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Howe discusses ancient terrorism

By Jessica Moes '14
September 29, 2011

St. Olaf Associate Professor of History Timothy Howe was the keynote speaker at Re-visioning Terrorism: An Interdisciplinary and International Conference at Purdue University.

The conference, which coincided with the 10-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, gave Howe the opportunity to deliver a paper on Athenian insurgency against Alexander the Great and his father, Philip II. He also discussed how history can guide modern scholars and politicians to interpret terrorism and insurgency today.

Howe was asked to speak at the conference due in large part to his recent work Insurgency and Terrorism in the Ancient Mediterranean, a collection of 14 essays by a team of national experts on the subject. Howe is the editor for the project, and is also the author of one essay about insurgency during the time of Alexander the Great. The book emphasizes a modern methodological approach to terrorism and insurgency that differs from what Howe calls "trendy military parallels."

The opportunity to speak at the conference was supported by the Scott R. Jacobs Alexander the Great Fellowship, awarded to Howe by the University of Utah to continue his research on ancient Mediterranean insurgency and terrorism, specifically during the reign of Alexander the Great. The university granted Howe the fellowship because his topic of study was new. "That is what is great about history," says Howe. "People don't realize that there is a wealth of new topics to explore."

Howe credits his teaching career at St. Olaf as the inspiration for this approach. "When the students are new, the conversations are new," he says. "It ensures that I am also a student, learning new perspectives from those in my classroom. That is the beauty of a liberal arts education."

Contact Kari VanDerVeen at 507-786-3970 or