In Genealogies of Terrorism: Revolution, State Violence, Empire, Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson takes on the ambitious project of providing a broadly Foucauldian genealogical account of the concept and practice of “terrorism.” While I am not quite sure she summits every mountain she attempts to climb, Erlenbusch-Anderson makes a valuable contribution to an under-developed literature and she offers some tantalizing points of departure for future explorations of an important and timely subject. Genealogies is an eminently worthwhile read; while some grounding in Foucault (among others) is sure to enhance the experience, Erlenbusch-Anderson’s introduction provides an able road map, making the ascent up through the complex and truly fascinating history of “terrorism” an adventure that doesn’t leave the reader out of breath, yet offers some genuinely startling moments of insight that stop us, urging us to review much of what we think we know about a term that sees a good deal of use—one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter—if much less comprehension. Articulating a creative use of Foucault’s notion of a dispositf, that is, larger historical formations “on which discursive and nondiscursive practices, laws, institutions, political decisions, military measures, architectural forms, and mentalities are joined together” Erlenbusch-Anderson is able to provide comprehension to use, and like a page-turner detective novel, she provides use to the comprehension of the history of “terrorism” and thus to terrorism.
Lee, Wendy L.
"Genealogies of Terrorism: Revolution, State Violence, Empire,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 9, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol9/iss1/9