(This event is organised by MEI’s Transsystemic Law Research Cluster, as part of its quarterly public talks series.)
British colonial officials in the late 1930s and 1940s came to label Palestinian and Jewish violence as “terrorism.” The move reflected the convergence of two different historical dynamics: first, the British had used the term to describe earlier insurgency in Ireland and India; second, the Great Arab Revolt in 1936–1939 coincided with the League of Nations’ Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Terrorism (1937) as well as the Great Terror of the Soviet Union. Together these forces turned Palestinian and Jewish violence into a basic template for postwar views of terrorism as illegal, anti-civilizational brutality related to both communism and religion and rising from the non-West.
About the Speaker(s)
Julian Bourg is Associate Professor of History at Boston College. From 2015–2018, as the Associate Dean for the Core at Boston College, he oversaw the renewal of the school’s undergraduate liberal arts program. During the 2018–2019 academic year, he is a Visiting Scholar at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley and his B.A. from Brown University. Bourg’s first book, From Revolution to Ethics: May 1968 and Contemporary French Thought (2007), won the 2008 Morris D. Forkosch book prize from the Journal of the History of Ideas, and was republished in a second revised edition with a new preface (2017). He translated and introduced a book by the political theorist, Claude Lefort, entitled, Complications: Communism and the Dilemmas of Democracy, and edited the volume, After the Deluge: New Perspectives on the Intellectual and Cultural History of Postwar France. He is currently writing a book on the conceptual history of terrorism since the eighteenth century.