Northern Illinois University                                        Dustin Berna

Fall 2007                                                                     Dberna@niu.edu

                                                                                    815-991-5341 (home)

                                                                                    815-753-1022 (office)

Office Location: Zulauf 411

                     

Course Syllabus: Political Violence

Political Science 376

 

Whoever stands by a just cause cannot possibly be called a terrorist.  We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion.  We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem.

 Yasser Arafat

 

A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past

 – Fidel Castro

 

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable

 –President Kennedy

 

The question is what shall we do to enter the world state?  We need to force what our enemy would not have.  This force should be superior to technology and weapons.  Our balancing force is the newly born and awakened Islam that is prepared to make sacrifices throughout the world and our Islamic Republic will survive if it’s backed by global force.

        Ayatollah Khomeini (1989)

 

And he moved the tyranny and suppression of freedom to his own country, and they called it the Patriot Act under the disguise of fighting terrorism.

 Osama bin Laden

 

We knew that Bush is the enemy of God, the enemy of Islam and Muslims. America declared war against God. Sharon declared war against God and God declared war against America, Bush and Sharon

Abdel Aziz Rantisi

 

 

Course Description:

 

This course is an advanced seminar dealing with political violence; specifically looking at revolutions and terrorism.  This course examines a wide range of topics in order to provide you with a deeper understanding of political violence.  We will engage in a thoughtful and in-depth examination of the definitions, causes, and consequences of political violence, as well as consider the different means to countering political violence. 

 

Revolutions are a major vehicle for change in the modern world.  Revolutions are a challenge to the existing political, social, economic, and cultural system with the aim of redirecting or restructuring it.  They occur when the legitimate means for effecting changes break down or function inadequately.  They often involve the use or threat of violence against some or all aspects of the status quo.  In this class we will explore revolutions and revolutionary violence in varying scales, in various regions, different nation-states, and evaluate their impact on both domestic institutions and the international community.  

 

In the last ten years we have seen a significant surge in acts of terrorism.  Today, terrorism plays a major role in international and domestic politics and affects each of us in varying degrees.  It is imperative that we understand terrorism, the history of terrorism, the types of terrorism, the terrorist, his motivations, and the causes and consequences of terrorism.  We will evaluate the domestic and international causes and effects of terrorism, state-sponsored terrorism, and suicide terrorism. 

 

Grading:

           

5 short papers:                                                            75%                

Participation:                                                               25%                            

           

Regular attendance is mandatory and will be taken at the beginning of each class.  Any student arriving late to class after attendance is taken will be marked absent; there will be no exceptions.  More than 2 absences will result in a five-point reduction on final grade for each additional absence.  Please note that a significant number of absences will result in a failing course grade.  The best way to perform well in this course is to attend and prepare for each class.     

 

25% of your grade is participation.  If you do not attend class then you cannot participate.  For every class you miss you will loose a percentage of the 25% from your final grade. 

 

Paper Requirements:

 

For each of the 5 papers, you are expected to critically evaluate five of the semester’s readings.  Each weekly paper should be between 4-6 pages and consist of two sections.  First, a brief overview of a single reading or several readings, here you are expected to sum-up the author’s major arguments and findings.  Secondly, critically evaluate what you have read and you may be as critical as you wish.  You are encouraged to use previous readings as a starting point for your criticism and you are welcome to bring in ANY outside source.  No student is allowed to hand in more than one paper per week.  This means that if you wait until mid-April to start your papers you will run out of time.

 

Paper Requirements:

 

For each of the 7 papers, you are expected to critically evaluate seven of the semester’s weekly readings.  Each weekly paper should be between 5-6 pages and consist of three sections.  First, a brief overview of the week’s readings, here you are expected to sum-up the author’s major arguments, hypotheses, and findings.  Secondly, critically evaluate what you have read; you may be as critical as you wish.  Finally, you are expected to incorporate future and/or previous weeks into your paper.  The following questions may help you to think of what to include in your papers:  

 

1)      What are the main hypotheses (or arguments) in the week’s reading(s)?

2)      How does this week’s reading fit together (if there is more than one reading per week)?

3)      How does the week’s readings relate to past readings? 

4)      What does this week’s reading add to the literature?  Does it critique it?

5)      What have you taken from the readings?

6)      What are the implications of the topics covered in the readings?

7)      According to the readings what are the causes of terrorism?

8)      According to the readings what are the consequences of terrorism?

9)      According to the readings why do the terrorists do what they do?

10)  What are your critiques?

 

You are NOT allowed to hand in more than one paper per week.  This means that if you wait until mid-April to start your papers you will run out of time.

