The French philosopher Joseph de Maistre argued that insofar as human beings were constantly tempted to evil by their deepest passions, the maintenance of a peaceful social order ultimately depended on a single person, the executioner. It was much the same with nation states, according to Maistre, which “are born and die like individuals” and […]
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.
The shock Since the assassination of President Kennedy nothing has shocked the western world, and not only the USA, more than the terror attack of 11 September. On the one hand, this is understandable. We are citizens of the same world, heirs of the same civilization, and myriad human relations, institutional contacts, common values and […]
My writing on the events of September 11th is on two registers the public event of spectacular destruction in New York and the private events made up of countless stories of grief, fear, and anticipation. I hope I can speak responsibly to both, neither trivializing the suffering of the victims of the September 11th attack […]
Traveling around the world since September 11, I have found one theme becoming louder and louder in many places outside the US, both in the global north and global south, by critics of the attacks who share our horror and do not want to see such attacks ever again anywhere in the world. The theme […]
Introduction Since the end of the Cold War, a profound restructuring of armed forces has taken place. During the Cold War period, armed forces tended to resemble each other all over the world. They were disciplined, hierarchical, and technology intensive. There were, of course, guerrilla and/or terrorist groups but they were considered marginal and their […]