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March 1 , 2007
DH 07 JH29
Contact: Joanie Harmon-Whetmore
(310) 243-2740/2001

Terrorism Expert Appointed to Editorial Board of International Journal

Carson, CA - C. Augustus (Gus) Martin, assistant vice president, Faculty Affairs, has been invited to serve as a member of the International Editorial Advisory Board for Critical Studies on Terrorism, a new journal on research and policy in the fields of terrorism, counter-terrorism, and state terror. Directed to an audience of practitioners and scholars in the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, the publication will be launched in 2008.

Martin, the author of Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2nd Ed., 2006), will work alongside other luminaries in the fields of political science, war, and human rights activism, among them Noam Chomsky and Allen Feldman. He points out that Critical Studies will be the first normative look at the expanding study of terrorism.

“There are other journals in the field, but this one will critically analyze current research and policy rather than taking the position of particular policy-makers and political administrations,” he says.

The former chair of the Public Administration and Public Policy department, Martin taught his “Terrorism and Extremism” class, which debuted in 2004, making CSU Dominguez Hills one of the first campuses to offer a course on terrorism as part of the criminal justice major. Martin’s next book on terrorism is due out later this year, a condensed version of Understanding Terrorism that can be adapted by professors in the context of their own courses. He cites the numerous career opportunities that are afforded students through the study of terrorism.

“When I taught a class on terrorism at the University of Pittsburgh before 9/11, it was mostly taken by political science types,” he says. “Now we’re seeing a broader range of students, such as sociologists and psychologists, who are trying to figure out why people do what they do, or its practical application, for criminal justice students. Graduates can work for agencies that have homeland security functions, every law enforcement agency does, right down to the sheriff’s department in a small town.”

Martin says that the study of terrorism has had to change as terrorism has taken new forms. The transition from nationalism and political ideology to the religion-based “New Terrorism” poses a challenge for students and scholars, as well as the agencies whose function it is to keep the public safe.

“Political ideologists, like Marxists and Fascists, tended to be more selective in their targets, and would assassinate a particular individual or attack a symbolic building,” he says. “Now, religion motivates the most prominent terrorists. They define the enemy very broadly, as enemy peoples, so that killing a child is okay, with bombs in marketplaces and planes flown into buildings. The New Terrorism involves maximum use of force against any target whatsoever, and asymmetrical warfare, which means they try to attack in the least expected way, in the least expected place.”

As an assistant to Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) in the 1980s, Martin advised the current chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on international matters, beginning a long-standing interest in terrorism. The nucleus of Understanding Terrorism came from the courses he taught at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He underscores the way that 9/11 has changed America’s view of terrorism substantially.

“This was unprecedented,” he says, “the biggest terrorist attack by an organization, in terms of casualties and the impact of bringing down an important symbol of international trade. We have had lots of attacks before, smaller ones
by groups we don’t even think about, because they only hit us once or twice. But this time, it was obvious that someone was declaring war on us. It could have happened anywhere. We’re wide open, and we still are in a lot of ways.”

“The concept of homeland security never existed before,” he says. “It sounded Orwellian. Now it’s part of our vocabulary and our culture.”

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Last updated March 1, 11:24 a.m.
by Joanie Harmon-Whetmore