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2022 Spring

TERRORISM IN GLOBAL POLITICS - IRS383/IRS683/2 Spring 2022 - MONDAYS


Course
Pamir Halimzai
For information about registration please contact our admissions.

About

This course is designed in a way that will enable the student to master the content of Terrorism in Global Politics and critically assess it through a comprehensive theoretical toolkit. The course accommodates positivist and post-positivist approaches equally and is suitable for both bachelor’s and master’s students.

Course Title: Terrorism in Global Politics

Course code: IRS 383 - 683

Semester and year: Spring 2022

Day and time: Monday, 18:30

Instructor: Pamir Halimzai Sahill, Ph.D.

Instructor contact: pamir.halimzai@aauni.edu

Consultation hours: Mondays before the class and Tuesdays 13:00-14:00 CET, Faculty Lounge/Teams and on appointment.

Credits US/ECTS

3/6

Level

Advanced

Length

6 weeks

Pre-requisite

Choose an item.

Contact hours

42 hours

Course type

Bachelor and Master Elective

  1. Course Description

This course is designed in a way to enable the student to master the content of Terrorism in Global Politics and critically assess terrorism and terrorist groups through a comprehensive theoretical toolkit. The course accommodates positivist and post-positivist approaches equally and is suitable for both bachelor’s and master’s students. 

This course provides a broad understanding of what is terrorism, why groups like al Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS) and Boko Haram are designated as terrorists, but other militant groups are not. The course looks at and critically examines counter-terrorism strategies, the global War on Terror (WoT) and the makeup of international military coalitions. The role of international organizations like the United Nations (UN), states and institutions as well as of the legal frameworks in combating terror is explored. The course particularly focuses on the history and reasons of terrorism, the notion of Islamic terror and different states’ role in supporting terrorism to achieve their domestic and international objectives.  

Why Terrorism in Global Politics?

Ever since the attacks of September 11 in the US, the phenomenon and language of terrorism have become a matter of intense public and academic debate. Terrorism Studies emerged and developed into a distinct sub-field of Security Studies in International Relations in the years following the US-led alliance’s invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Richard Jackson worked on terrorism and aspired to develop another approach called Critical Terrorism Studies which is in its infancy and a peer-reviewed journals Critical Studies in Terrorism is devoted to themes revolving the concepts, language, discourse, and phenomena labelled as terrorism. While terrorism always existed in the world, it is still an increasingly contested notion having no precise definition. The ambiguity around the term ‘terrorism’ is so intense that it makes us wonder whether to call the Taliban or ISIS militants terrorists or if the Kurd militant group fighting Turkey is terrorist as Ankara labels it? Similarly, an equally important question is, why some attacks in different countries are categorized as terrorist attacks while others are called assaults, massacres, shootings etc. Keeping in view the acts of political violence, we can ask whether it is terrorism that threatens a state or its power or it rather consolidates and strengthens the constructed notions of state, sovereignty, borders and identities? Why do some states support terrorism and how can states be punished for destabilizing other states, regions? To find plausible answers for noted and many more questions, it is important to introduce and teach a special course because the field of Security Studies is immensely broad.

  1. Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • have enhanced knowledge of the content of Terrorism in Global Politics
  • understand and efficiently utilize various theoretical approaches
  • strengthen critical thinking/skills
  • grasp the role of institutions, ‘governmentality’ in combating or supporting terrorism; explore the history and identify reasons of terrorism
  • refine their research skills
  • interpret and analyze relevant data
  1. Reading Material

Note: The pdfs of all readings are available in the course site on NEO.

Books:

  1. Bigo, Didier and Anastassia Tsoukala eds. (2008), Terror, Insecurity and Liberty: Illiberal practices of liberal regimes after 9/11 Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  2. Ditrych, Ondrej ,(2014), Tracing the Discourses of Terrorism. London: Palgrave Macmillan
  3. Foucault, Michel, (2012), Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. 3rd ed. Vintage.
  4. Foucault, Michel, (2009), Security, Territory, Population. Edited by Michel Senellart, François Ewald, and Alessandro Fontana. Translated by Graham Burchell. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.
  5. Rashid, Ahmed, (2008), Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. 2nd. London: I.B Tauris.
  6. Shahzad, Syed Saleem, (2011), Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond bin Laden and 9/11. 1st. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Articles:

