Nothing is more telling about the recent terrorist attacks in the United States than the nature of their targets. The Twin Towers in New York City represented the future, modernity, America’s optimistic outlook of the world and, more recently, of globalization. The terrorist attacks constitute a direct hit against those values, which is the main […]
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.
It has been said quite often since September 11 that Americans are standing at a juncture of history, that, on that date, the world changed forever into a ‘before’ and an ‘after.’ Such proclamations of radical breaks in historical consciousness have happened before, of course. Writing in 1924 about the experience of modernity, Virginia Woolf […]
Islamist discourse, like any other political discourse, is full of plastic concepts and ideas that are meant to serve politically utilitarian and instrumental purposes. But what is important for us to remember is that the instrumental use of such plastic concepts (including ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’, ‘justice’, etc.) invariably leads to their contestation as well, as […]
Professor Goldstone responded to the emails written by Charles Tilly immediately following the attacks of September 11. The following are his responses. FROM 9/15/01 Dear Chuck, Thanks for an interesting challenge. Two areas in which I differ from your views: (1) “But no single organization or single leader coordinated Tuesday’s action.” I heartily disagree with […]
At a conference held three weeks after the September 11th, 2001, I spoke on secular values in the context of a discussion on “Asian values and Japans’ options”. My view about Asian values is that there is nothing substantive in them. The political references to them represent merely new versions of an older dichotomy. Their […]
The first reaction to the disintegration of the USSR by the end of 1991 was fear of an outburst of ethnic and interstate conflicts in the post-Soviet territory. In Transcaucasia a war had broken out between Armenia and Azerbaijan; Moldova had split into two parts—Pridnestrovye and the territory loyal to Kishinyov; Ukraine faced the hazard […]
I. America the Beautiful O beautiful for patriot dream, That sees beyond the years Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears! America! America! God shed his grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea! America the Beautiful On Oct. 24, 1990, I was invited to give the opening […]
The September 11 attacks and their aftermath are a living laboratory for those wishing to better understand how individuals, groups, and organizations respond under extreme disaster conditions. Along with other major disaster events, September 11 revealed much about institutional responses and collective behavior in crises, underscoring what is already known about the social processes that […]
More than twenty years after the success of the Islamic revolution in Iran, the wave of Islamic radicalism that has engulfed the Middle East since the late 1970s is taking a different course. The mainstream Islamist movements have shifted from the struggle for a supranational Muslim community into a kind of Islamo-nationalism: they want to […]
We did not start this war. So understand, responsibility for every single casualty in this war, whether they’re innocent Afghans or innocent Americans, rests at the feet of the al Qaeda and the Taliban (Donald H. Rumsfeld, 4 December 2001). Michael Walzer dubbed blaming your enemy for the cruelty of war as the ‘War is […]