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Ph.D. Dissertation Defense - Elena E. Pokalova, Mon Nov 7, 2:30 PM, Bowman 102

Posted May. 5, 2011

Kent State University

College of Arts and Sciences

and the

Department of Political Science

announce the


Doctoral Dissertation Defense


Elena E. Pokalova


Shifting Faces of Terror after 9/11:

Framing the Terrorist Threat


Monday, November 7, 2011

  2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Dean’s conference room

 Bowman Hall 102


Examining Committee

Andrew Barnes, Co-Chair

Landon Hancock, Co-Chair

Steven Hook, Committee Member

Karl Kaltenthaler, Outside Committee Member

Mary Ann Heiss, Graduate Faculty Representative



This dissertation focuses on post-9/11 counterterrorism and analyzes how the war on terror has affected ways of addressing ethno-nationalist separatist conflicts. With the US-led counterterrorist operations in Afghanistan and Iraq following September 11, 2001, military means of fighting terrorism have become more widespread and more acceptable in the eyes of the international community. Ways of addressing terrorism have changed. However, such changes have not been limited exclusively to the threat of terrorism but have affected other phenomena, including ethno-nationalist separatism. The war on terror has presented governments with a discursive construct that some states have extrapolated to their separatist challenges. The dissertation analyses how the war on terror has enabled some governments to frame their ethno-nationalist separatist conflicts as a terrorist threat and to justify the use of military force against them under the banner of counterterrorism.

The findings of the dissertation indicate that the evolution of the concept of “new” terrorism following September 11has resulted in a tendency to blur the distinctions between the different types of terrorist threats (ethno-nationalist, religious, left- and right-wing). The subsequent blurring of the boundaries between Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups has resulted in the extension of the application of the term terrorism to other phenomena. As the case study of the Russo-Chechen ethno-nationalist separatist conflict reveals, the war on terror has been instrumental in the efforts of the Russian government to frame the unpopular conflict as part of the war, and to justify the use of military force as a counterterrorist operation. Similarly, the dissertation investigates how governments in China, Turkey, and Sri Lanka have resorted to terrorist framing in efforts to employ the military solution against separatism while receiving domestic and international support for their actions.