Call for Papers: Is Terrorist Learning Different? Halle/Germany, 21-22 November 2019


Submissions are invited for a workshop organized by the Research Group “How ‘Terrorists’ Learn” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Germany on 21-22 November 2019. We especially invite papers based on empirical case studies that address the specificities of the external environment and groups’ internal cognitive and behavioural learning. “Terrorist” learning as a subject of study brings with it certain methodological and ethical challenges. Processes of cognitive learning are difficult to observe in general, and learning often has to be deduced from observed action. In the case of violent organizations, security issues make access to information not only risky for the researcher, but also highly sensitive for the subjects of research. However, we maintain that the subject can be approached pragmatically despite the complexities related to empirical research in this field. As empirical research on terrorist learning itself implies learning, we also invite contributors to share their experiences with and reflections on the challenges related to this particular research context, as well as possible ways of responding to them.

We welcome theoretical and empirical contributions from a variety of disciplines, as well as multi-disciplinary approaches. Contributions should address at least one of the following foci:

  • Comparison of religious, ethno-nationalist, leftist, and right-wing groups
  • Comparisons to non-violent groups
  • Radicalization and de-radicalization
  • Internal and external dimensions of terrorist learning
  • Specificities of the environment
  • Learning theory

Please submit your abstract of no more than one page to by February 28, 2019. After an initial selection process, participants will be asked to submit their full paper by the end of August 2019. Selected contributions will be published in an edited volume.

The call for papers is now closed.