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Tackling ‘Terrorism in France’

February 6, 2017 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Mariama Goodwin '17 in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Goodwin traveled to France in January to study terrorism. (Photo courtesy of Mariama Goodwin)

Ohio Wesleyan Students Visit Paris to Research Timely Topic

Names: Emma Beale ’17 and Mariama Goodwin ’17
Experience: Small Grant Program for Signature Projects, “Inside the Criminal Minds: Terrorism in France”

Beale, a psychology and French double-major from Maumee, Ohio, and Goodwin, an International Studies and French double-major from Washington, D.C., traveled to Paris for a week in January to study terrorism from multiple angles, including patriarchy within terrorist organizations, the prison system and terrorist recruitment, and the role of propaganda and media coverage.

Their project stemmed from an independent study directed by Mary Anne Lewis, Ph.D., assistant professor of Modern Foreign Languages and assistant director of OWU's Global Studies Institute.

Lessons learned:
Goodwin: “We learned a lot about the ways in which terrorism is both spread and commoditized by the media in order to create highly sensationalized (and thus more intriguing) stories. We were able to meet with Dr. Ziad Majed, a professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the American University in Paris, who informed us about the many subversive ways in which terrorists are produced and terrorist ideologies are spread.

“He also taught us a lot about the ‘banlieues,’ (or cités), where many Muslim immigrants from various Middle Eastern and North African countries move to in France, and how those areas are often pushed to the periphery of French society.”

Beale: “Something that especially struck me was his description of media’s depiction of recent attacks as the ‘Islamification of terror,’ meaning, that when a terror attack is committed by a non-white person, it is a ‘terrorist attack’ and when a terror attack is committed by a white person it is ‘an unfortunate event carried out by a mentally unstable person.’ ”

Goodwin: We were also able to visit various places that taught us about the history of French immigration, such as the Musee Nationale de l’Histoire de l’Immigration, and about the Arab world, such as the Institut du Monde Arab. I think this topic really important, as well as time-specific, because of the world we live in today, where a lot of foreign-policy decisions are based off of phenomena, like terrorism, and the reactions that many citizens around the world have to it.”

Emma Beale '17
Emma Beale '17 in front of the famous Louvre Museum. Beale earned a grant from Ohio Wesleyan to support a trip to Paris to study terrorism. (Photo courtesy of Emma Beale)

Why I chose Ohio Wesleyan:
Beale: “I wanted a small liberal arts school with good academics and an emphasis on travel learning. Obviously, these are arguably OWU's two strongest areas, so it was a natural fit. … I feel that out-of-classroom experience is invaluable; some of my most meaningful lessons have been learned while abroad, or on a mission trip, or through an opportunity such as this. Being able to read about something and then see it in person is, for me, absolutely the most impactful way to learn.” Beale also discusses her OWU experience in this new video.

 Goodwin: “I chose Ohio Wesleyan because I wanted to experience the liberal arts climate, and I wanted to pursue a major that was well-rounded, as well as diverse. I’ve been very blessed to be able to complete my International Studies major, and even add a French major in the process.”

My plans after graduation:
Beale: “I will be spending a year working for Americorps City Year in Dallas.”

Goodwin: “I plan to, one day, join the Peace Corps. As for my immediate plans, I hope to move back home to D.C., and work for a nonprofit that specializes in international development.”