Terrorism, history and neighbouring disciplines in the academy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Terrorism is a complicated phenomenon with a long and complex history. Analytically it is a difficult issue to grasp, dissect and analyse, to evaluate and respond to. As a consequence of this complexity, different academic disciplines ask different questions on terrorism. Historians could be seen as the generalists in the field of Terrorism Studies. Motivated by many questions that are also asked in other disciplines, they are intrigued by the complexities that define terrorism, its long-term patterns, changes and continuities, but also by very detailed case studies of individual incidents, groups, responses and characters. It will be the purpose of this chapter to look at what history can offer for the study of terrorism, how interdisciplinarity can be fruitful, what new themes and approaches can be developed by venturing beyond traditional division lines of established disciplines, and finally, to assess the limitations of multidisciplinarity in terrorism research. Thereby, hopefully, this text will encourage further academic cross-fertilisation to advance all our understanding of the puzzle that is terrorism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge history of terrorism
EditorsRichard English
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781108556248
ISBN (Print)9781108470162, 9781108455329
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Terrorism
  • Terrorism studies
  • International relations
  • History
  • Historians


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