History 617: “Terrorism in the Modern World” to Host Guest Speaker

Jessica Day – February 26, 2019

“Terrorism in the Modern World” is a senior elective that draws on the experience of two current members of the History and Social Science Department: Wilson Fellow Gary Marx is an investigative reporter from The Chicago Tribune with experience covering armed conflicts in Iraq, Somalia, Colombia, Peru, and other countries. Prudence Munkittrick has an MA in Sub-State Violence from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and experience teaching terrorism studies. The course explores many of the following questions: Who should be defined as a terrorist, what counts as terrorism, and how have answers to those questions changed over time? Students enrolled in the course have delved into questions about why someone might join an armed organization and what purpose violence might serve in advancing a political cause.

On Wednesday, February 27, at 6:45 pm in the Garonzik Auditorium, all members of the community are invited to attend a guest lecture by Bill Ayers, a former leader of the Weather Underground, a 1960s radical group that carried out bombings and other violent acts to protest the Vietnam War and other actions by the US government. Mr. Ayers was never convicted of terrorist-related crimes and went on to become a distinguished education professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He will speak about his experiences leading a radical group that used violence to achieve political objectives. Students in “Terrorism in the Modern World” have already studied right-wing terrorist groups in the US, and the class will use Mr. Ayers’ visit to focus on left-wing terrorist groups. Mr. Ayers will also spend some time in class with “Terrorism in the Modern World” students.