Mark Currie has been a research and senior fellow at the Handa Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence since 2010. His first degree was in anthropology at the University of Cambridge. At Oxford he did a post-graduate diploma in theology and comparative religion, and also completed his doctorate on aspects of Islam in South Asia. Mark’s more recent research interests are reflected in current teaching and recent publications (see teaching and publications pages).
Mark convenes the Masters module (IR 5921) on Fundamentals of Terrorist Violence: Motives, Enablers and Implications for State Responses, as well as a Junior Honours module on similar themes.
Subjects of recent lectures beyond these modules have included The Constitutional Period Begins, Afghanistan, 1963–73: Some reflections on optimism, foreign interference and oral tradition; Magdala: The British Rescue of Diplomatic Hostages from Abyssinia, 1867–8; and What the New U.S. Administration Needs to Know About Terrorism and Counterterrorism.
Another focus of his work has been assembling experts from a wide variety of fields to find new ways of thinking about aspects of political violence and to identify subjects that would benefit from further research. Topics for these workshops have included: Affordance and Terrorism; Extreme Right Wing Political Violence; Dissident Irish Republican Terrorism; The Nature of Creativity: Implications for terrorism and counterterrorism; Constraints on Terrorism: Unanticipated consequences of terrorist and counter-terrorist actions; Society, Science and the Future of Terrorism; The Enablers and Constraints of Cyber- and Bio- Terrorism; Insiders – Risks, Technology and Trust. The most recent of these have been co-organised with Imperial College London. Some of the above have led to publications in the series, New Directions in Terrorism Studies, of which Mark is co-editor.
Mark also supervises doctoral and post-doctoral research.
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‘What the New U.S. Administration Needs to Know About Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Intelligence Challenges’, Georgetown Security Studies Review, February 2017 (Special Edition)
Extreme Right-Wing Political Violence and Terrorism, jointly edited with Professor Max Taylor and Donald Holbrook, Bloomsbury, 2013. Concluding chapter by Mark Currie
Terrorism and Affordance, jointly edited with Professor Max Taylor, Continuum, 2012. Concluding chapter by Mark Currie.
Dissident Republican Terrorism, jointly edited with Professor Max Taylor, Continuum, 2011. Concluding chapter by Mark Currie
Ajmer: Pilgrimage Centre in South Asia, Encyclopedia of Islam, Brill, 2009
The Shrine and Cult of Muin al-din Chishti of Ajmer (Oxford University Press 1989 (re-issued 1993, 2006 and 2012)
Mark Currie convenes IR5921, Fundamentals of Terrorist Violence: Motives, Enablers and Implications for State Responses. This module examines how combatants in terrorist groups are able to overcome inhibitions to killing. The nature of these inhibitions is examined, as is the range of circumstances which enable them to be overcome so that lethal violence can be justified, compelling and a source of satisfaction. The module draws not only on terrorism studies but also on scholarship from a wide range of subject areas including war studies, psychology, sociology, theology, anthropology, history and art. The focus is more on individuals’ aims, aspirations, and ways of imagining themselves and their actions, rather than organisational and instrumental purposes. Theory is explored through case studies.
Resulting insights are used to adduce principles for state responses to political violence. The module thus builds on the tradition of scholarship at St Andrews that examines how political violence may be effectively countered in ways that are consonant with liberal democracy. This module is taught by Dr Mark Currie along with Professor Stephen Reicher, Dr Gilbert Ramsay and Dr Jeffrey Murer.
Mark also convenes and teaches a Junior Honours module, The Motives and Enablers of Terrorist Violence, and lectures on counterterrorism for IR5007.