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Faculty Profiles

Department: History

Randall LawRandall Law

Professor of History, Chair of Lupton Area


Berte Humanities Building 305

Contact Information:

Box 549031
Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-7836
Office Fax: (205) 226-3089
E-mail: rlaw@bsc.edu

Brief Career Background:

Randall Law has been a member of the Faculty of Birmingham-Southern since 2003. Before that, he taught at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and the University of Utah and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. He is the author of Terrorism: A History (Polity, 2nd ed., 2016), a survey of the field that was hailed in The Naval War College Review as "the quintessential work on the subject" and praised by James R. Locher III, a Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, as "an invaluable resource ...for counterterrorism experts, scholars, and concerned citizens." The first edition was published in 2009. Law is also the editor of The Routledge History of Terrorism, a 35-chapter reference work on the subject published in 2015. He is currently working on two projects. The first is a history of terrorism in the United States, with a particular emphasis on white supremacist violence. The second is a study of terrorism and political violence in the city of Odessa in the Russian Empire in the early twentieth century; in 2009 he spent four months in Odessa as a Fulbright Research Scholar. Law is frequently interviewed by national and international reporters on matters related to terrorism and Russian politics. In 2011, he received two awards at the College, the ODK Excellence in Teaching Award and the Richebourg Gaillard McWilliams Faculty Scholarship Award. In January 2016, Law organized a panel on the history of terrorism which aired in full on C-Span3.

Educational Background:

B.A. in Russian, Amherst College, 1991
M.A. in Russian Studies, Yale University, 1993
Ph.D. in History (concentrations in Russia and modern Europe), Georgetown University, 2001

Areas of Academic Interest:

  • Russia (particularly late 19th and 20th centuries)
  • Europe (particularly France and Germany) since the French Revolution
  • The history of terrorism

Courses Taught:

HI 102 European Civilization I (1)
The historical development of European social and political attitudes and institutions through the Age of Enlightenment.

HI 103 European Civilization II (1)
The historical development of European social and political attitudes and institutions from the French Revolution to the late twentieth century.

HI 244 The History of Terrorism (1)
An examination of the history of terrorism with the twin goals of explaining its contemporary prevalence and its historical significance. Emphasis is placed on the political, social, and cultural contexts of terrorism and political violence; critical, literary, and popular responses to terrorism; changing definitions of terrorism; and the interrelationship between terrorism and modernity. Topics include tyrannicide and terror in the ancient and medieval world; revolutionary terrorism and state terror in Europe and Russia since the eighteenth century; anarchist terrorism in Europe and the United States; white supremacist terrorism in the United States; ethno-nationalist terrorism in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa in the twentieth century; anti-imperialist and international terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s; and the recent upsurge in religiously inspired terrorism. Students who have taken HI 120 or HON 120 cannot take this course. (a Leadership Studies designated course)

HI 245 Russian Civilization (1)
An introduction to the history of Russia and its distinctive political, social, and cultural institutions and expressions, from the formation of Rus in the first millennium of the common era through the breakup of the Soviet Union (a Leadership Studies designated course).

HI 248 Modern Germany (1)
An examination of the history of Germany from the era of Bismarck through reunification at the end of the Cold War. Topics include the creation of the German nation-state, participation in the World Wars, Weimar, Nazism, East and West Germany, and post-reunification. The course emphasizes the use of Germany as a case study for studying the problems and paradoxes of European development in the modern era.

HI 342 French Revolution and Napoleon (1)
Analysis of the causes and course of the Revolution in France and the spread of revolutionary ideas and institutions in Europe, 1789 - 1815. Prerequisite: HI 300 or consent.

HI 344 Europe, 1914-1945 (1)
The development of the major European countries and of international relations in the era of the world wars. Prerequisite: HI 300 or consent.

HI 345 Topics in the History of Terrorism (1)
An exploration of terrorism through focused study of four to six episodes in its history. Following an historical and methodological introduction, possible subjects include the Sicarii, the Carbonari, Russian revolutionary terrorism, the Ku Klux Klan, the Irish Troubles, Israel/Palestine, the Malayan Emergency, the Weather Underground, anti-abortion violence, eco-terrorism, and September 11 (a Leadership Studies designated course). Prerequisite: HI 300 or consent.

HI 346 Russia in the Twentieth Century (1)
A study of Russia and its transition in the twentieth century from a backward behemoth to the world's first socialist state and finally to a struggling post-communist nation. Topics include the crises of late Imperial Russia, the Russian Revolution, Stalinism, official and popular culture in the Soviet Union, the construction of "mature socialism," and the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Prerequisite: HI 300 or consent.

HI 349 The Cold War: American and Soviet Perspectives (1)
A study of the Cold War from both the U.S. and Soviet perspectives, from its origins during the closing days of World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Emphasis is placed on the Cold War's political and cultural impact on the home fronts, as well as the interrelationship between foreign and domestic policy. Prerequisite: HI 300 or consent.

HI 400 Senior Research Symposium (1)
The senior capstone seminar, in which students write a major research paper on a topic of their choice with consent. Students will present their research in a senior conference. Prerequisite: consent.

HI 401 Senior Research Project in History (1)
Qualified students may register for this course to meet graduation requirements for Disciplinary Honors in History. Prerequisites: HI 400 and consent.