Book Talk: "Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization"



A recording of this event can be found at this link

On Monday, June 8 at 12 p.m. ET, American University School of Communication Assistant Professor Kurt Braddock discussed his new book “Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter-Radicalization” in a virtual event. If you have any questions, please email the START events team at

Weaponized Words is designed to strengthen your understanding of the persuasive mechanisms used by terrorist groups and how they are effective in order to defeat them. The book applies existing theories of persuasion to domains unique to this digital era, such as social media, YouTube, websites, and message boards to name but a few. Terrorists deploy a range of communication methods and harness reliable communication theories to create strategic messages that persuade peaceful individuals to join their groups and engage in violence. While explaining how they accomplish this, the book lays out a blueprint for developing counter-messages perfectly designed to conquer such violent extremism and terrorism. Using this basis in persuasion theory, a socio-scientific approach is generated to fight terrorist propaganda and the damage it causes.

Dr. Kurt Braddock (former START Terrorism Research Award winner) is an Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and Homeland Security at Penn State University. Beginning in Fall of 2020, he will be Assistant Professor of Public Communication at American University. His research focuses on the use of communication theory to explain psychological phenomena related to terrorism and political violence, including violent radicalization, counter-radicalization, and disengagement from violent activity. His work has been published in Terrorism and Political ViolenceStudies in Conflict and TerrorismDynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, and several other communication- and security-focused outlets. Dr. Braddock advises multiple policymaking entities, including the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations Counterterrorism Executive Directorate, and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security.