Teaching about terrorism in the United Kingdom: How it is done and what problems it causes

David Miller, Tom Mills, Steven Harkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents some of the findings of research on issues surrounding teaching terrorism and political violence at UK higher education institutions. It reports the results of a survey of UK institutions of higher education on their responses to government and other pressures in relation to terrorism. The data show a minority of universities have developed systems, policies or procedures for ‘preventing violent extremism’, while a significant number have developed close cooperation and collaboration with state counterterrorism policies raising potential issues of academic freedom. This article then examines three high-profile cases – incidents where universities, lecturers and students have come under political and legal pressures over the content of terrorism courses or accusations of ‘radicalisation’ on campus. It suggests that these pressures can be and sometimes are resisted, but that they have on occasion effectively narrowed the scope of academic freedom in practise with the danger that a further chilling effect follows in their wake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-420
Number of pages16
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • terrorism
  • counterterrorism
  • higher education
  • academic freedom


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