Terrorism and International Security

Course Description 

Contemporary international terrorism in comparative perspective, including religious and ideological motivations, sociology of recruitment and participation, violent radicalization, evolving structures and dynamics of terror networks, financing and operations, and counter-terrorism measures. Examples are drawn from international and domestic terrorism.

Prerequisite: MA standing in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs or permission of the School.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students will be able to: 

  1. Develop an informed historical and critical contemporary perspective and understanding of issues in terrorism and counter-terrorism.
  2. Examine the different theories on the strategy of terrorism, root causes of terrorism and why individuals and organizations support, facilitate, or take part in terrorist activity.
  3. Consider how and when terrorism can be countered and vital state interests can be targeted. 
  4. Develop research and analytical capabilities through an examination of radicalization, suicide bombings, counterterrorism, and how terrorism ends.

Course Structure & Class Format

This is an academic course at the graduate level. Students should expect to participate in seminar-style discussions, lead group and individual presentations, and actively participate in professor-guided training exercises. A typical class will incorporate different learning strategies:

  • Classes will begin with a brief (15-30 mins) Weekly Update – an informal discussion of national and international terrorism/counterterrorism developments that took place over the previous week. The Weekly Update will give students an opportunity to share news stories with the class and relate the content to class materials, exercises, and projects. Expect to contribute regularly to the Weekly Update.
  • A short lecture, and occasionally, a guest lecture (e.g. at least four guest lectures are planned for Winter 2018). Introductory lectures will provide a framework for understanding the issue under discussion and for participating in subsequent training exercises. 
  • Some in-class group discussions and/or class debates will be used to help students understand the material being discussed.
  • Student led discussions and formal student presentations.