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Transnational Terrorism Expert in The Union Leader

February 03, 2015

Laurie Morrissey
Communications and Marketing
(603) 656-6047

Politics Professor Erik Cleven teaches political violence at Saint Anselm CollegeRecent political violence in Europe has put Saint Anselm politics professor Erik Cleven in the media spotlight for his expertise on the subject of transnational terrorism and community violence. Cleven teaches courses in international relations and comparative politics, and is teaching a course called "Political Violence" this semester.

The assistant professor recently was interviewed in The Union Leader and spoke with a reporter on KOGO Radio in San Diego, Calif.

The Union Leader
On January 9, referring to violent incidents in France and Belgium following the fatal attack at the offices of the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, Cleven said, "Terrorism can either be seen as a form of warfare or a form of communication. I think this type of terrorism is definitely a form of communication where media publicity is definitely something that they need to succeed, and that's exactly what they've been able to get." He said the terrorists were making an attack on western ideals similar to the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

In a January 10 article about U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte's national security concerns, Cleven said that the attacks "seem to follow a pattern of young Muslims who are often unemployed or not fitting into Western society being influenced by radical Islamist networks."

Faculty Research Colloquium: "Organized Chaos: Explaining Ethnic Riots from Kenya to India"
Cleven also discussed this topic with students and faculty colleagues in a presentation at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. He shared his research on electoral violence in Kenya; ethnic conflict between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo; and religious riots involving Hindus and Muslims in India. His research last summer in Surat and Hyderabad, India, involved interviews with civil society members and witnesses to communal violence.

"Unorganized and organized violence often occur simultaneously, making even organized violence seem chaotic and primordial. Politicians often use existing networks at the local level to organize the violence or keep it going, because it is useful to them."

While the political background may be different in each of these countries, he explained, the mechanisms of violence are the same in these instances. "Unorganized and organized violence often occur simultaneously, making even organized violence seem chaotic and primordial. Politicians often use existing networks at the local level to organize the violence or keep it going, because it is useful to them."

History of Politics at Saint Anselm

As the college celebrates 125 years, it is important to recognize the rich history of politics at Saint Anselm. From a long tradition of presidential primary debates (this year marks the 100th anniversary of the New Hampshire primary) to well-known speakers and student interactions with Washington power brokers, the New Hampshire Institute of Politics and Saint Anselm have been significant in the political arena in local, state, and national politics.

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