Lorne L. Dawson

Professor

Lorne DawsonPhD (McMaster)
MA (McMaster)
BA Honours (Queen's)

Research and teaching areas

Research:

  • Terrorism
  • Radicalization
  • Sociology of religion
  • New Religious Movements
  • Sociology of Religion

Teaching areas:

  • Terrorism
  • Sociology of religion
  • Sociological theory

Biographic statement

Dr. Dawson is a Full Professor in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies and the Department of Religious Studies. He has served as the Chair of both departments. He has published three books, four edited books, and sixty-five academic articles and book chapters. Until 2008 most of his research was in the sociology of religion, in particular the study of new religious movements. Since then terrorism has become the primary focus of his research, in particular the process of radicalization leading to violence. In 2012 he co-founded the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS), and he is its current Project Director (see www.tsas.ca) of this partnership. TSAS operates with funds competitively awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Public Safety Canada, Defence Research and Development Canada, and other organizations. Dr. Dawson regularly makes invited presentations to a wide variety of government, academic, and public groups about various aspects of terrorism and counter-terrorism, and is frequently interviewed by the media on these topics. He also has been involved in the supervision of over thirty PhD students.

  • Outstanding Performance Award (University of Waterloo): 2005, 2007, 2012
  • Biography in Canadian Who's Who: 2000-present

Selected publications

Summary:

  • 3 books
  • 5 edited books
  • 32 articles
  • 33 chapters

Books:

  • Jeremy Littlewood, Lorne L. Dawson, SaraThompson, eds., Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2017.
  • Paul Bramadat and Lorne L. Dawson, eds., Religious Radicalization and Securitization in Canada and Beyond. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (2014).
  • Lorne L. Dawson and Joel Thiessen, The Sociology of Religion: A Canadian Perspective. Toronto: Oxford University Press (2014).
  • Lorne L. Dawson, Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements. Second Edition. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2006.
  • Lorne L. Dawson and Douglas E. Cowan, eds., Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Articles & Book Chapters:

