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A Genealogy of Terrorism: Colonial Law and the Origins of an Idea

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See NAOC Editor-in-Chief Dr. Joseph McQuade discuss his new book with Jawad Hussain Qureshi, Senior South Asia Analyst at the PCO.

About this Event

Join us to hear NATO Association of Canada’s Editor-in-Chief Dr. Joseph McQuade discuss his new book  A Geneology of Terrorism: Colonial Law and the Origins of An Idea with Jawad Hussain Qureshi, Senior South Asia Analyst at the Privy Council Office. 

About the Book

Using India as a case study, Joseph McQuade demonstrates how the modern concept of terrorism was shaped by colonial emergency laws dating back into the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Beginning with the ‘thugs’, ‘pirates’, and ‘fanatics’ of the nineteenth century, McQuade traces the emerging and novel legal category of ‘the terrorist’ in early twentieth-century colonial law, ending with an examination of the first international law to target global terrorism in the 1930s. Drawing on a wide range of archival research and a detailed empirical study of evolving emergency laws in British India, he argues that the idea of terrorism emerged as a deliberate strategy by officials seeking to depoliticize the actions of anti-colonial revolutionaries, and that many of the ideas embedded in this colonial legislation continue to shape contemporary understandings of terrorism today.

Professor Samuel Moyn of Yale University calls the book, “An essential contribution to imperial and international legal history.”

Our Speakers

Jawad Hussain Qureshi is a senior South Asia analyst at the Privy Council Office (PCO) since 2009. He has focused on South Asia in his academic work at McGill, Concordia and UBC. He has also worked in Kandahar, Afghanistan and Dhaka, Bangladesh on assignments for the Canadian government. Jawad has also done secondments with defence and foreign affairs partners in Washington and Canberra and published joint assessments with additional foreign partners. Prior to joining the Canadian federal government, Mr. Hussain Qureshi worked in broadcast media in Pakistan and as a South Asia analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Joseph McQuade is Editor-in-Chief at the NATO Association of Canada, where he runs the Centre for Disinformation Studies program. He is also the RCL Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Toronto’s Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy and a former SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient, as well as a Managing Editor of the Journal of Indian Ocean World Studies. Dr. McQuade completed his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar, with a dissertation that examined the history of counter-terrorism laws in colonial India from an international perspective. This research forms the basis of his first book, A Genealogy of Terrorism: Colonial Law and the Origins of an Idea (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in November 2020). Dr. McQuade has also published widely in academic journals such as the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, the Journal of World History, and History Compass, and has commented on current affairs for national news broadcasters such as CBC and CTV.

NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and NATO’s goal of peace, prosperity, and security. The NATO Association of Canada ensures that we have an informed citizenry able to contribute to discussions about Canada’s role on the world stage.