Martha Crenshaw

All CISAC People Institute Faculty and Researchers
Martha Crenshaw

Martha Crenshaw, PhD

  • Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Emerita
  • Professor, by courtesy, of Political Science, Emerita
Not in residence


Martha Crenshaw is a senior fellow emerita at CISAC and FSI. She taught at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, from 1974 to 2007.  She has published extensively on the subject of terrorism.  In 2011 Routledge published Explaining Terrorism, a collection of her previously published work.  A book co-authored with Gary LaFree titled Countering Terrorism was published by the Brookings Institution Press in 2017. She recently authored a report for the U.S. Institute of Peace, “Rethinking Transnational Terrorism:  An Integrated Approach”.


 She served on the Executive Board of Women in International Security and is a former President and Councilor of the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP). In 2005-2006 she was a Guggenheim Fellow. She was a lead investigator with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Response to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland from 2005 to 2017.  She is currently affiliated with the National Counterterrorism, Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center, also a Center of Excellence for the Department of Homeland Security.  In 2009 the National Science Foundation/Department of Defense Minerva Initiative awarded her a grant for a research project on "mapping terrorist organizations," which is ongoing.  She has served on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences.  In 2015 she was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy.  She is the recipient of the International Studies Association International Security Studies Section Distinguished Scholar Award for 2016. Also in 2016 Ghent University awarded her an honorary doctorate.  She serves on the editorial boards of the journals International Security, Security Studies, Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, Orbis, and Terrorism and Political Violence.


In The News

1 Volunteer anti ISIS

ISIS terrorist group potential threat to US, Crenshaw says

Terrorism expert Martha Crenshaw says the terrorist group known as ISIS poses a danger to the U.S. if it grows more powerful. But that organization, she adds, may be overreaching in its ruthlessness and religious zealotry.
Encina Hall and its front lawn

FSI scholars call advances of Islamic militants in Iraq stunning

Karl Eikenberry tells ABC News (Australia) that the advances of the Islamic militants in Iraq in the last week have been stunning. And Martha Crenshaw joins a panel on public radio program KQED Forum to talk about who the militants are and the caliphate they envision.
1 Keshav Simulation

Security class gets extra help from technology created by Stanford grads

When some 140 Stanford students and faculty recently gathered to simulate an emergency session of the UN Security Council, they had some real-world data that had never been used before: satellite images of Iran’s Arak nuclear facility. They came from Skybox Imaging, a Silicon Valley start-up launched by Stanford grads working at the intersection of technology and security.