Jessica Stern


Research Professor, Pardee School of Global Studies


BA: Barnard College
PhD: Harvard University

(617) 353-8913
152 Bay State Road, # 337 Boston, MA 02215

Jessica Stern’s main focus is on perpetrators of violence and the possible connections between trauma and terror.  She has written on terrorist groups across religions and ideologies, among them neo-Nazis, Islamists, anarchists, and white supremacists.  She has also written about counter-radicalization programs for both neo-Nazi and Islamist terrorists.  She has been working with a team at the Harvard School of Public Health to evaluate countering violent extremism (CVE) programs in Colorado, Canada, Sweden and Macedonia, a project funded by NATO and the Department of Homeland Security. She is also working on a project researching prison deradicalization funded by the National Institute of Justice.  Her forthcoming book, My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide, is a study of Radovan Karadzic, indicted for war crimes in Bosnia.

Stern is the coauthor with J.M. Berger of ISIS: The State of Terror; and the author of Denial: A Memoir of Terror, selected by the Washington Post as a best book of the year; Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill, selected by the New York Times as a notable book of the year; The Ultimate Terrorists; and numerous articles on terrorism.   She has held fellowships awarded by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Erik Erikson Institute, and the MacArthur Foundation.  She was a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, a National Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and a Fellow of the World Economic Forum.  Stern taught as a Lecturer at Harvard University from 1999-2015.  Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, she worked in government, serving on President Clinton’s National Security Council Staff and as an analyst at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She is a 2016 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Psychoanalysis.


Terrorism, Trauma, Rape, Atrocities, Post-traumatic Growth