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Alexander Thurston

10 Podcast Episodes

Latest 16 Oct 2021 | Updated Daily

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Beware the Terrorologist, with Alexander Thurston

The Gateway - A Podcast from the Middle East

To be called a terrorist by one group is to be signaled as a kind of ultimate Other, a dark and essentially unknowable force that can only be crushed into oblivion. Deployments of the term has justified extralegal killings, torture, collective punishment, besiegements, and decimation of entire populations around the world while curtailing civil liberties of domestic populations at home.But there’s a quiet force animating discussions on who is and is not a terrorist, which indirectly inform how it is used and popularly understood. Some entities appear simply immune to the term: there is no mainstream chorus of terrorism analysts genuinely insisting that the CIA is a terrorist organization even if its actions neatly fit within the same definition terrorist analysts rely on to label nascent jihadi organizations terrorists. Who is immune to the Terrorist label and its implications is thus just as important as who is subject to it.To get a better understanding of the politics behind terrorism discourse, I’ll be speaking with Alexander Thurston, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, where he focuses on the study of Islam and Northwest Africa. Thurston is the author of the 2018 book, Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement and has written about the prevalence of experts who always seem to pop up whenever a new terror threat is identified. He calls these people 'terrorologists.’

55mins

14 Jan 2021

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Think Locally, Act Locally, with Alexander Thurston

Foreign Exchanges: the Podcast

Listen now | Returning champion Alexander Thurston rejoins the podcast to talk about his new book, Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel: Local Politics and Rebel Groups. This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at fx.substack.com/subscribe

1hr 4mins

18 Nov 2020

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Alexander Thurston, “Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement” (Princeton UP, 2017)

New Books in Islamic Studies

Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have placed them in a rich historical context to understand how religion and politics intersect. In Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (Princeton University Press, 2017), Alexander Thurston, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, traces the origins of the jihadist group through political events, networks of Islamic learning, and the personal charisma of individual religious leaders. In his previous book, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Thurston provides background on Salafis in Nigeria that enables us to understand Boko Haram as part of a global Salafi movement.In our conversation we discuss the Nigerian religious field, the characteristics of Salafism and its canonization, Boko Haram’s founder Muhammad Yusuf, Nigerian Muslims at the Islamic University of Medina, north/south Nigerian social and political disparities, local Salafi responses to the new leadership of Abubaker Shekau, the 2014 kidnapping of 276 girls, recent ties to ISIS, international intervention, and reflections on religious violence. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is the author of Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Cinematic Lives of Muslims, and is the editor of the forthcoming volumes Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (ILEX Foundation) and New Approaches to Islam in Film (Routledge). You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kjpetersen@unomaha.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/islamic-studies

48mins

5 Feb 2018

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Alexander Thurston, “Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement” (Princeton UP, 2017)

New Books in African Studies

Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have placed them in a rich historical context to understand how religion and politics intersect. In Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (Princeton University Press, 2017), Alexander Thurston, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, traces the origins of the jihadist group through political events, networks of Islamic learning, and the personal charisma of individual religious leaders. In his previous book, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Thurston provides background on Salafis in Nigeria that enables us to understand Boko Haram as part of a global Salafi movement.In our conversation we discuss the Nigerian religious field, the characteristics of Salafism and its canonization, Boko Haram’s founder Muhammad Yusuf, Nigerian Muslims at the Islamic University of Medina, north/south Nigerian social and political disparities, local Salafi responses to the new leadership of Abubaker Shekau, the 2014 kidnapping of 276 girls, recent ties to ISIS, international intervention, and reflections on religious violence. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is the author of Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Cinematic Lives of Muslims, and is the editor of the forthcoming volumes Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (ILEX Foundation) and New Approaches to Islam in Film (Routledge). You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kjpetersen@unomaha.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/african-studies

48mins

5 Feb 2018

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Alexander Thurston, “Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement” (Princeton UP, 2017)

