Book by Binghamton University psychology professor focuses on terrorism


    Terrorism has plagued the United States throughout its history, though some seem to believe it began with the Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11 attacks. A new book by a Binghamton University adjunct faculty member argues that studying the history of terrorism in this country can lead to an understanding of the changing nature of the problem, methods for coping with the threat and the psychological, political and legal principles involved.

     Joseph T. McCann’s Terrorism on American Soil, published by Sentient Publications, features more than three dozen case studies of attacks in the United States, dating from Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. Each one incorporates a legal or psychological element in a way accessible to a general audience.

    McCann, a clinical psychologist at Binghamton General Hospital who also holds a law degree, is an adjunct assistant professor in the Psychology Department.  He teaches an undergraduate seminar each fall titled Psychology, Terrorism and Law.

    McCann traces his interest in terrorism to his early forensic work with courts and jails. He used to do violence risk assessments and threat assessments for schools and others.

    After the Sept. 11 attacks, McCann did a lot of reading, especially about the difficulties in identifying risks and concerns over profiling. He found many of the issues corresponded to his previous work.

    Terrorism on American Soil is McCann’s eighth book. He has written five textbooks on topics such as personality assessment, a children’s book and Minds on Trial. He hasn’t settled on his next writing project, though he’s interested in exploring terrorism and gender as well as going into more depth about the 1920 attack on Wall Street.

Last Updated: 9/17/13