A-S 3900 - Schedule

A-S 3900






Week #1

Tuesday, January 9: Introduction to the course.


Week #2

Tuesday, January 16: History of terrorism. Terrorism and hate crimes.


Wall Street bombing (probably carried out by Italian anarchists), 1920.

Week #3

Tuesday, January 23: Causes of terrorism


  • James A. Piazza and Karin van Hippel, "Does poverty serve as a root cause of terrorism?" in Stuart Gottlieb (ed.), Debating Terrorism and Counterterrorism (CQ Press, 2010), 34-66 [e-reserve].
  • Randy Borum, "Psychological vulnerabilities and propensities for involvement in violent extremism," Behavioral Sciences & the Law 32:3 (May/June 2014), 286-294 and 298–299 ("Attitudinal propensities.") [e-reserve].
  • Amartya Sen, "Violence in identity," in Karawan, McCormack, and Reynolds (eds.), Values and Violence: Intangible Aspects of Terrorism. Springer Netherlands (2008), 3-13 [e-reserve]. Sen is a Nobel laureate. Learn more about him here.
  • Watch: "Malala's message to President Obama," Forbes (3 min). When she was 15, Yousafzai was shot in the face by Taliban terrorists angry over her advocacy of education for girls in Pakistan and who -- at 17 years of age -- was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Learn more about Malala Yousafzai here. (Note: in early summer 2017 she graduated from high school in the UK and subsequently joined social media sites to advocate for girls' rights.)
  • Dean Obeidallah, "Are all terrorists Muslims? It’s not even close," The Daily Beast (January 14, 2015).
  • Kevin Williamson, "Terror is not random." The National Review (May 28, 2017).

Note: Williamson's article is in The National Review, a well-regarded conservative news magazine. Obeideallah's article is in the Daily Beast, a liberal online source of news and analysis. Do you consider their positions legitimately conservative and liberal, respectively?

Saturday, January 27: Paper #1 due at midnight. See assignments page for details.

Captain and terrorist in hijacked TWA flight #847 in Beirut, Lebanon in June 1985..

Week #4

Tuesday, January 30: Terrorists' strategy and tactics.


  • Andrew H. Kydd and Barbara F. Walter, "The strategies of terrorism," International Security 31:1 (Summer 2006), 49-80 [e-reserve].
  • Scott Atran. "Genesis of suicide terrorism," Science 299 (March 2003), 1534-1539 [e-reserve].

New York City

September 11, 2001.

Week #5

Tuesday, February 6: Counter-terrorism.



Week #6

Tuesday, February 13: Seeking social justice: peaceful or violent means?


  • Sanche de Gramont, "How one pleasant, scholarly young man from Brazil became a kidnapping, gun‐toting, bombing revolutionary," New York Times Magazine, November 15, 1970 [e-reserve].
  • Frantz Fanon, "On violence," in The Wretched of the Earth, Grove Press, 1961 [e-reserve]. Fanon was an influential anti-colonialist activist and thinker. Read more about him here.
  • Martin Luther King, "Letter from the Birmingham Jail," 1963 [e-reserve].

Saturday, February 17: Paper #2 due at midnight. See assignments page for details.

Supporters of Charlie Hedbo newspaper march after shootings in January, 2015.

Week #7

Tuesday, February 20: Conclusions. Review. Final exam.

Final exam study guide.

Poster critical of the

War on Terror.