Mia Bloom

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Mia Melissa Bloom is a Canadian terrorism expert considered an expert on the psychology of suicide bombing.

Education and Career

Bloom studied Russian History and Middle East Studies at McGill University in Canada, graduating in 1989. She then studied a Masters in Arab Studies at Georgetown University where according to the University of Georgia’s Research Magazine she first developed an interest in terrorism. [1] (Georgetown University is one of the major hubs of the ‘terrorism industry’ in America and has produced scores of government friendly and corporate affiliated experts.[2]) At some point, although it is not clear when, Bloom also attended a ‘One Year Program in Middle East International Relations’ at Tel Aviv University [3] – another of the major centres of the ‘terrorism industry’. [4]

At Georgetown Bloom was a ‘Graduate Teaching Assistant’ for two Israeli academics, Yaacov Roi (1989-90) and the late Ehud Sprinzak (1990-91). Both professors were part of Georgetown’s Visiting Israeli Professorship programme, funded by Aaron and Cecile Goldman. [5] Ehud Sprinzak later founded and was dean of the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, where fellow ‘terrorism expert’ Boaz Ganor is based. Whilst at Georgetown, and for a period afterwards, Bloom also worked as a ‘Grant Evaluator’ for the Abraham Fund (1991-1996) – an Israeli/American charity which works on Jewish-Arab relations within Israel. [6]

Mia Bloom's first book Dying to Kill

From 1995 to 1999 Bloom was Ph.D candidate in political science at Columbia University. She has said that she proposed writing her dissertation in on a topic such as suicide bombing, ‘but no one was interested in terror then.’ [7] Instead she researched ‘how outside interventions, in countries undergoing civil strife, often make the conflicts worse through ethnic clashes and the killing of civilians.’ [8] Her dissertation, which was published in December 1999, was entitled, ‘Failures of Intervention: The Unintended Consequences of Mixed Messages and the Exacerbation of Ethnic Conflict’. Whilst at Columbia, Bloom won several academic awards including a Summer Travelling Fellowship from the Middle East Institute (1995) and a scholar award from the United States Institute of Peace (1995-96). [9]

Bloom took a position at Cornell University after she finished her PhD and was given a grant from the MacArthur Foundation to study rape and war, child soldiers, and suicide bombing. She took her grant with her when she moved to Princeton University’ Center of International Studies. [10] She received grants from the United States Institute of Peace and the International Studies Association in 2003 and became a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (until 2008). [11]

In 2005 Bloom’s book Dying to Kill was published by Columbia University Press, after which Bloom was regularly consulted by the US media. According to her CV she ‘appears regularly on CNN, Fox News, CSPAN, NBC Nightly News, and has been interviewed by Jim Lehrer, Ted Koppel, and Jesse Pearson for MTV.’ [12]

Views

Bloom rejects crude explanations for the motivations of suicide bombers – for example racial hatred, religious fanaticism or the supposed belief in virgins awaiting martyrs in the afterlife – however she rejects Robert Pape’s contention that suicide bombings are driven by foreign occupation. According to the University of Georgia’s Research Magazine, ‘she points to the 241 suicide bombs that have exploded since 2001 in Pakistan, where there is no foreign occupying presence. Blowing oneself up has become part of the sectarian violence resulting from conflicts over resources.’ [13]

Affiliations

Terrorism Research Initiative [14]

Publications

  • Mia Bloom, Dying to kill: the allure of suicide terror (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005)

References

  1. Rebecca McCarthy, ‘UGA’s Terrorism Maven’, Research Magazine, Winter 2008
  2. see Powerbase page on Georgetown’s ‘terrorism industry’ and Edna F. Reid, Hsinchun Chen, ‘Mapping the contemporary terrorism research domain’, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 65 (2007) 42–56 for further details
  3. Mia Bloom CV, from <www.artsci.uc.edu/CollegeMain/.../CV%202005%20research.doc> [Accessed 17 September 2009
  4. Edna F. Reid, Hsinchun Chen, ‘Mapping the contemporary terrorism research domain’, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 65 (2007) 42–56 for further details
  5. Center for Jewish Civilisation, Aaron and Cecile Goldman Visiting Israeli Professorship, [Accessed 17 September 2009]
  6. Ibid.
  7. Rebecca McCarthy, ‘UGA’s Terrorism Maven’, Research Magazine, Winter 2008
  8. Ibid.
  9. Mia Bloom CV, from <www.artsci.uc.edu/CollegeMain/.../CV%202005%20research.doc> [Accessed 17 September 2009
  10. Rebecca McCarthy, ‘UGA’s Terrorism Maven’, Research Magazine, Winter 2008
  11. Mia Bloom CV, from <www.artsci.uc.edu/CollegeMain/.../CV%202005%20research.doc> [Accessed 17 September 2009
  12. [Bloom CV]
  13. Rebecca McCarthy, ‘UGA’s Terrorism Maven’, Research Magazine, Winter 2008
  14. About Us, Perspectives on Terrorism, Terrorism Research Initiative, [Accessed 8 September 2009]