Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Jeffrey M. Bale

Associate Professor

Dr. Jeffrey M. Bale is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of International Policy and Management at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS). He also regularly teaches specialized courses on an adjunct basis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He obtained his BA in Middle Eastern and Islamic history at the University of Michigan, his MA in social movements and political sociology at the University of California at Berkeley, and his PhD in contemporary European history at Berkeley. He previously taught at Berkeley, Columbia University, and the University of California at Irvine, and was the recipient of postdoctoral fellowships from the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia, the Office of Scholarly Programs at the Library of Congress, and the Center for German and European Studies at Berkeley.

Dr. Bale has been studying violence-prone political and religious extremists for nearly three decades – long before it suddenly became “fashionable” in the wake of the tragic 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States – and has published numerous scholarly articles on terrorism, CBRN use by terrorists and states, right-wing extremism, Islamism, and covert political operations. He has just finished co-editing (with Bassam Tibi) a special issue of the journal Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions on Islamism, is in the final process of updating a two-part manuscript on underground neo-fascist networks in Cold War Europe and the terrorist “strategy of tension” in Italy, and is preparing three new scholarly monographs: one on the diverse array of Islamist networks currently operating in western Europe (The “Enemy Within”), another on the burgeoning “conspiracy theory” literature related to 9/11 and other major recent terrorist attacks (Imagined Terrorist Plots), and still another on the growing links between dissident left- and right-wing radicals in the West and Islamist groups (Where the Extremes Touch). He reads numerous foreign languages, has carried out specialized archival research (in the United States as well as in several European countries), has personally interviewed extremists from several political and religious milieus, and has accumulated an extensive collection of primary source materials related to both extremist and terrorist groups and covert politics). His responsibilities at MonTREP include preparing research reports on various aspects of terrorist ideologies, motivations, and operational techniques.

Dr. Bale has recently published several book chapters and articles in Patterns of Prejudice, Terrorism and Political Violence, and Democracy and Security, as well as a number of in-depth research reports for components of the U.S. government. He is currently a special consultant to the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal Totalitarian Movements and Political Religions (Taylor and Francis), and often serves as a consultant for government agencies and private organizations on matters related to terrorism and ideological extremism.

Expertise

Terrorism, Political and religious extremism, Insurgency and counterinsurgency, Unconventional warfare, Intelligence and covert operations, Conspiracy theories, Comparative revolutionary movements, Youth subcultures and counterculture, Terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, Organized crime, European history and politics, Middle Eastern history and politics, Islamic history, Military history, International politics

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

NPTG8509 - Historical Research Methods      

Historical Methods and Source Evaluation for Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies

This course is designed to provide an introduction to historical research methods, in particular the characteristics of various types of primary sources and basic techniques of source evaluation and criticism, with a focus on the areas of nonproliferation and terrorism studies. It is specifically intended for graduate students who have already taken lecture-oriented undergraduate or graduate courses dealing with terrorism or nonproliferation.

The class will be divided into several separate portions. The first portion will provide basic information about historical research, touching upon both philosophical issues (e.g., the nature of reality [ontology], human perceptions of reality [epistemology], etc.) and methodological issues (e.g., the distinction between primary and secondary sources, internal versus external source criticism, etc.). The second portion will provide some illustrative examples of the primary source research carried out by the two instructors, which students will analyze and discuss in class. In the third portion, everyone in the class will read selections from diverse primary source materials concerning both terrorism and nuclear age studies. Given that several states have already developed chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons programs, and that certain violent non-state groups espousing extremist political and religious ideologies have expressed an interest in acquiring and deploying these so-called “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD) against their designated enemies, it is necessary for students interested in nonproliferation and terrorism to learn how to access, analyze, and evaluate the reliability of primary sources dealing with both terrorism and proliferation/nonproliferation cases. During the fourth portion of the course, students will be working independently on the individual research topics they have selected, which must involve the utilization of some primary historical sources. During the fifth and final portion, each student will give an oral report in class to present and analyze his or her own research findings, which will then be discussed by the entire class. By the end of this last portion of the class, if not earlier, students will submit their completed research papers, which must involve the use of primary historical sources. The course requirements are as follows: regular attendance and active participation in class discussions (30% of grade), an oral report to be delivered in class (30% of grade), and a 7-10 page research paper (40% of grade).