  1. Jackson, Richard. 2007. “Constructing Enemies: ‘Islamic Terrorism’ in Political and Academic Discourse.” Government and Opposition 42 (3): 394-426.
  2. Jackson, Richard. 2006. “Genealogy, Ideology, and Counter-Terrorism: Writing Wars on Terrorism from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush Jr.” Studies in Language & Capitalism 1 (1): 163-193. http://languageandcapitalism.info.
  3. Jackson, Richard. 2009. “The Study of Terrorism after 11 September 2001: Problems, Challenges and Future Developments.” Political Studies Review 7 (2): 171–184.
  4. Hansen, Lene. 2011. “Theorizing the image for Security Studies: Visual securitization and the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis,” European Journal of International Relations, 17(1): 51-74
  5. Cronin, Audrey Kurth, 2015, “ISIS is not a terrorist group,” Foreign Affairs, March/April Issue.
  6. Klausen, Jytte, Tweeting the Jihad: Social Media Networks of Western Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 38:1, pp. 1-22
  7. Sahill, Pamir H., (2018). The U.S. War on Terror Discourse: Mapping Depoliticization and the Politics of Confinement in Afghanistan. Insight Turkey, 21(1), pp. 189-208,: https://www.insightturkey.com/author/pamir-h-sahill/the-us-war-on-terror-discourse-mapping-de-politicization-and-the-politics-of-confinement-in-afghanistan
  8. Sahill, Pamir H., (2017). Charlie Hebdo Attack: an Analysis of Consequences and the Role of Political Islam in the EU, Jan Masaryk Review of International Studies, Vol. 1 (1), pp. 6-22.
  9. Sahill, Pamir H., (2017). The Terror Speaks: Inside Pakistan’s Terrorism Discourse and National Action Plan, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 41(4), 319-337, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2017.1284448
  10. Toros, Harmonie, and Luca Mavelli. 2014. “Collective evil and individual pathology: The depoliticization of violence against Afghan Civilians.” International Politics (Macmillan Publishers Ltd.) 51 (4): 508-524.
  1. Teaching methodology
  • Seminar-style interactive lectures
  • Research presentations
  • Reading and discussion groups
  • Surprise tests
  • Involving students into theory and data-driven research
  1. Course Schedule

Date

Class Agenda

February 07, 2022

Topic: Introduction

Description: The first part of the session focusses on introducing the course, syllabus and delineating assignments during the semester. The second part, defines and explains terrorism and sheds light on terrorism studies as a sub-field of security studies.

Reading: Bigo, Didier and Anastassia Tsoukala eds. (2008), Terror, Insecurity and Liberty: Illiberal practices of liberal regimes after 9/11 Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Pp. 1-11

Assignments/deadlines: None

February 14, 2022

Topic: Mapping the history of terrorism

Description: Lecture. A brief history of terrorism, its terminology and modes are explained in historical context.

Reading: Bigo, Didier and Anastassia Tsoukala eds. (2008), Terror, Insecurity and Liberty: Illiberal practices of liberal regimes after 9/11 Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Pp. 1-11; Ditrych, Ondrej. 2014. Tracing the Discourses of Terrorism. London: Palgrave Macmillan; pp. 1-8 and 30-39.

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to the reading of the previous week.

February 21, 2022

Topic: The new face of terrorism

Description: Lecture, 9/11 and the new terror. Exploring ‘Islamic’ in the terrorism

Reading: Jackson, Richard. 2007. “Constructing Enemies: ‘Islamic Terrorism’ in Political and Academic Discourse.” Government and Opposition 42 (3): 394-426.; Jackson, Richard. 2009. “The Study of Terrorism after 11 September 2001: Problems, Challenges and Future Developments.” Political Studies Review 7 (2): 171–184

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week, discussing topics for research presentations. Students prepare for Surprise Quiz.

February 28, 2022

 Topic: Why/how terrorist groups emerge?

Description: Lecture. Brief history of Taliban, al Qaida, Boko Haram, and other militant groups. How are people radicalized?

Reading: Rashid, Ahmed. 2008. Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. 2nd. London: I.B Tauris. Chapter: Introduction; Shahzad, Syed Saleem. 2011. Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond bin Laden and 9/11. 1st. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter: 1.

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week, choosing research presentation topics.

March 07, 2022

Topic: Global War on Terror: new ways of fighting terror

Description: Lecture. Through case studies the lecture explores how different countries began and continued the fight against terrorism after 9/11

Reading: Jackson, Richard. 2006. “Genealogy, Ideology, and Counter-Terrorism: Writing Wars on Terrorism from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush Jr.” Studies in Language & Capitalism 1 (1): 163-193. http://languageandcapitalism.info

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week.

Feedback: All students will receive substantial feedback regarding their performance in the course.  

March 14, 2022

Topic: The Islamic State: emergence, ideology, and the war

Description: Lecture. The students will understand how the Islamic State emerged in Iraq and Syria, why it became popular and in what way it recruited educated people from the US and Europe.

