 – 5 PM    Location: John Jay College, New Building, 899 10th Avenue, Room L2.84