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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Criminal Justice Administration and Human Services Department
Course Prefix and Number: CJAD 370
Course Title: *Dynamics of Terrorism
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

This course surveys contemporary terrorism, especially international terrorism. The course will examine controversies in defining terrorism; explore the historical roots of terrorism; examine terrorist motivations, organization and strategies; and explore ways in which countries can respond to the threat of terrorism. Crosslisted as POSC 370

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering. 

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any text appropriate for a course on terrorism.

Inside Terrorism
By Hoffmann, Bruce (Columbia University Press)
Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Understanding Threats and Responses in the Post-9/11 World
By Nacos, Brigitte (Pearson)
Terrorism and Homeland Security
By White, Jonathan (Wadsworth)
Politics of Terror
By Erica Chenoweth and Pauline Moore
One of the following:

Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Global Jihadist Movement: What Everyone Needs to Know (
Contemporary Debates on Terrorism by edited by Richard Jackson
(Taylor & Francis)
Debating Terrorism and Counterrorism edited by Stuart Gottlieb
(CQ Press)
Course Objectives
  • To examine and evaluate significant definitions of terrorism.
  • To explore the diversity and evolution of terrorist groups, motivations, organization and tactics since the 1800s.
  • To identify and assess contemporary threats from terrorism.
  • To explore and evaluate means of preventing and combating terrorism.
Measurable Learning
  • Compare and contrast important legal and scholarly definitions of terrorism.
  • Explain how tactics and methods established by anarchists and early Irish terrorist groups continue to influence terrorists today.
  • Explain the sources of conflict and the role of terrorism in Northern Ireland.
  • Explain and assess objectives and tactics used by anti-colonial movements, such as the FLN in Algeria.
  • Explain the key components of ethnic terrorism.
  • Explain the development of ideological terrorism in the 1960s in Western Europe and why it has declined since the 1980s.
  • Explain the origins and features of radical Islamic beliefs (jihadist ideology).
  • Describe and assess Israeli counter-terrorist policy, including policy towards Lebanon.
  • Describe the role and capabilities of Hamas.
  •  Explain how and why states sponsor terror and assess the means to deal with state sponsorship.
  • Describe the development of Hezbollah.
  • Explain why jihad went global in the 1990s, including the importance of Afghanistan.
  • Explain the origins and early history of Al-Qaeda.
  • Describe Al-Qaeda’s organization and how it has adapted since the invasion of Afghanistan.
  • Assess the contemporary threat of Al-Qaeda.
  • Evaluate Pakistan’s role in the war on terror and its vulnerability to terrorism.
  • Explain why Islamic based terrorism emerged in SE Asia (Indonesia, Philippines) and assess the current threat there and in the Horn of Africa.
  • Describe and explain evolution of terrorist organizational forms.
  • Explain methods used to finance terrorist organizations.
  • Explain the concept of cyberterrorism and differentiate among various forms.
  • Explain how terrorists make use of the media.
  • Explain the motivations for suicide terrorism as a tool for groups, the conditions under which groups are likely to choose suicide bombing and how it might be stopped.
  • Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the following types of weapons for terrorists: biological, chemical, radiological or nuclear weapons and their level of threat.
  • Describe and assess the threat of Jihadist groups in America.
  • Describe common characteristics of right wing groups.
  • Describe ecoterrorist movements and activities. Assess the threat.
  • Explain and evaluate the implications for civil liberties and human rights of strategies to combat terrorism.
  • Describe and assess methods of gathering intelligence, enhancing security and counterterrorism by the United States.
Topical Outline:
  • Definitions of Terrorism
  • Historical Waves of Terrorism
  • Causes of Terrorism (Group and Individual motivations)
  • Goals, Targets and Tactics
  • Organizational Structure and Financing of Terrorism
  • Media and Terrorism
  • State Sponsorship of Terrorism
  • Preventing and Combatting Terrorism

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Brian Kessel Date: March 21, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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