CSTPV represented at Inaugural Conference of Norway’s New Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX), 24-5 May 2016

Three members of staff from the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) attended the inaugural conference of Norway’s new Centre for Research on Extremism (C-REX) at the University of Oslo. CSTPV is one of C-REX’s three international partners, the others being the Institute of Security and Global Affairs at Leiden University and the International Centre of Violence Research at the University of Bielefeld.


The conference brought together scholars from political science, criminology, anthropology, history, sociology, psychology and media studies to illumine the complexities of historical and contemporary right-wing extremism. Drs Peter Lehr and Bernhard Blumenau presented papers respectively on the different approaches to extreme right-wing and extreme left-wing political violence in the Federal Republic of Germany, and on East German State Security (Stasi) support of West German right-wing terrorists.

More information on this conference as well as on the background, staff, purposes and national and international partners of C-REX may be found at http://www.sv.uio.no/c-rex/english/

Guardian League Tables 2017


We are delighted to announce that the School of International Relations (of which CSTPV is a part) has been placed first in the UK in the Politics subject category.

Overall the University of St Andrews was placed third in the UK just behind Oxbridge.

For full details please visit http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/archive/2016/title,523311,en.php

The league tables can be viewed at http://www.theguardian.com/education/ng-interactive/2016/may/23/university-league-tables-2017

Book Launch - ‘The Origins and Dynamics of Genocide: Political Violence in Guatemala’ - Dr Roddy Brett

Oxford Transitional Justice Research

25 May 2016, 5:00PM


By Dr. Roddy Brett, Lecturer in International Relations, University of St Andrew’s

Discussant: Dr. Ezequiel Gonzales Ocantos, University of Oxford


In May 2013, former de facto president of Guatemala, General Efraín Ríos Montt, was indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity within Guatemala’s domestic courts. This book rigorously documents and insightfully explains the genocide perpetrated by the Guatemalan state against indigenous Maya populations within the context of its counterinsurgency campaign against leftist guerrillas between 1981 and 1983, bringing to light a genocide that has remained largely invisible within both academic disciplines and the practitioner sphere. Based upon over a decade of ethnographic research, including in survivors’ communities in Guatemala, this book documents the historical processes shaping the genocide by analysing the evolution of both counterinsurgent and insurgent violence and strategy, focusing above all on its impact upon the civilian population. The research, convincingly framed within key theoretical scholarship from genocide studies, peace and conflict studies and comparative politics (how and why people rebel), clearly evidences the impact of political violence upon non-combatants, how military and insurgent strategies gradually implicate civilians in conflict and the strategies civilians may adopt in order to survive them.

More info

Report: Impacts of surveillance on contemporary British activism


St Andrews University and openDemocracy interviewed 25 activists, and surveyed more than a hundred, about the impacts of surveillance on activism in the UK. Here are our findings.


This report details the findings of an exploratory research project funded by a Carnegie Trust research incentive grant and by the Russell Trust. The aim of the project was to examine how concerns about surveillance have impacted on activists in progressive-left causes in the UK. The project was originally inspired by a question which Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group asked Adam Ramsay of openDemocracy – one of the co-authors of this report, about whether activists in the UK had changed their practices since the Snowden Revelations in 2013.

Read the full report at opendemocracy.net

Global Challenges – Annual Competition

The Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV) within the School of International Relations is pleased to announce an annual “team” Competition, open to current University of St Andrews Undergraduates (including those who study IR together with other subjects). The Competition aims to support students’ personal and academic development and their ability to work collaboratively, effectively and creatively. Each team will be mentored and supported by a designated academic in the School of IR.