Reading: Cronin, Audrey Kurth, 2015, “ISIS is not a terrorist group,” Foreign Affairs, March/April Issue.

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week.

March 21, 2022

Mid-term exam

Mid-term Break – March 28- April 01, 2022

Assignments/deadlines: Students submit a one-page outline explicitly stating their progress, provide an outline of the structure and already utilized sources for their final presentation. The deadline is April 03, 23:59/11:59 pm CET.

April 04, 2022

Topic: Topic: Critical Terrorism Studies

Description: This lecture explores and critically scrutinizes the discourse and practice on terrorism, how government and security agencies depoliticize militant organizations and how securitization strategies shrink liberal space. 

Reading: Sahill, Pamir H., (2018). The U.S. War on Terror Discourse: Mapping Depoliticization and the Politics of Confinement in Afghanistan. Insight Turkey, 21(1), pp. 189-208,: https://www.insightturkey.com/author/pamir-h-sahill/the-us-war-on-terror-discourse-mapping-de-politicization-and-the-politics-of-confinement-in-afghanistan; Toros, Harmonie, and Luca Mavelli. 2014. “Collective evil and individual pathology: The depoliticization of violence against Afghan Civilians.” International Politics (Macmillan Publishers Ltd.) 51 (4): 508-524.

Assignments/deadlines: Students work on their presentations.  Students prepare for Surprise Quiz.

April 11, 2022

Topic: Media and Terrorism: Who is the terrorist?

Description: Lecture and discussion. The students will explore, how media react to a militant attack and alike incidents. The students will understand why media label some attacks as terrorist and some as massacre, mass-shooting and so on.

Reading: Hansen, Lene. 2011. “Theorizing the image for Security Studies: Visual securitization and the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis,” European Journal of International Relations, 17(1): 51-74.

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week. Students continue working on their research presentations.

April 18, 2022

Public Holiday – Easter Monday

Reading: Foucault, Michel. 2012. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. 3rd ed. Vintage. Pp. 170-195

Assignments/Deadlines: Students finalize their PowerPoint presentation research.

April 25, 2022

Topic: Terrorism goes viral: The Social Media Effect

Description: Lecture. Students will understand how terrorist groups use social media and if social media is more for connectivity and networking but for recruitment as well.

Reading: Klausen, Jytte, Tweeting the Jihad: Social Media Networks of Western Foreign Fighters in Syria and Iraq, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 38:1, pp. 1-22

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week.

May 02, 2022

Topic: Terrorism and Europe: right-wing political parties and the “threat” of political Islam

Description: Lecture. The session explores post-9/11 terrorism incidents in Europe, the rise of right-wing political parties and their narratives of seeing migrants and Muslims as a threat to European societies. The lecture delineates if political Islam really constitutes a threat to Europe.

Reading: Sahill, Pamir H., (2017). Charlie Hebdo Attack: an Analysis of Consequences and the Role of Political Islam in the EU, Jan Masaryk Review of International Studies, Vol. 1 (1), pp. 6-22.

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week. Students submit their research presentations via email by May 01, 2022, until 23:59/11:59 pm CET. Some students will choose to present in the second last session of the course.

May 09, 2022

Topic: Counter-terrorism strategies: Intelligence, incarceration, and disciplining

Description: Lecture. Students will understand how is intelligence gathered in post 9/11 world, in what way security agencies monitor suspects and how are they arrested, incarcerated, and corrected? 

Reading: Foucault, Michel. 2012. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Translated by Alan Sheridan. 3rd ed. Vintage. Pp. 170-195; Sahill, Pamir H., (2017). The Terror Speaks: Inside Pakistan’s Terrorism Discourse and National Action Plan, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 41(4), 319-337, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2017.1284448.

Assignments/deadlines: Q&A related to readings of the previous week.

May 16, 2022

Topic: The State and Security: The emergence of biopolitics

Description: Lecture. Students will explore how discourses and practices of security emerged and developed through time. They will see security and state as practices and will see how the concept of biopolitics i.e., the politics for life evolved through times. Western societies will be shown as case studies.

Reading: Foucault, Michel, (2009), Security, Territory, Population. Edited by Michel Senellart, François Ewald, and Alessandro Fontana. Translated by Graham Burchell. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK. Chapter/Lecture 1 – pp. 1-28.

Assignments/deadlines: None.

Presentations: Some students will present during the second half of the session.

