Chapter 15 Discussion Question Pointers

End of Chapter Question Pointers

Chapter 15 – Gendered and Racialized Terrorism

Caron Gentry

  1. Take the example of the Malheur Nature Reserve takeover discussed in the Introduction. If the men involved were Muslim or black and not white, would the law enforcement response have been different and what does this tell us about terrorism and counter-terrorism?
  2. This question asks you to consider the subjectivity of who is seen, or not, as a terrorist actor. The subjective nature of terrorism has often been noted by Orthodox Terrorist Studies but you could further explore the subjectivity of race in this piece. In answering this question, you could refer to poststructuralism and how this theoretical lens helps us understand how meaning and power are constructed through discourse – text, speech, and/or images.

  3. Reflect upon what you know about the people who have joined ISIS. Why does the press treat men and women differently?
  4. This chapter has highlighted how ‘terrorism’ immediately imparts certain meanings to an audience, meanings that all individuals respond to differently, or subjectively. In answering this question, you could elaborate on the fact that an objective idea of terrorist does not exist and that much is owed to gender and race.

    You could also use a newspaper database such as LexisNexis to access legal and journalistic documents electronically. An effective answer to the essay prompt would require both theory and empirical data to address the issue of oppressions, such as race and gender, intersect.

  5. What are some other forms of gender or race idealizations/essentializations that take place within terrorism or counter-terrorism not discussed in this chapter?
  6. This chapter discussed how gender and race structured utilize essentialization and idealization to create and maintain hierarchical relationships between people and objects such as states and terrorist groups, and the perception of state violence versus terrorist violence. Besides dealing with these concepts and processes, your piece could select a few case studies to illustrate the more analytical points developed in the chapter. Lastly, you could examine how idealizations of gender and race become the way an actor’s violence is evaluated.

  7. How do other structures, such as heteronormativity or religious bias, play a role in how we understand terrorism?
  8. The chapter has argued that Terrorism Studies is a predominantly Western academic subject. Apply these two crucial terms – heteronormativity and religious bias – to our current understanding of how groups use political violence against civilians to further a political cause.

  9. What are other terrorist groups that use race or gender to legitimize violence and how do they make this known?
  10. Some scholars have pointed out that gendered and racialized beliefs play a part in justifying and shaping terrorists’ agendas. You could explore the racialization of “Lone Wolf Terrorism” or the Incels to address this essay prompt.