Understanding September 11

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When terrorists flew jets into World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, the social effects were as dramatic as the visual images. Individual lives, families, friendship networks, corporations, global financial flows, and politics were all transformed. Moving beyond the headlines, first impressions, political speeches, and soundbites, Understanding September 11 is a basic resource for making sense of these changes. Knowledge from the social sciences fills in necessary background, provides contexts for interpretation, and offers vital analytic perspectives. It helps us see the underlying roots of the current crisis, as well as the influence of social change. It shows how religious and cultural factors intertwine with economic and security concerns. It allows us to make sense of the role of Islam, the impact on international relations, and the challenges for democratic societies.

Written by many of today’s foremost anthropologists, economists, historians, political scientists, and sociologists, Understanding September 11 offers the most complete account available, not just of terror and tragedy but of the challenges we now face, and the issues we must understand in order to make informed choices about our future.



“Calhoun and his colleagues open up a critical intellectual space for understanding the conditions and implications of September 11 and its aftermath. These reflections should be required reading not only for the academy but for all those who seek to move beyond the clichés and curt op-eds that have defined the public response to that day’s losses. The discussions that follow this volume should not only improve our analytical capacities but also cultivate our sense of global public responsibility.”
—Michael D. Kennedy, director of the International Institute at the University of Michigan

Books by Craig Calhoun

Lessons of Empire
Imperial Histories and American Power

Craig Calhoun, Frederick Cooper, Kevin W. Moore

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