icon-arrow-mobile-menu-dropdown icon-arrow-left icon-arrow-right icon-calendar icon-filter-select icon-compass icon-mail icon-facebook social-googleplus icon-hamburger icon-instagram icon-linkedin icon-map icon-minus-accordion icon-play icon-plus icon-quotemark icon-search icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-widget-updown icon-x social-youtube

Professor

Jeffrey Bale
Office
McGowan Building MG200D
Tel
(831) 647-6603
Email
jbale@miis.edu

Dr. Jeffrey M. Bale has been studying violence-prone political and religious extremists for over four decades and has published many scholarly studies on terrorism, right-wing extremism, Islamism, apocalyptic millenarian groups and cults, potential CBRN use by terrorists and states, and covert political operations. 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 main focus in recent decades has been on various aspects of terrorist ideologies, motivations, and operational techniques.

Over the years Bale has been awarded a number of prestigious doctoral and postdoctoral research fellowships. He recently published a two-volume collection comprising many of his published and unpublished scholarly works, The Darkest Sides of Politics (Routledge). Peer reviewers have described him as “a remarkable scholar,” “the world’s leading expert on right-wing terrorism,” someone whose “qualifications for the study of terrorism…are unmatched,” and an expert with an unparalleled “depth and breadth of knowledge of extremist ideologies.” Since 9/11, he has often served as a consulting Subject Matter Expert (SME) for government agencies as well as private organizations on matters related to terrorism and ideological extremism.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past four years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

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.

Fall 2016 - MIIS, Spring 2017 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS, Spring 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

SEM: Militant Islamic Organizations

This seminar is designed to provide a survey of select militant Islamic movements, specifically “gradualist” Islamist organizations that do not rely mainly on waging armed jihad and other types of fundamentalist or Islamist organizations that do not fall clearly into the jihadist category, 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 the basic tenets of Islam; an overview of Islamic history; the distinction between Islamic fundamentalism, political Islam, and Islamism; and important examples of the different types of movements noted above in particular regions. 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 contemporary extremism, subversion, and terrorism to become much more knowledgeable about key Islamic fundamentalist and “stealth” Islamist 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 Islamic fundamentalism or Islamism (including 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. 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 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

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 2016 - MIIS, Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

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 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

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 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

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, terrorism research methods, “light” and “dark” green environmentalism, and whether militant defense of the environment and “ecotage” fall into the category of terrorism, everyone in the class will read chapters from a series of important recent books that deal with radical ecology and animal rights organizations, as well as ideological treatises produced by activists associated with those milieus. Given that the FBI has identified eco-radical groups as a significant domestic terrorist threat, rightly or wrongly, it is necessary for every student interested in terrorism to become more knowledgeable about the ideologies, agendas, and activities of the “primitivist,” deep ecology, and animal liberation groups that promote and employ certain forms of violence. During the brief 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 environmentalism or 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/or a 15-20 page research paper (40% of grade).

Fall 2016 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Areas of Interest

Bale’s areas of interest include terrorism, political and religious extremism, insurgency and counterinsurgency, unconventional warfare, intelligence and covert operations, conspiracy theories, comparative revolutionary movements, rock ’n’ roll-oriented youth subcultures and countercultures, terrorism and “weapons of mass destruction,” organized crime, European history and politics, Middle Eastern history and politics, Islamic history, military history, international politics, and political philosophy.

Bale teaches the introductory lecture course on terrorism that is required for all students in the Institute’s Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program, a wide array of advanced seminars dealing with particular types of violent ideological extremism, and also an advanced seminar on “State Terrorism.” 

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. in Late Modern European History, University of California at Berkeley
  • MA in Political Sociology and Social Movements, University of California at Berkeley
  • BA in Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Inner Asian History, University of Michigan

Professor Bale has been teaching at the Institute since 2002.

Publications