We live in a world where acts of terror frequently dominate our headlines. In 2015 alone Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of women in Nigeria, ISIL perpetrated coordinated suicide bombings in Paris and mass shootings continue to threaten Americans from coast-to-coast -- from Charleston, South Carolina to San Bernardino, California. What do these few examples have in common? How do they differ? The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.” Do the referenced events fit the U.S. Code of Federal Regulation’s definition of terrorism?
In this course we will glance back into the past in an effort to apply a critical lens to dissect the beast that is modern terrorism. Though Mithradates VI’s anti-Roman campaign in 88 BC will be our first case study, we will begin our investigation by focusing on government perpetrated terrorism during the French Revolution and the Jacobins’ Reign of Terror. As we leave the 18th and step into the 19th century we will witness the growth in the number of non-governmental terrorist groups and by the time we march into the 20th century we will be prepared to ask which causes the most damage?: state, group or individual acts of terror.
This course will provide seniors a space to develop their critical thinking, speaking and writing skills through course readings, daily classroom exercises and outside assignments. At the end of the semester students will collaborate on a small group project seeking to deconstruct an aspect of modern terrorism.
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