May 23, 2022

Presentations and discussion

  1. Course Requirements and Assessment (with estimated workloads)

Assignment

Workload (average)

Weight in Final Grade

Evaluated Course Specific Learning Outcomes

Evaluated Institutional Learning Outcomes*

Attendance and Class Participation

42

30%

Explore concepts

1

Mid-term Exam

45

25%

Theory-driven work, critical thinking; research-writing skills

1

Readings’ related Surprise Quizzes

23

15%

Understand, interpret data, and use along with theories

1

Research Presentation

40

30%

Communicating ideas, presenting and public speaking

2

TOTAL

150

100%

 

 

*1 = Critical Thinking; 2 = Effective Communication; 3 = Effective and Responsible Action

  1. Detailed description of the assignments

Class Participation:

All students are required to complete the reading assignments and also go through the slides of lectures that will be uploaded to the Lectures folder after the end of each session. Both in-class and remotely learning students will read the assigned material and participate in the discussion during the lecture. All students will be required to proactively discuss the readings during the second part of the lectures. Students will be divided in groups for the discussion. A recording of the lecture will be available in the Teams. 

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Understanding of the concepts

50%

Critical insights

25%

Communication of the ideas

25%

Total

100%

 

Mid-term Exam:

There is a mid-term exam that will include questions from lectures and readings. The exam will have two parts. The first, worth 70% amount, will have multiple choice questions (MCQs) and/or short answers, and the second part will be comprised of one essay question, having 30% weightage of the total marks. The exam session lasts for 75 minutes. 

The exam will be given online to all students via NEO. All students must be present during the exam in the classroom and those taking the course remotely will be taking it via Teams. If an on-site student cannot attend the exam due to a justified reason, s/he will take it on a different date at the campus.  After the allotted time, the exam will not be available.

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Theory-driven understanding of concepts

50%

Academic writing skills

25%

Critical Thinking

25%

Total

100%

Surprise Quizzes:

Apart from discussing reading assignments each week, surprise quizzes will be given to students from readings. These will be MCQs, in written form. All surprise quizzes will be given online to all students via NEO. All quizzes must be answered during the allotted time in class at campus (and via Teams if the student is taking the course remotely.)

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Understanding of theory and concepts

50%

Interpret and analyze data

25%

Critical Thinking

25%

Total

100%

Research Presentations:

Bachelor’s students will choose a topic/case related to terrorism and provide a detailed literature review and interpretation of the data used. Master’s students will choose at least two case studies and provide a comparative and critical analysis. 

Students will choose a topic and discuss it with the course convener in the class by the end of third and fourth weeks of the course. Students will be guided in choosing appropriate topics/case studies and assisted with sources. Off-site students can send their topics via email to the lecturer or discuss through a Teams meeting preferably every TUESDAY at 13:00 CET. Other time for Teams meeting can also be arranged by appointment through email for students living in different time zones. 

Presentations should begin with an introduction to the problem/case(s) discussed and outline the structure of the following sections clearly. The core of the presentation will include data/literature linked to the theoretical concepts learned during lectures leading to a reasonable conclusion. All presentation slides should use Harvard referencing style (i.e., in-text citations) and a reference list at the end. Wikipedia is not a SOURCE. Students need to rely on academic literature and credible media information sources for their presentations. 

Bachelor’s students will prepare a maximum 7-minute PowerPoint presentation. Master’s students will prepare a maximum 10-minute PowerPoint presentation. 

Students will present during the last two sessions of the semester. Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A-based discussion. Off-site students will present via Teams. 

All presentations should be submitted via Email by May 01, 2022, until 23:59/11:59 pm CET. Progress with the research work will be discussed each week. Missing the deadline may result into failing the course. 

Assessment breakdown

Assessed area

Percentage

Understanding of theory and concepts

50%

Effective Communication

25%

Critical Thinking

25%

Total

100

  1. General Requirements and School Policies

General requirements

All coursework is governed by AAU’s academic rules. Students are expected to be familiar with the academic rules available in the Codex and Student Handbook and to maintain the highest standards of honesty and academic integrity in their work.

Electronic communication and submission

The university and instructors shall only use students’ university email address for communication. It is strongly recommended that any email communication between students and instructors take place in NEO LMS.

Each e-mail sent to an instructor that is about a new topic (meaning not a reply to an original email) shall have a new and clearly stated subject and shall have the course code in the subject, for example: “COM101-1 Mid-term Exam. Question”.

All electronic submissions are carried out through NEO LMS. No substantial pieces of writing (especially take home exams and essays) can be submitted outside of NEO LMS.

Attendance

Attendance is required. Students who are absent 35 percent of classes will be failed (or administratively withdrawn from the course if most absences are excused). Students might also be marked absent if they miss a significant part of a class (by arriving late or leaving early) as specified in the syllabus.

