Associate Professor

Sharad Joshi Headshot 2019
McGowan Building MG200E
(831) 647-6508

Sharad Joshi teaches courses in and researches topics related to terrorism and nuclear issues in South Asia and Southeast Asia. He first came to the Middlebury Institute as a postdoctoral fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in 2006 and joined the full-time faculty at the Graduate School of International Policy and Management in 2011. His wide-ranging interests in international relations were sparked in middle and high school in India during the tumultuous years when the Cold War came to a close. He studied economics as an undergraduate and then discovered an MA program in international relations, which was the most obvious path given his burgeoning interest in the field throughout the first half of the 1990s. After his MA (and a short detour as a journalist), he moved to a PhD program in the United States focusing on terrorism and nuclear issues as part of his dissertation. At the Middlebury Institute, he also served as a research associate and interim director of the Monterey Terrorism Research and Education Program. Currently, he is affiliated as an associate fellow for international security at the Chatham House think-tank in the United Kingdom. 

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two 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 2019 - MIIS, Fall 2020 - MIIS

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Terrorist violence has persisted in various parts of South Asia for several decades. A variety of interconnected reasons can be assigned to this phenomenon – state sponsorship, separatist tendencies, religious and sectarian divides, and political meddling. Terrorism in South Asia is also a crucial concern because of its broader connections to extra-regional terrorist networks. The two dominant states in South Asia possess nuclear weapons and have a long history of military conflict and have periodically experienced crises situations provoked by terrorist attacks. Additionally, the history of proliferation networks and concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear security further exacerbate the threat perception from terrorist networks.

The object of this course is to understand the causes and dimensions of terrorism in South Asia and to analyze positions adopted by the involved parties, state and non-state. From the policy perspective, this is essential toward formulating responses to terrorism in the region. South Asia is conventionally defined as the region comprising the countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives. But for the purposes of this seminar we will also look at developments in Afghanistan (generally considered as South-West Asia), given its crucial links to terrorism issues in South Asia.

Fall 2019 - MIIS, Fall 2020 - MIIS

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In the realm of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), South Asia is one of the key regions of analysis. This course takes a comprehensive look at the role of WMD in the strategic thinking of various actors involved in the South Asian security framework. It is important to note that South Asian nuclear issues cannot be studied in isolation from other regional and global dynamics. States such as the U.S., China, and Russia are crucial players in the South Asian strategic framework. The course examines various reasons behind WMD acquisition by India and Pakistan, concentrating especially on nuclear weapons. These factors include threat perceptions, domestic imperatives and nationalistic attitudes. A key element of nuclear weapons programs is the development of effective delivery systems such as missiles and aircraft. Analysis of such programs provides an indicator of current and future strategy. In this context, both India and Pakistan have made major strides in their cruise and ballistic missile programs to make their nuclear strategy more credible. At the same time, neither side has a clearly enunciated nuclear doctrine, although attempts have been made in this direction. This is crucial in context of a reliable command and control system and for crisis stability. Another major issue covered in this course is the proliferation of WMD materials to non-state actors or aspiring nuclear states by proliferation networks connected to South Asia. Relatedly, policymakers in the region and elsewhere are also concerned with the danger of nuclear terrorism. These are some of the prominent issues concerning weapons of mass destruction in South Asia. The two sides have periodically taken steps to prevent nuclear crises situations. Apart from nuclear weapons, this seminar also examines chemical and biological weapons policy in the two countries.

Spring 2019 - MIIS, Spring 2020 - MIIS

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International Security Research and Analysis

An introductory survey of research methods, with special attention to how research can be utilized to inform policies related to international security. The course gives particular emphasis to the processes of identifying research topics and designing research projects. It will also address the basic elements of doing policy analysis. Students who complete the course will be able to read with comprehension and critically assess research produced across a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods. The course will also address how to write up and present research proposals and finished research products, and will consider the ethics of doing research. The course will be conducted primarily in lecture format, but some class time will also be devoted to exercises that involve active student participation.

Spring 2019 - MIIS, Fall 2019 - MIIS

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International Crisis Negotiation Exercise

This exercise will use the Korean Six-Party talks to provide participants with the opportunity to learn and apply skills in regional situation analysis, negotiation techniques, strategic thinking, leadership, planning, crisis management, decision-making, team-building and time management. Along with participants from other area educational institutions, participants are divided into delegations representing the six participating nations (China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, the United States, and Russia). Under the mentorship of faculty and guest experts, students organize delegations, plan, strategize, negotiate, and promote national interests in an attempt to resolve the escalating nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

The International Strategic Crisis Negotiation Exercise (ISCNE) is a US Army War College sponsored, Middlebury Institute hosted simulation that allows participants to tackle real-world, contemporary geopolitical problems. This exercise is designed to engage and educate participants in the process and substance of crisis negotiations at the international level over a three-day period. The intent is for the participants to gain experience in negotiations at the strategic level to come away with a greater understanding of the complexity of the problem and the effort that goes into the pursuit of a resolution to a regional crisis that has broad international implications. The educational rigor is drawn from the participant’s own endeavors as members selected to be part of a nation’s negotiation team. Each team engages with their counterparts within the framework of a United Nations’ mandated peace conference in an effort to resolve a long-standing, potentially volatile crisis. This experiential learning event will help expose students to the complexity of negotiating with nations that have diverse and often irreconcilable positions and objectives. The key learning objective is the realistic search for overlapping interests that could permit progress to be made in resolving conflict.

Spring 2019 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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Various parts of South-East Asia have been plagued by terrorist violence in recent decades. South-East Asia refers to the region eastward from Burma/Myanmar till the Philippines. This course studies the phenomenon of terrorism in countries of the region such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Some of the groups that this course examines include – Jemaah Islamiyah, Abu Sayyaf, Moro Islamic Liberation Front – their objectives, characteristics, composition, ideologies, tactics and fund-raising. Apart from these cases, the course also examines thematic issues such as the prospect of WMD terrorism and proliferation of WMD materials, maritime terrorism and piracy, and U.S. policy on counter-terrorism in South-East Asia. We also discuss connections between groups in South-East Asia and regional and global terrorist groups elsewhere, such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban. In order to have a comprehensive picture of non-state security threats in the region, the course also examines the various insurgent movements in Myanmar. Finally, given the close security dynamics between Australia and South-East Asia, this course also looks at terrorism-related issues in Australia.

Spring 2019 - MIIS

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Areas of Interest

Sharad Joshi’s research interests focus on several issues pertaining to terrorism, and nuclear weapons, especially in South Asia. This includes decision-making and strategies on the part of these groups, including terrorist financing, CBRN terrorism, and rivalry and cooperation amongst terrorist groups. His research on nuclear weapons in South Asia includes examining the nuclear rivalry in the subcontinent and issues related to security of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. 

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D in International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh
  • M.A. in Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • B.A. (Honors) in Economics, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur

Professor Joshi has been teaching at the Institute since 2007.


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