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Team Member

Dr. Shannon Nash

Director of Operations

Dr. Shannon Nash is the Director of Operations of the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN)/Réseau sur la defense et la sécurité nord-américaines et arctiques (RDSNAA). She coordinates NAADSN events, research projects and outputs, multimedia presence, website, and reports. She promotes relationships between the network and collaborators and manages NAADSN’s student and graduate research fellows. As part of her work with NAADSN, Dr. Nash is a post-doctoral research fellow at Trent University studying past and present terrorist threats and attacks as well as Canadian, American, and international defence, security and counterterrorism policies.

Her current research examines the fluidity of the “terrorism” label and how the label is informed and applied to a violent attack in Canada. This research looks at how racism, Islamophobia, white supremacy, and how and who we frame as “other”, or “terrorist”, are all profoundly connected. Dr. Nash is also working on a project at the University of Waterloo that looks at education and training in national security and counterterrorism in Canada. She has recently completed a review of important studies and practical efforts to anticipate and reduce risk factors contributing to lasting traumatization of terrorist victims for a chapter in the Handbook of Terrorism Prevention and Preparedness (Ed. Alex P. Schmid).

Dr. Nash is a 2021 Emerging Thought Leader in National Security with the Canadian Chapter of Women in International Security (WIIS-C). With WIIS-C and the Defence and Security Foresight Group she produced a Working Paper on The Terrorist Sleeper in an Age of Anxiety. Her research addresses ascendant fears of an enemy within after 9/11 and she argues that these fears were rooted in an age of anxiety that shaped perceptions and obscured the reality of the threat as it evolved. This contributed to an enduring scrutiny of Muslims and Islam that is inextricable from systemic racism that has shaped North American society, culture, foreign policies, and politics.

Dr. Nash received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Toronto with a focus on 20th Century American History, Terrorism, and International Relations. Her doctoral thesis looks at the reality of al Qaeda espionage methodology and how the idea of a sleeper agent was perceived and adapted to fit the terrorist threat posed by al Qaeda from the 1990s onwards. She is presently addressing North American perceptions of sleepers after 9/11 and the consequences of a lingering fixation on the operational model. Continuing the work from her doctorate, she is pursuing research on how the idea of an enemy within intersects with an “us” versus “them” counterterrorism discourse and the rise of hate and right-wing extremism. She is studying the politicization of this concept, and the social and security implications of perceived threats.