  • Lorne L. Dawson and Amarnath Amarasingam, “Canadian Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq, 2012-2016,” in Jeremy Littlewood, Lorne L. Dawson, and Sara Thompson, eds., Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, forthcoming 2017.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Discounting Religion in the Explanation of Homegrown Terrorism: A Critique,” in James R. Lewis, ed., Cambridge Companion to Religion and Terrorism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017.
  • David C. Hofmann and Lorne L. Dawson, “The Neglected Role of Charismatic Authority in the Study of Terrorist Groups and Radicalization.” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism Vol. 37, No. 4, 2014: 348-368.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Trying to Make Sense of Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization: The Case of the Toronto 18,” In Paul Bramadat and Lorne Dawson, eds., Religious Radicalization and Securitization in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014: 64-91.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Clearing the Underbrush: Moving Beyond Festinger to a New Paradigm for the Study of Failed Prophecy,” in Dianna G. Tumminia and William H. Swatos, Jr., eds., How Prophecy Lives (Religion and the Social Order, Vol. 18), Leiden, Holland: Brill, 2011: 69-98.
  • Lorne L. Dawson and Bradley C. Whitsel, “Leadership and the Impact of Failed Prophecy on New Religious Movements: The Case of the Church Universal and Triumphant,” in Dianna G. Tumminia and William H. Swatos, Jr., eds., How Prophecy Lives (Religion and the Social Order, Vol. 18), Leiden, Holland: Brill, 2011:115-151.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Charismatic Leadership in Millennialist Movements,” in Catherine Wessinger, ed., Oxford Handbook of Millennialism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011: 113-132.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Prophetic Failure and Millennial Movements,” in Catherine Wessinger, ed., Oxford Handbook of Millennialism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011:150-170.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “The Study of New Religious Movements and the Radicalization of Home-grown Terrorists: Opening a Dialogue.” Terrorism and Political Violence Vol. 21, No. 1, 2010: 1-21.
  • Joel Thiessen and Lorne L. Dawson, “Is there a ‘Renaissance’ of Religion in Canada? A Critical Look at Bibby and Beyond: Studies in Religion Volume 37, No. 3-4, 2008: 389-415.
  • Simon Dein and Lorne Dawson, “The Scandal of the Lubavitch Rebbe: Messianism as a Response to Failed Prophecy.” Journal of Contemporary Religion. Vol. 23, No. 2, 2008: 163-180.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Church-Sect-Cult: Constructing Typologies of Religious Groups,” Chapter 29 in Peter Clarke, ed., Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008: 525-544.
  • Marcela Cristi and Lorne L. Dawson,“Civil Religion in America and in Global Context,” in James Beckford and N. J. Demerath III, eds., Handbook of Sociology of Religion. London: Sage, 2007: 251-276; reprinted in Religion, State and Politics, The Open University of Israel, 2008.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Psychopathologies and the Attribution of Charisma: A Critical Introduction to the Psychology of Charisma and the Explanation of Violence in New Religious Movements.” Nova Religion Vol. 10, No. 2, 2006: 3-28.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Privatization, Globalization and Religious Innovation: Giddens’ Theory of Modernity and the Refutation of Secularization,” in James A. Beckford and John Walliss, eds., Theorising Religion: Classical and Contemporary Debates. London: Ashgate, 2006: 105-119.
  • Lorne L. Dawson,“The Mediation of Religious Experience in Cyberspace,” in Morten Hojsgaard and Margit Warburg, eds., Religion in Cyberspace. London: Routledge, 2005: 15-37.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Religion and the Quest for Virtual Community,” in Lorne L. Dawson and Douglas E. Cowan, eds., Religion Online: Finding Faith on the Internet. New York: Routledge, 2004: 75-89.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “The Socio-Cultural Significance of Modern New Religious Movements,” in James R. Lewis, ed., Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004: 68-99.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “Crises in Charismatic Legitimacy and Violent Behavior in New Religious Movements,” in David G. Bromley and J. Gordon Melton, eds., Cults, Religion and Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002: 80-101.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “The Cultural Significance of New Religious Movements: The Case of Soka Gakkai.” Sociology of Religion Vol. 62, No. 3, 2001: 337-364.
  • Lorne L. Dawson, “When Prophecy Fails and Faith Persists: A Theoretical Overview.” Nova Religio Vol. 3, No. 1, 1999: 60-82.
  • Lorne L. Dawson and Jenna Hennebry, “New Religions and the Internet: Recruiting in a New Public Space.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 14, 1999: 17-39.

Recent invited presentations

"Talking to Jihadists: Understanding the Foreign Fighter Phenomenon," (with Amarnath Amarasingam), Society for Terrorism Research, The Hague, Nov. 7-8, 2016.

Panel Member, "The Role of ISIS," Current Politics of the Middle East Conference, Balsillie School of International Affairs, June 8, 2016.

"Terrorist Radicalization in Canada", Joint Command and Staff Program, Canadian Forces College, June 6, 2016.

"Social Ecology of Becoming a Homegrown Terrorist" Guns and Gangs Task Force, Toronto Police College, May 3, 2016.

"Terrorism in Canada."World Presidents Organization: Toronto Chapter, April 25, 2016.

Contemplating the Future of Religion: Insights from Thirty Years as a Sociologist of Religion" Opening address for the Beliefs, Religions and Societies in a Secular Age public graduate student conference, University of Waterloo, April 5, 2016.

"Quest for Moral Significance and the Radicalization of Canadian Jihadists" Public Lecture sponsored by the School of Religion, Queen's University, Mar. 17, 2016.

"The Puzzle of Radicalization: Insights from the Study of Foreign Fighters,"TSAS Workshop: Collaborative Research on Countering Extremist Violence Project, New Insights on Counterterrorism Issues: Canadian Foreign Fighters; Online Recruitment; Futures of Terrorism, Ottawa, Feb. 26, 2016.

"The Puzzle of Radicalization: Insights from the Study of Foreign Fighters," Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Ottawa, Feb. 25, 2016.

"Trying to Explain the Radicalization of Canadians: An Ecological Approach," Radicalization and Countering Violent Extremism in Ontario Conference, Ontario Police College, Feb. 16, 2016.

"The Social Ecology of Radicalization: Context for Counter-Radicalization," National Security Program, Canadian Forces College, Feb. 9, 2016.

Panel Member, "The ISIS Attacks on Paris: What They Mean for Immigration, Refugees and Security" Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Nov. 20, 2015.

