07 December 2017

Where does ISIS go from here?

In A Theory of ISIS, his latest book, Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute, traces ISIS’s genealogy, revealing how the group has transcended Osama Bin Laden’s original scheme of Al Qaeda and mutated into an unprecedented hybrid between postcolonial violence, postmodernity and postglobalisation. 

In the course of a few years, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – more commonly known as ISIS – has become classified as the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world. It is the subject of intense Western scrutiny, demonised by all, and shrouded in numerous myths and narratives. 

Against these established narratives, Professor Mohamedou offers an original take on the militant group in his new book. He explains the proliferation of terrorist attacks on the West and deepens our understanding of the group’s impact on the very nature of contemporary political violence.

Reacting to the “under-theorisation and under-conceptualisation” of ISIS, he argues that “a thoroughgoing political history perspective on the question of violence” is needed to account for the group’s evolution functioning at multiple and complex levels.

Learn more in this interview >

Full citation of the book: Mohamedou, Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould. A Theory of ISIS: Political Violence and Transformation of the Global Order. London: Pluto Press, 2017. Distributed by University of Chicago Press.