Joseba Zulaika, Ph.D.

Professor, Emeritus


Joseba Zulaika is a cultural anthropologist who has done ethnographic research in the Basque Country, Spain, and the United States. He has studied the urban renewal of the city of Bilbao as the result of the Guggenheim Museum’s architectural landmark. He has specialized in terrorism and counterterrorism, paying particular attention to issues of symbolism and ritual, discourse analysis, and formations of subjectivity. He joined the Center for Basque Studies in 1990, where he was director or co-director between 2000 and 2014. He retired June of 2019. He is currently working on drone warfare.

Research interests

  • Basque culture and politics
  • International discourse of terrorism
  • Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum and urban renewal
  • Diasporic and global culture
  • Theories of symbolism, ritual and discourse

Selected publications

  • 2018 “What Do You Want? Evidence and Fantasy in the War on Terror.” Mark Maguire et al., eds., Bodies as Evidence: Security, Knowledge, and Power. Yale University Press, 201-227.
  • 2017 (with Imanol Murua) “How Terrorism Ends—And Does Not End: The Basque Case,” Critical Studies on Terrorism, 10:2, 338-356.
  • 2016 “The Real and the Bluff: On the Ontology of Terrorism.” In R. Jackson, Routledge Handbook of Critical Terrorism Studies, Routledge, New York, 39-48.
  • 2014 That Old Bilbao Moon: The Passion and Resurrection of a City. Reno: Center for Basque Studies.
  • 2014 “Drones and Fantasy in U.S. Counterterrorism,” Journal for Cultural Studies 18(2): 171-87
  • 2013 “Counterterrorism as Dual Sovereignty: Drones, Fantasy and the Figure of the Priest/Murderer,” Jeff Sluka, ed., States of Terror, University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • 2012 “Drones, Witches and Other Flying Objects: The Force of Fantasy in US Counterterrorism.” Critical Studies on Terrorism, 5(1), 51-68.
  • 2009 Terrorism: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).
  • 1996 (with William Douglass) Terror and Taboo: The Follies, Fables and Faces of Terrorism New York: Routledge.
  • 1988 Basque Violence: Metaphor and Sacrament. Reno: University of Nevada Press.


  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1982
  • M.A., University of Newfoundland, 1977
  • Licentiate, Philosophy, University of Deusto, 1975