On this sunny Thursday, a group of about 30 to 40 scholars, drawn from conference presenters as well as members of the Graduate Institute community, gathered at the Auditorium Jacques Freymond to kick off the annual Fondation Pierre du Bois conference. This years' event, on "Terrorism and International Politics: Past, Present and Future," sought to examine one of the most visible and intractable problems in recent history.
The first panel, on Terrorism before World War II - featured three speakers. Richard Jensen (Louisana Scholars' College) departed from keynote speaker David Rapoport's framework of the four waves of terrorism, and sought to examine international efforts to control first wave terrorism. Florian Grafl (University of Giessen) took an individualized approach to studying terrorism in interwar Barcelona. And Pierre-Etienne Bourneuf (HEID/Georgetown) took a look at allied strageic bombing against Germany in the First World War.
The second panel, on Terrorism in the Cold War, leaned heavy on the Reagan years. The first speaker, Jonathan Gantt (University of South Carolina), was the exception when he talked about Communist and Jim Crow Terrorism in the US in the early cold war. Thomas Riegler (Vienna) focused on state sponsorship of terrorism. Richard Thornton (GWU) continued from Riegler's discussion and raised the terrorist vs. freedom fighter quandry.
Panel 2, from left to right: Chair Jussi Hanhimaki (HEID), Richard Thornton (GWU), Thomas Riegler (Vienna), Jonathan Gantt (Univeristy of South Carolina)
The third panel, on terrorism and international organisations, spanned the last 30 years. Bernhard Blumenau (HEID) talked about West Germany's success in pushing for a convention against terrorism in the arena of the United Nations in the 1970s. Shaloma Gauthier (HEID) gave a nuanced presentation on SWAPO's use and abuse of "human rights" in their struggle for national liberation (or as terrorists, depending on which side you follow). Anita Blagojevic (University of Osijek) talked about the recent role of the EU and the Council of Europe in dealing with human rights after 9/11.
Panel 3, from left to right: Anita Blagojevic (University of Osijek), Chair Davide Rodogno (HEID), Shaloma Gauthier (HEID), and Bernhard Blumenau (HEID)
The final panel of day one focused on regional experiences. First up was Markus Lammert (Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, Munich) on French leftist terrorism during and just after '68. Nathaniel Powell (HEID) presented on the Claustre Affair, a protracted hostage crisis in Chad.
From Panel 4, Nat Powell (HEID)
And finally Tobias Hof (Institut fur Zeitgeschichte, Munich) presented on repentance policies in Italian law as regards terrorism.
All speakers benefitted from numerous comments from participants and observers alike.
Til the keynote this evening!