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Profs & Pints: What Creates a Terrorist?

September 27, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0


Profs and Pints presents: “What Creates a Terrorist?” with Dan Schneider, assistant professor at American University’s School of International Service and teacher of a course on al-Qaeda, ISIS and the War on Terror.

[Under current District of Columbia regulations attendees will be required to wear a mask except while eating or drinking. The Bier Baron will be requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test from the previous 72 hours for entry. It also will be requiring ticketed event attendees to purchase a minimum of two items, which can be food or beverages, including soft drinks.]

Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States continues to face terrorism on several fronts. The Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan has given rise to fears of the reemergence of al-Qaeda and ISIS. On our own shores, rising right-wing extremism and associated violence remain a major concern. Some argue that the January 6th attack on the Capitol was itself an act of terrorism. If we hope to reduce the threat of political violence in our country and abroad, it is imperative that we understand how people can come to commit violent acts in pursuit of a political cause.

Why do people commit terrorist acts? Come hear that question tackled by Daniel Schneider, who teaches courses on terrorism and transnational crime for American University’s School of International Service.

Professor Schneider will discuss how research into the causes of terrorism, based partly on interviews with thousands of terrorists, has found that most terrorists are, in a psychological sense, normal and rational. They tend to be well educated, coming from middle or upper-middle-class backgrounds. Many have spouses and children who they care for deeply.

Looking into the life histories of selected individual terrorists, he’ll explore the insights that psychology, particularly group psychology, contributes to our understanding of how otherwise normal, well-educated people become killers of innocent people for ideological reasons. He’ll use excerpts from the great film, “The Battle of Algiers,” to illustrate how this transition occurs.

With a fuller and clearer explanation of what makes people become terrorists, we will explore ways to use such knowledge to develop better ways to reduce terrorism. The lessons we’ll learn might help us be safer in the long term. (Advance tickets: $12 plus sales tax and vendor fees. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)


September 27, 2021
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
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Profs and Pints
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The Bier Baron Tavern
1523 22nd Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20037 United States
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202 293-1888
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