Absence excuse and make-up options

Should a student be absent from classes for relevant reasons (illness, serious family matters), s/he must submit to the Dean of Students an Absence Excuse Request Form supplemented with documents providing reasons for the absence. The form and documents must be submitted within one week of the absence. If possible, it is recommended the instructor be informed of the absence in advance. Should a student be absent during the add/drop period due to a change in registration this will be an excused absence if s/he submits an Absence Excuse Request Form along with the finalized add/drop form.

Assignments missed due to unexcused absences cannot be made up which may result in a decreased or failing grade as specified in the syllabus.

Students whose absence has been excused by the Dean of Students are entitled to make up assignments and exams provided their nature allows for a make-up. Students are responsible for contacting their instructor within one week of the date the absence was excused to arrange for make-up options.

Late work: No late submissions will be accepted – please follow the deadlines.

Electronic devices

Electronic devices (phones, tablets, laptops…) may be used only for class-related activities (taking notes, looking up related information, etc.). Any other use will result in the student being marked absent and/or being expelled from the class. No electronic devices may be used during tests or exams.

Eating is not allowed during classes.

Cheating and disruptive behavior

If a student engages in disruptive or other conduct unsuitable for a classroom environment of an institution of learning, the instructor may require the student to withdraw from the room for the duration of the activity or for the day and shall report the behavior to the Dean.

Students engaging in behavior which is suggestive of cheating (e.g., whispering or passing notes) will, at a minimum, be warned. In the case of continued misbehavior, the student will be expelled from the exam and the exam will be marked as failed.

Plagiarism and Academic Tutoring Center

Plagiarism is “the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.” (Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd Edition, Random House, New York, 1993).

Turnitin’s White Paper ‘The Plagiarism Spectrum’ (available at http://go.turnitin.com/paper/plagiarism-spectrum) identifies 10 types of plagiarism ordered from most to least severe:

  1. CLONE: An act of submitting another’s work, word-for-word, as one’s own.
  2. CTRL-C: A written piece that contains significant portions of text from a single source without alterations.
  3. FIND–REPLACE: The act of changing key words and phrases but retaining the essential content of the source in a paper.
  4. REMIX: An act of paraphrasing from other sources and making the content fit together seamlessly.
  5. RECYCLE: The act of borrowing generously from one’s own previous work without citation; To self-plagiarize.
  6. HYBRID: The act of combining perfectly cited sources with copied passages—without citation—in one paper.
  7. MASHUP: A paper that represents a mix of copied material from several different sources without proper citation.
  8. 404 ERROR: A written piece that includes citations to non-existent or inaccurate information about sources
  9. AGGREGATOR: The “Aggregator” includes proper citation, but the paper contains almost no original work.
  10. RE-TWEET: This paper includes proper citation, but relies too closely on the text’s original wording and/or structure.

 

As the minimum policy the types of plagiarism from 1 through 8 results in the failing grade from the assignment and must be reported to the Dean. The Dean may initiate a disciplinary procedure pursuant to the Academic Codex. Allegations of bought papers and intentional or consistent plagiarism always entail disciplinary hearing and may result in expulsion from AAU.

If unsure about technical aspects of writing, students are encouraged to consult their papers with the tutors of the AAU Academic Tutoring Center. For more information and/or to book a tutor, please contact the ATC at: http://atc.simplybook.me/sheduler/manage/event/1/.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities are asked to contact their instructor as soon as possible to discuss reasonable accommodation.

  1. Grading Scale

Letter Grade

Percentage*

Description

A

95 – 100

Excellent performance. The student has shown originality and displayed an exceptional grasp of the material and a deep analytical understanding of the subject.

A–

90 – 94

B+

87 – 89

Good performance. The student has mastered the material, understands the subject well and has shown some originality of thought and/or considerable effort.

B

83 – 86

B–

80 – 82

C+

77 – 79

Fair performance. The student has acquired an acceptable understanding of the material and essential subject matter of the course but has not succeeded in translating this understanding into consistently creative or original work.

C

73 – 76

C–

70 – 72

D+

65 – 69

Poor. The student has shown some understanding of the material and subject matter covered during the course. The student’s work, however, has not shown enough effort or understanding to allow for a passing grade in School Required Courses. It does qualify as a passing mark for the General College Courses and Electives.

D

60 – 64

F

0 – 59

Fail. The student has not succeeded in mastering the subject matter covered in the course.

* Decimals should be rounded to the nearest whole number.

Prepared by and when: Pamir H. Sahill, Ph.D.                                       November 30, 2021.

Approved by and when: Lucia Najslova, Ph.D. and George Hays II, Ph.D. January 13, 2022

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