Lisa Stampnitzky, Ph.D.

The University of Sheffield

Country: United Kingdom (England)

About Me:

Lisa Stampnitzky is a Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield, and earned her PhD in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.  Her award-winning book, Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented Terrorism (Cambridge University Press, 2013), analyses the construction of the meanings of "terrorism" and terrorism expertise in the United States.  Her current research focuses on the new "speakability" of torture in the post 9/11 war on terror.  

Research Interests


Human Rights

Political Violence

War On Terror

Human Rights




Countries of Interest

United States


Books Written:

(2013) Disciplining Terror: How Experts Invented Terrorism, Cambridge University Press

Since 9/11 we have been told that terrorists are pathological evildoers, beyond our comprehension. Before the 1970s, however, hijackings, assassinations, and other acts we now call 'terrorism' were considered the work of rational strategic actors. Disciplining Terror examines how political violence became 'terrorism', and how this transformation ultimately led to the current 'war on terror'. Drawing upon archival research and interviews with terrorism experts, Lisa Stampnitzky traces the political and academic struggles through which experts made terrorism, and terrorism made experts. She argues that the expert discourse on terrorism operates at the boundary - itself increasingly contested - between science and politics, and between academic expertise and the state. Despite terrorism now being central to contemporary political discourse, there have been few empirical studies of terrorism experts. This book investigates how the concept of terrorism has been developed and used over recent decades.h