Six hundred years ago the great Arab historian, Ibn Khaldun, observed that popular religion in Muslim societies tends to oscillate between periods of strict religious observance and others of devotional laxity. An astute observer of social life, Khaldun (1958) attributed this cultural cycle to features of ecology and social organization peculiar to the Middle East. […]
Terrorist attacks on and since September 11th have stimulated public soul-searching, military and diplomatic responses, and efforts to reform public policy. Both the attacks and responses to them have raised a host of questions about social organization, basic social institutions, how people mobilize amid crises, and how differences of culture and politics shape conflict and cooperation.
This website features an extraordinary and still-expanding collection of essays by leading social scientists from around the country and the world. These are efforts by social scientists to bring theoretical and empirical knowledge to bear on the events of Sept. 11, their precursors, and what comes after.
We have asked the authors of these essays to write against two-week deadlines. Much to their credit they have obliged, even when it is difficult to come by sure knowledge in a time of quickly changing circumstances.
These essays are intended as resources for teachers—especially college and university instructors—who want to address the unfolding events in their courses from the perspectives of the social sciences. We hope they may also serve journalists and others who seek a guide to academic knowledge related to these events. Not least they are for all of us who seek deeper understanding in troubling times.
Ten years after these essays were published, contributors to After September 11 were asked to reflect on what they wrote and to explore what had changed and what remained the same since those harrowing times, resulting in the essay collection 10 Years after September 11.
Always on the lookout for opportunities to press their case, anti-immigration advocates lost no time after the attacks of September 11. As one of them pointed out in testimony before the Senate, It seems clear that the 19 terrorists of September 11 were all foreign citizens and entered the United States legally, as tourists, business […]
1. Terrorism as a category of violence In a global war on terrorism, it is important to ask what we mean by terrorism. The usual definition of terrorism is something like “the use or threat of violence, by small groups against non-combatants of large groups, for avowed political goals.” The key to this definition is […]
One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Addressing Diversity in the Needs and Development Capacities of Afghan Women, Short and Long-Termby Margaret Mills
As Barnett Rubin has persuasively argued elsewhere on this website, human security is the key issue linking Afghanistan’s on-going institutional melt-down, amidst the entanglements of exploitative geopolitics, with Americans’ and Europeans’ own intensified focus on safety and economic security in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Also on this site, Saba Gul Khattak has represented how […]
When the Afghan Taliban emerged into the international spotlight at the end of the twentieth century, no image was more central than what seemed to be their rigid and repressive control of individual behavior justified in the name of Islam. They set standards of dress and public behavior that were particularly extreme in relation to […]
The fall of the Berlin Wall was a symbolic event that raised hopes for a more united world, founded on the values of international legality and democracy. The idea was put forward that, at last, human rights would be respected planet-wide and that violent conflict would gradually disappear. In just over a decade, many such […]
The essay is also published in Survival (quarterly journal of IISS, London), vol. 44, no. 1, Spring 2002, pp. 7-32. Copyright © The International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 2002 What is the role of the laws of war in the ongoing ‘war on terror’ proclaimed and initiated by the US following the terrorist attacks […]
The following essay will be forthcoming in Current History. Our thanks to the editors for allowing the essay to appear here. The politics of Islamist dissent in Saudi Arabia have come under intense scrutiny since September 11. This is hardly surprising. Osama bin Laden is Saudi Arabian by birth and upbringing. Suspicion existed for some […]
A constructive discussion and dialogue about Islam and gender has never been free of its controversies. The task has been how to explain the stubborn survival of traditions and practices hostile to women in Islamic societies without adding to the arsenal of racist imagery about Islam and Muslim women, targeting diasporic communities in the West. […]
I happened to be in Beirut in mid-May, when the Israeli retaliatory raids began to escalate. My host called me at midnight, after I had gone to bed, to come and see what was happening. I saw on the TV screen, as did millions in the Middle East, pictures of the continuing fire caused by […]