Skip to main content
You are here

UC Davis experts on the Paris attacks and aftermath

By Karen Nikos-Rose on November 19, 2015 in

Impact on migrant groups already marginalized in Europe

Maurice Stierl is a Mellon visiting assistant professor for comparative border studies at UC Davis. His research and teaching focus on migration and border struggles in contemporary Europe and North Africa in discourse and practice.

In the direct aftermath of the attacks “we witnessed not only how French borders were (temporarily) resurrected but also how other European countries increased border control measures and oftentimes connected issues of migration to those of terrorism. We can already see tendencies toward greater forms of surveillance and control of migrant populations.”

Stierl is an active member of the activist project WatchTheMed Alarm Phone, which created a “hotline” for migrants in distress at sea when traveling toward Europe. The Alarm Phone network, consisting of more than 100 human rights and freedom of movement activists located in Africa, Europe and the United States, has been able to connect with thousands of travelers in acute emergency situations since October 2014 and has thereby directly intervened into the most deadly border zone of the world.

Stierl can speak about the dramatic socio-political transformations currently occurring within and beyond Europe, sparked by migration movements. He is the author of “No One Is Illegal! — Resistance and the Politics of Discomfort” (2012), published in Globalizations. Contact:

History of Middle East terrorism and effect on the world

UC Davis religious studies professor Flagg Miller is a terrorism expert. He has examined how Western intelligence and terrorism experts, together with global media networks, helped fuel Osama bin Laden’s growing reputation in ways that were exploited by bin Laden and those who supported his militant vision. Miller’s recent book “The Audacious Ascetic” examined bin Laden’s role in terrorism. Miller’s work examines the contents of bin Laden’s personal audiotape library, a collection of more than 1,500 tapes acquired from his residence in Qandahar, Afghanistan, by CNN in 2001. Miller has been the sole researcher to study and publish findings on the tapes. He has worked as a linguistic anthropologist in Yemen, bin Laden’s ancestral homeland, and is the author of the book, “The Moral Resonance of Arab Media: Audiocassette Poetry and Culture in Yemen” (2007). Contact: (530) 574-3758,

Muslim fundamentalism and ISIS

Karima Bennoune, a professor of international law, is an expert on Muslim fundamentalism and can address issues related to the Islamic State, or ISIS. She also has extensive regional expertise on the Middle East and North Africa and on terrorist and extremist movements and responses to them. She has carried out fieldwork across these regions. Bennoune appeared as an expert commentator on “Anderson Cooper 360: The ISIS Threat,” which aired on CNN on March 2, 2015. She is the author of “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight against Muslim Fundamentalism,” winner of the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize in nonfiction. The book is the basis for her TED talk, “When people of Muslim heritage challenge fundamentalism,” which has received over 1.3 million views. Separate from her work at UC Davis, she also serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights. Contact:

Racial profiling, counterterrorism

Sunaina Maira is a professor of Asian American studies. She can speak about racial profiling, counterterrorism, and “radicalization” of Muslim youth and “homegrown terrorists.”

She is the author of “Desis in the House: Indian American Youth Culture in New York City” and “Missing: Youth, Citizenship, and Empire After 9/11.” She co-edited “Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America,” which won the American Book Award in 1997, and “Youthscapes: The Popular, the National, and the Global.” Maira’s recent publications include a monograph based on ethnographic research, “Jil [Generation] Oslo: Palestinian Hip Hop, Youth Culture, and the Youth Movement” (Tadween), and a volume co-edited with Piya Chatterjee, “The Imperial University: Academic Repression and Scholarly Dissent” (University of Minnesota Press). Her new book project is a study of South Asian, Arab, and Afghan American youth and political movements focused on civil and human rights and issues of sovereignty and surveillance in the War on Terror. Contact:

UC Davis has other faculty with expertise on the Paris issue, so please check with the contact listed for further information and experts.

Media contact(s)

Karen Nikos-Rose, Research news (emphasis: arts, humanities and social sciences), 530-219-5472,

Media Resources