Three Lectures on Religion and Violence for 123rd Queen's Annual Theology Conference, Kingston ON, October 19-21, 2015.

"Global Issues: Radicalization," Canadian Security Studies Program, Canadian Forces College, Toronto, October 8, 2015.

"Religion, Violence, and the Islamic State: Insights from Canadian Foreign Fighters" (with Amarnath Amarasingam), Society for Terrorism Research, Birmingham City University, Birmingham U.K., Sept. 10-11, 2015.

"Trying to Talk to Terrorists: Ethical Hurdles in Canada"(with Amarnath Amarasingam), Society for Terrorism Research, Birmingham City University, Birmingham U.K., Sept. 10-11, 2015.

"The Canadian Situation and Experience"Plenary #1" Setting the Stage: Violent Extremism in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Canada, the UK and the US, Washington D.C., July 28-30, 2015

"A Few Key Conceptual Lessons Learned," Breakout #3: Mobilization to Violence: How Radicalization Shifts to Violent Extremism, Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Lessons Learned from Canada, the UK and the US, Washington D.C., July 28-30, 2015.

"The Social Ecology of Homegrown Terrorism & Foreign Fighters," TSAS Summer Academy, University of British Columbia, July 22, 2015.

TSAS Counter-Narrative Workshop participant, sponsored by Public Safety Canada, Ottawa, June 15, 2015.

"Panel #3: The Role of ISIS," Current Politics in the Middle East, Balsillie School of International Affairs, May 27, 2015.

"The Social Ecology of Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization," day long symposium: "The Islamic State and the Middle East: The Abuse of History and Religion," Memorial University, April 27, 2015.

"Canadian Foreign Fighters," Public Talk at the Rocket Bakery, St. John's, Newfoundland, April 26, 2015.

"The Social Ecology of Homegrown Terrorist Radicalization," RCMP 2015 National Security Interviewing Workshop, Calgary, Alberta, April 24, 2015.

"What is ISIS? Why do Canadians Join?" Department of Religious Studies Public Lecture Series, University of Waterloo, March 19, 2015.

Testimony before the Canadian Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, re: homegrown terrorist radicalization and its prevention, February 23, 2015.

Presenter ("The Social Ecology of Becoming a Homegrown Terrorist in Canada [hour long version]") and participant in RCMP E Division INSET, National Security Interviewing Workshop, January 29 & 30, 2015.

"The Social Ecology of Becoming a Homegrown Terrorist in Canada [Shorter Version]." Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ottawa, December 2, 2014.

"The Social Ecology of Becoming a Homegrown Terrorist in Canada." Integrated National Security Enforcement Team, E Division RCMP, November 6, 2014.

"The Social Ecology of Becoming a Homegrown Terrorist in Canada." BC Law Enforcement Diversity Network, November 5, 2014.

"Towards a Multi-Factoral Understanding of Why Some Canadians Become Terrorist," Terrorisms Inc. Entre idéalisme et mercantilisme, 6 édition École Internationale d’été sur les Terrorismes, Université Laval, Quebec City, May 5, 2014.

"The Legal Privatization of Religion and the End of Religion as We Know It," New Religions in Quebec: New and Alternative Religions in Quebec after Vatican II and the Quiet Revolution," McGill University, Montreal, April, 25, 2014.

"Why do some Canadians become terrorists?" Big Thinking Lecture, Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Parliamentary Restaurant, Ottawa, March 4, 2014.

Research Grants

2016-2018, SSHRC, Subventions de développement de partenariat – Fonds d’innovation sociale destine aux communautés et aux collèges, “Les intégrismes religieux et la radicalisation au Canada: vulgarisation et education populaire,” (PI Martin Geoffroy; one of three Co-Researchers) $240,000

2015-2022, SSHRC, Partnership Grant, "Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society," (Co-PI with Dan Hiebert, University of British Columbia) $2.15 million.

2014, Public Safety Canada, Kanishka Contribution Agreement Competition, "Canadian Research Network on Terrorism, Security and Society" (with Dan Hiebert, University of British Columbia and Martin Bouchard, Simon Fraser University), $240,000.

2014, Canada Safety and Security Program, Defense Research and Development Canada (with Dan Hiebert, University of British Columbia, and Martin Bouchard, Simon Fraser University), $580,000.

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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