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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NPTG8584 - Introduction to Terrorism      

This course is designed to provide a critical introduction to the subject of terrorism, an often misunderstood phenomenon that has assumed a particular salience in the wake of 9/11. Its aim is to clarify fundamental definitional and conceptual problems, introduce students to the burgeoning literature on the subject, describe basic terrorist organizational and operational methods, survey a wide range of terrorist groups and ideologies, examine certain high-profile terrorism themes, and tentatively assess the nature of the threat posed by terrorists to global security in the future.

Spring 2015 - MIIS, Fall 2015 - MIIS, Spring 2016 - MIIS

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NPTG8603 - Sem:The American Radical Right      

This seminar is designed to provide an overview of several important right-wing ideological milieus, movements, and organizations operating in the United States, including violent paramilitary groups, and is specifically intended for graduate students who have already taken lecture-oriented undergraduate or graduate courses dealing with terrorism. The class will be divided into three separate portions. In the first portion, the lectures and readings will focus on defining the right, identifying the characteristic features of the American extreme right, and describing different types of right-wing organizations that may pose domestic security threats. Since certain violent far right paramilitary organizations nowadays constitute the greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland (apart from foreign jihadist groups), it is necessary for every student interested in contemporary extremism, subversion, and terrorism to become more knowledgeable about key domestic radical right groups, their agendas, and their tactics. During the second portion of the course, students will spend their time working independently on the individual research topics they have selected, which can deal with any aspect of terrorism that interests them. During the third and final portion of the course, each student will give an oral report in class to present and analyze his or her research paper findings, which will then be discussed by the entire class. Near the end of this last portion of the class, if not earlier, students must submit their completed research papers.

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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NPTG8633 - SemAdvTerrrism:Global Jihadism      

This seminar is designed to provide a more in-depth examination of transnational jihadist organizations and networks with a global agenda, and is specifically intended for graduate students who have already taken lecture-oriented undergraduate or graduate courses dealing with terrorism. The class will be divided into three separate portions. During the first portion, after a session devoted to the provision of basic information about terrorism, terrorism research methods, Islam, and Islamism, everyone in the class will read chapters from a series of important recent books that deal with global jihadist networks and their objectives. Given the threat that such networks and their supporters currently pose to the security of the West, Russia, India, various states in Asia, and moderate Muslims everywhere, it is necessary for every student interested in terrorism to become much more knowledgeable about the jihadist agenda. During the second portion of the course, students will spend their time working independently on the individual research topics they have selected, which can deal with any aspect of terrorism that interests them. During the third and final portion, each student will give an oral report in class to present and analyze his or her research findings, which will then be discussed by the entire class. Near the end of this last portion of the class, if not earlier, students must submit their completed research papers. The course requirements are as follows: regular attendance and active participation in class discussions (30% of grade), an oral report to be delivered in class (30% of grade), and a 15-20 page research paper (40% of grade).

Fall 2015 - MIIS

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NPTG8634 - Sem:Apocalyptic Millenarianism      

This seminar is designed to provide an in-depth examination of certain key aspects of contemporary terrorism, and is specifically intended for graduate students who have already taken lecture-oriented undergraduate or graduate courses dealing with terrorism. The class will be divided into three separate portions. During the first portion, after a session devoted to the provision of basic information about terrorism and terrorism research methods, everyone in the class will read chapters from a series of important recent books that deal with apocalyptic millenarian groups and their objectives. Given the fact that groups of this type have periodically carried out serious acts of violence, either against “evil” outsiders or their own members, it is necessary for students interested in terrorism to obtain some knowledge about their characteristics. During the second portion of the course, students will spend their time working independently on the individual research topics they have selected, which can deal with any aspect of terrorism that interests them. During the third and final portion, each student will give an oral report in class to present and analyze his or her research findings, which will then be discussed by the entire class. Near the end of this last portion of the class, if not earlier, students must submit their completed research papers. The course requirements are as follows: regular attendance and active participation in class discussions (30% of grade), an oral report to be delivered in class (30% of grade), and a 15-20 page research paper (40% of grade).

Spring 2015 - MIIS

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NPTG8635 - Sem: State Terrorism      

This seminar is designed to provide an in-depth examination of certain important aspects of terrorism carried out directly by state security forces and/or indirectly by civilian paramilitary groups operating (wittingly or unwittingly) at the behest of states, and is specifically intended for graduate students who have already taken lecture-oriented undergraduate or graduate courses dealing with terrorism. Special attention will be paid to the covert manipulation of terrorism by states, the extent to which autonomous extremist groups function as their proxies, “death squads,” and “false flag” terrorist operations (real and imagined).

Fall 2015 - MIIS

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