POLS 376, Sec. 1 & 2 Prof. Ladd Thomas

Political Terrorism Office: Zulauf 302

Fall, 2004 Office Hours: T & TH

1:30-2:30; W 4:00-5:00

(Except during holidays and

final exam week)



While state, state supported and surrogate terrorism is briefly dealt with in the course, the emphasis is on terrorism by non-state actors who are opposed to certain governments and existing political systems - in other words, dissident terrorist groups. Some of the latter are purely domestic while others are transnational. Certain themes, regions of the world, and some specific countries are covered in the context of terrorism. Case studies of terrorist groups are also given attention. Some of the foregoing is covered exclusively in the required reading, some exclusively in lectures by the instructor, and some by a combination of reading and class presentations by the instructor.


Cindy C. Combs, Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003) paperback, ISBN 0-13-097519-2; Yosri Fouda & Nick fielding, Masterminds of Terror (NY, NY: Arcade Publishing, 2003) hard cover, ISBN 1-55970-708-9; Russel Howard & Reid Sawyer, Defeating Terrorism (Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2004) paperback, ISBN 0-07-287302-7; Jonathan White, Defending the Homeland (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004) paperback, ISBN 0-534-62169-4.


Students must do the required reading, attend class sessions and take good notes, write a mini-paper and take the midterm exam and the final exam (questions on both exams will be of the essay type). The midterm exam will include questions drawn from information covering up to the exam. The final exam will be comprehensive in that it will contain questions based on information (required reading and class lectures) provided during the entire course). A mini-term prepare of 7-8 pages (including no more than 1 page of endnotes) in either typed or computer print-out form also is required, and two copies of the paper must be submitted to the instructor by no later than the class session of November 16 for students in section 1 and November 18 for students in section 2. One copy of the paper will returned to the student at the final exam with a grade and comments by the instructor. Before starting work on the paper the student should talk briefly with the instructor (during office hours or in the classroom at the end of a class session to make certain that the paper topic is feasible and that another student in the 2 sections is not writing on the same topic. Attendance in the class will be monitored periodically by the instructor, and several absences could make a difference in a class borderline grade. The term paper is worth 15% of the course grade, the midterm exam grade is worth 35% and the final exam grade is worth 50%.

Section Date Topic Required Reading

Sec. 1 Aug. 24 Intro to course definitions; Combs text, chs. 1, 2, 5

Sec. 2 Aug. 26 typology; trends; state, state pp. 102-105

supported and surrogate terrorism

Sec. 1 Aug. 31 Non state actors (dissident) terrorist Howard text, pp. 29-50

Sec. 2 Sept. 2 groups; history; causes; justifications; Combs text, chs. 3, 4, 7, 8

Myths; profiles of terrorists; cooperation pp. 96-98, 107-110

Arms groups; the media & terrorists

Sec. 1 Sept. 7 Marxist and radical right-wing terrorist Combs text, pp. 159-164,

Sec. 2 Sept. 9 groups in the U.S. 167-169; 171-172

Sec. 1 Sept. 14 Marxist and radical rightists elsewhere Lecture only

Sec. 2 Sept. 16 in the world

Sec. 1 Sept. 21 Nationalist & Separatist terrorism Combs text, pp. 169-171;

Sec. 2 Sept. 23 in U.S. and elsewhere; Christian 164-166; 178-179

Identity Groups in U.S.; Religious

Cults in U.S. and elsewhere; Single

Issue Terrorism

Sec. 1 Sept. 28 Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda Combs text, pp. 99-102

Sec. 2 Sept. 30 Howard text, pp. 1-4

Sec. 1 Oct. 5 Midterm Exam

Sec. 2 Oct. 7 Midterm Exam

Sec. 1 Oct. 12 Al Qaeda attacks on U.S. and other Combs text, pp. 173-178;

Sec. 2 Oct. 14 Targets including 911 179-183;

Fouda text, entire book

Howard text, pp. 4-9

Sec. 1 Oct. 19 Terrorist groups (and their attacks Howard text, pp. 9-24

Sec. 2 Oct. 21 affiliated and associated with Al Qaeda

Sec. 1 Oct. 26 Weapons and tactics of terrorists Combs text, ch. 14

Sec. 2 Oct. 28

Sec. 1 Nov. 2, 9 Govt. (U.S. & other) responses to Combs text, ch. 11, 12, 15

Sec. 2 Nov. 4, 11 terrorist attacks and threats: Offensive Howard text, pp. 51-156


Sec. 1 Nov. 16 Homeland Defense: Defensive measures Combs text, ch. 13

Sec. 2 Nov. 18 White text, entire book

Sec. 1 Nov. 23 Iraq and terrorism No reading - class discussion

Sec. 2 Nov. 25 No Class - Holiday

Sec. 1 Nov. 30 Review (in class) of course topics No reading

Sec. 2 Dec. 2

Sec. 1 Dec. 7 Final Exam (4:00-5:50 pm)

Sec. 2 Dec. 9 Final Exam (6:00-7:50 pm)