Christopher Anzalone is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Belfer Center's International Security Program. His dissertation, which focuses on Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and Al-Shabaab in Somalia, examines the intersection of social movement dynamics with ideology and strategic political and economic goals and how these affect the utilization and framing of violence in insurgent proto-states governed by jihadi-insurgent groups with hybridized ideologies and cross-regional support networks. It also looks at the strategic and symbolic dimensions of Islamist insurgent violence and how it impacts and is impacted by organizational structure, cohesion, and culture. In addition, it examines the use of symbolic repertoires and symbolic power as a form of soft power by Islamist insurgent organizations pursuing territorial governance projects.
His research interests include political Islam, political violence and terrorism, Shi'ite Islam, and Islamic visual cultures and narratives of martyrdom and self-sacrifice. He earned his Ph.D. in Islamic, Middle Eastern, and African studies at McGill University, an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a B.A. in history and religious studies from George Mason University. He has published articles on political Islam, jihadi groups and ideologies, and Shi'ite Islam including in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Turkish Review, and the CTC Sentinel published by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point's Combating Terrorism Center. He has also presented on his research for U.S. CENTCOM and SOCOM, the U.S. Army, the Departments of State and Defense, the Canadian and U.K. governments, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Atlantic Council.Last Updated: Nov 26, 2018, 5:19am