JTR - Volume 7, Issue 2 Published

Journal of Terrorism Research, Volume 7, Issue 2 is now available from the JTR Website



Resurgent Insurgents: Quantitative Research Into Jihadists Who Get Suspended but Return on Twitter
by Shaun Wright, David Denney, Alasdair Pinkerton, Vincent A.A. Jansen, John Bryden

A Psychoanalytic Perspective on an Interview with an Irish Republican Prisoner
by Barry Geoghegan

Terrorists, Geopolitics and Kenya’s Proposed Border Wall with Somalia
by Brendon John Cannon

“We’re Going to Nicaragua”: The United States, Nicaragua, and Counterterrorism in Central America during the 1980s
by Philip Travis

Apprehending the Bio-cognitive Substrates of Social-Identity Formation in Islamic-Extremist Masternarratives
by Doyle Ray Quiggle

Quantifying Salient Concepts Discussed in Social Media Content:
An Analysis of Tweets Posted by ISIS Fangirls
by Shadi Ghajar-Khosravi, Peter Kwantes, Natalia Derbentseva and Laura Huey

The Spectacle of Terrorism: Exploring the Impact of ‘Blind Acting Out’ and ‘Phatic Communication’
by Wilson Mwenda Kailemia

Book Review
Yair Hirschfeld, Track-Two Diplomacy toward an Israeli-Palestinian Solution 1978-2014
reviewed by William W. Thomson


CSTPV experts speak at Georgetown Conference on the Future of Terrorism (Updated)

Update: The videos of all panel discussions from this conference can now be viewed at http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/the-future-of-terrorism-georgetown-st-andrews-university-conference

On 28 and 29 April 2016 Richard English, Bernhard Blumenau and David Veness were speakers at “The Future of Terrorism” - a two-day conference jointly sponsored by CSTPV, University of St Andrews and the Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University.

The conference examined current and future trends in international and domestic terrorism with particular reference to the international and domestic security environment in the aftermath of the November attacks in Paris and San Bernadino shootings in December. It analysed the potential second- and third order effects of both the rise of ISIS and a resilient al Qaeda and their respective affiliates and franchise as well the continuing challenges involved in international cooperation and intelligence sharing; the intelligence of counterterrorism at a time of dynamic, diffuse and highly fluid threats; and, the future of terrorism of studies both in light of these developments and as a field of academic inquiry and relevance.

Tawfik Hamid - Can the West Defeat Radical Islam?

This event is hosted by the Asia Scotland Institute and is being held in Edinburgh (25 May 2016) and Glasgow (26 May 2016).


Dr. Tawfik Hamid, is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a radical Islamic organization Jamaa Islameia JI (of Egypt) with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri, who later became the second in command of Al-Qaeda. After being radicalized in the JI (approximately thirty-five years ago), he had an awakening of his human conscience, recognized the threat of Radical Islam, and started to teach modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts.

Hamid migrated to the West where he has lectured at UCLA, Stanford University, University of Miami and Georgetown University against Islamic fundamentalism. He currently serves on the Advisory Council of The Intelligence Summit, an annual conference on security and is author of international best-seller, “Inside Jihad”. Hamid recently launched a Facebook page (in Arabic), titled “Modern Interpretation for the Quran”, providing a peace-promoting commentary and understanding of the Quran. The page is “Liked” by over 2 million people.

In this incredibly unique event, the Asia Scotland Institute will host an evening talk with Dr. Hamid, followed by a Q&A to address the question of whether radical Islam can be defeated by the West, and if so – how.

Tickets can be purchased directly from the Asia Scotland Institute.

Edinburgh (25 May 2016)

Glasgow (26 May 2016)

Going the Distance - An Introduction to the CSTPV Distance Learning MLitt

Gillian Brunton at the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence introduces the groundbreaking, distance-learning, postgraduate programme in terrorism and political violence.
The internationalisation of higher education (HE) is not a new idea, although it may appear to be taking some time for HE institutions to embrace the findings of various reports into this area of growth in student numbers. This article looks at the St Andrews University strategy for internationalisation, in particular at the MLitt in Terrorism and Political Violence programme detailing the part-time distance-learning option and its current place in the postgraduate curriculum. Entry to this programme appeals to applicants in full-time employment or to those without a degree level qualification to undertake the distance postgraduate course after providing evidence of professional or other relevant experience of prior learning deemed to be broadly equivalent to other traditional routes of entry.

Read the full article