Nixon’s War on Terrorism: The FBI, Leftist Guerrillas, and the Origins of Counterterrorism (under contract, University of North Carolina Press, Justice, Power, and Politics series)

During the presidency of Richard Nixon (1969-1974), homegrown leftist guerrilla groups such as the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army carried out hundreds of bombings and other violent attacks throughout the United States. How did this violence influence the Federal Bureau of Investigation and American politics? Drawing on thousands of pages of FBI documents and other declassified sources, this book shows how guerrilla violence prompted the FBI to institute new policing measures and revive illegal spy techniques previously used against alleged Communist “subversives” in the name of fighting “terrorism.” These efforts unexpectedly led to a bureaucratic struggle between the Nixon administration and the FBI that played a key role in precipitating the Watergate Scandal and Nixon’s resignation. At the same time, however, FBI and White House officials developed surveillance practices that would inform U.S. counterterrorism strategies into the twenty-first century, entrenching mass surveillance as a cornerstone of the national security state.

Nixon’s War on Terrorism offers a new look at several of the most important developments in postwar U.S. politics: the Black Power movement, the New Left, domestic surveillance, COINTELPRO, Watergate, and counterterrorism. Connecting the dots between political violence and “law and order” politics, this book reveals how counterterrorism emerged from violent 1970s conflicts over racial inequality, American foreign policy, and state power.

 

Science for the People: Documents from America’s Movement of Radical Scientists, co-edited with Sigrid Schmalzer and Alyssa Botelho (University of Massachusetts Press, 2018)

For the first time, this book compiles original documents from Science for the People, the most important radical science movement in U.S. history. Between 1969 and 1989, Science for the People mobilized American scientists, teachers, and students to practice a socially and economically just science, rather than one that served militarism and corporate profits. Through research, writing, protest, and organizing, members sought to demystify scientific knowledge and embolden “the people” to take science and technology into their own hands. The movement’s numerous publications were crucial to the formation of science and technology studies, challenging mainstream understandings of science as “neutral” and instead showing it as inherently political. Its members, some at prominent universities, became models for politically engaged science and scholarship by using their knowledge to challenge, rather than uphold, the social, political, and economic status quo.

Highlighting Science for the People’s activism and intellectual interventions in a range of areas—including militarism, race, gender, medicine, agriculture, energy, and global affairs—this volume offers vital contributions to today’s debates on science, justice, democracy, sustainability, and political power.

 

Academic Journal Articles

“Teaching With the FBI’s Science for the People File,” Radical History Review 127 (January 2017): 180-185

 

 

“Rallying for Repression: Police Terror, ‘Law-and-Order’ Politics, and the Decline of Maine’s Prisoners’ Rights Movement,” The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture 5, no. 1 (2012): 47-73

 

Book Reviews

Review of Jonathan Lerner, Swords in the Hands of Children: Reflections of an American Revolutionary, The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics, and Culture (February 2018)

Review of Arthur M. Eckstein, Bad Moon Rising: How the Weather Underground Beat the FBI and Lost the Revolution, Journal of American History 104, no. 3 (2017), 817-818.