New Books in History

Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have placed them in a rich historical context to understand how religion and politics intersect. In Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (Princeton University Press, 2017), Alexander Thurston, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, traces the origins of the jihadist group through political events, networks of Islamic learning, and the personal charisma of individual religious leaders. In his previous book, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Thurston provides background on Salafis in Nigeria that enables us to understand Boko Haram as part of a global Salafi movement.In our conversation we discuss the Nigerian religious field, the characteristics of Salafism and its canonization, Boko Haram’s founder Muhammad Yusuf, Nigerian Muslims at the Islamic University of Medina, north/south Nigerian social and political disparities, local Salafi responses to the new leadership of Abubaker Shekau, the 2014 kidnapping of 276 girls, recent ties to ISIS, international intervention, and reflections on religious violence. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is the author of Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Cinematic Lives of Muslims, and is the editor of the forthcoming volumes Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (ILEX Foundation) and New Approaches to Islam in Film (Routledge). You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kjpetersen@unomaha.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/history

48mins

5 Feb 2018

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Alexander Thurston, “Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement” (Princeton UP, 2017)

New Books in Terrorism and Organized Crime

Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have placed them in a rich historical context to understand how religion and politics intersect. In Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (Princeton University Press, 2017), Alexander Thurston, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, traces the origins of the jihadist group through political events, networks of Islamic learning, and the personal charisma of individual religious leaders. In his previous book, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Thurston provides background on Salafis in Nigeria that enables us to understand Boko Haram as part of a global Salafi movement. In our conversation we discuss the Nigerian religious field, the characteristics of Salafism and its canonization, Boko Haram’s founder Muhammad Yusuf, Nigerian Muslims at the Islamic University of Medina, north/south Nigerian social and political disparities, local Salafi responses to the new leadership of Abubaker Shekau, the 2014 kidnapping of 276 girls, recent ties to ISIS, international intervention, and reflections on religious violence. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is the author of Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Cinematic Lives of Muslims, and is the editor of the forthcoming volumes Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (ILEX Foundation) and New Approaches to Islam in Film (Routledge). You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kjpetersen@unomaha.edu.

46mins

5 Feb 2018

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Alexander Thurston, “Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement” (Princeton UP, 2017)

New Books in Political Science

Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have placed them in a rich historical context to understand how religion and politics intersect. In Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (Princeton University Press, 2017), Alexander Thurston, Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgetown University, traces the origins of the jihadist group through political events, networks of Islamic learning, and the personal charisma of individual religious leaders. In his previous book, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017), Thurston provides background on Salafis in Nigeria that enables us to understand Boko Haram as part of a global Salafi movement.In our conversation we discuss the Nigerian religious field, the characteristics of Salafism and its canonization, Boko Haram’s founder Muhammad Yusuf, Nigerian Muslims at the Islamic University of Medina, north/south Nigerian social and political disparities, local Salafi responses to the new leadership of Abubaker Shekau, the 2014 kidnapping of 276 girls, recent ties to ISIS, international intervention, and reflections on religious violence. Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is the author of Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Cinematic Lives of Muslims, and is the editor of the forthcoming volumes Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (ILEX Foundation) and New Approaches to Islam in Film (Routledge). You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kjpetersen@unomaha.edu. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoicesSupport our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/political-science

48mins

5 Feb 2018

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Alexander Thurston, “Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement” (Princeton UP, 2017)

New Books in Politics & Society

Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have…

46mins

5 Feb 2018

Episode artwork

Alexander Thurston, “Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement” (Princeton UP, 2017)

New Books in Peoples & Places

Boko Haram is one of the most well known global terrorist organizations. They have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of West Africans. While widespread journalistic reporting on the group tries to keep up with their activities, few have…

46mins

5 Feb 2018

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Boko Haram: A Conversation with Alexander Thurston (S. 6, Ep. 11)

POMEPS Middle East Political Science Podcast

On this week's podcast, Alexander Thurston speaks about Boko Haram and its origins and growth. Thurston is an Assistant Professor of Teaching for African Studies Program at Georgetown University and a Fellow at the Wilson Center. His new book is Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement."This is my attempt at a documentary history of Boko Haram. To try to draw on especially diverse written sources to reconstruct the trajectory of the movement from the time when the founders were growing up in Nigeria in the 1970s up to close to the present as it was possible to get," said Thurston."These groups are just very hard to completely eradicate. A proto-state that they carve out can be destroyed. It may take several years, as in the case of ISIS or it may take a very short time, as in the case of Boko Haram. But then after that, you get this long term spate of terrorist attacks. And that's a lot harder to stamp out."

24mins

11 Dec 2017