 

Guidelines on Grading Papers:

 

Grade

Total Points

A+

150

A

140

A-/B+

120

B

100

B-C+

80

C

60

C-/D+

40

D

30

 

Academic dishonesty on papers will not be tolerated and will result in an automatic F on the assignment without the opportunity to re-do or re-write the assignment for replacement credit.     

 

Required Text(s):

 

Robert Pape. 2006. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.  ISBN: 0812973380

 

Levitt, Matthew. 2007. Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. ISBN: 0300122586

 

Palmer-Harik, Judith. 2005. Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism. ISBN-10: 1845110242

 

Elaine Brown. 1992. A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story. ISBN-10: 0385471076

 

David Carter. 2004. Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. ISBN: 0312342691

 

Walter Laqueur. 2004. Voices of Terror: Manifestos, Writings, and Manuals of al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Other Terrorists from Around the World and Throughout the Ages. ISBN: 1594290350

 

Raymond Ibrahim. 2007. The Al Qaeda Reader. ISBN: 0767922623

 

Robin Kirk. More Terrible Than Death: Drugs, Violence, and America's War in Colombia. ISBN: 1586482076

 

Stephen Kinzer. 2007. Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua. ISBN: 0674025938

 

Jok Madut Jok. 2007. Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence. ISBN: 1851683666

 

Method of Teaching:

 

Instruction in this course will follow a Socratic format.  A thorough exchange of ideas among students on various current events, weekly readings or lecture topics is expected.   

 

Student Learning Objectives:

 

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

 

  • Explain and understand the history, causes, and consequences of political violence.
  • Explain and understand the importance that domestic politics plays in both facilitating and combating political violence.
  • Explain and understand the different theories of revolutions.
  • Explain and understand the causes and consequences of revolutions and political violence.
  • Explain and understand the importance that both international relations and domestic politics plays in facilitating revolutions and political violence.
  • Explain and understand why some revolutions and/or political movements fail and others succeed. 
  • Understand why individuals turn to political violence; specifically, the socioeconomic and sociopolitical reasons.
  • Understand and explain the origins, consequences, and reasons for suicide terrorism.    
  • Explain and understand the role U.S. foreign policy has played in facilitating global terrorism.
  • Understand the role Islamic terrorism plays in the global community.
  • The ability to compose a college level essay that expresses your views and ideas as they relate to the weekly readings either.
  • The ability to develop your own arguments, ideas, and express them in a coherent and educated way.
  • Develop the ability to think critically.
  • Realize and understand the significance of being politically and socially aware and active.
  • Students will be aware of the importance ethics play in the international system.

 

Additional Information:

 

Extra Credit: Under NO circumstances will extra credit assignments be given to any student attempting to raise his/her final grade.

 

Students with Disabilities: Northern Illinois University is constitutionally required to follow the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding the provision to provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  Therefore, if you have a disability that will negatively impact your performance in this course NIU MUST provide you with any needed instructional and/or examination accommodation.  If you need additional assistance please contact me ASAP.  Also, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. CAAR is located on the fourth floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303).

 

Plagiarism Policy: According to the NIU Undergraduate Catalogue “Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazines, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or dismissed from the university.”  If you intentionally plagiarize on any paper I will give you an F on that paper.  

 

Religious Observance: If classes or assignments coincide and conflict with your religious observance, please let me know ASAP so that you can be accommodated.

 

Undergraduate Writing Awards: The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department’s spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28th. All copies should have two cover pages-one with the student’s name and one without the student’s name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award.

 

Department of Political Science Web Site: Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.

 

January 12: Introduction to Class

 

Topic One: History of Terrorism

 

Walter Laqueur. 2004. Voices of Terror: Manifestos, Writings, and Manuals of al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Other Terrorists from Around the World and Throughout the Ages. ISBN: 1594290350

 

Tyranny: pages 8-45

Terrorism old and New: pages 50-94

Terrorism in the Twentieth Century: pages 124-166

Interpretation of Terrorism 170-203

The Age of Small War: pages 210-230

Napoleon and After: pages 236-281

Partisan Warfare 1860-1928: pages 286-323

Socialism and the Armed Struggle: pages 328-377

 

 

Topic Two: The Origins of Twenty-First Century Terrorism

 

Walter Laqueur. 2004. Voices of Terror: Manifestos, Writings, and Manuals of al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Other Terrorists from Around the World and Throughout the Ages. ISBN: 1594290350

 

Guerrilla Doctrine Today: pages 350-377

Terrorism in the Muslim World: pages 388-447

Terrorism – East, West, and South: pages 452-519

 

Topic Three: Suicide Terrorism and al-Qaeda

 

Robert Pape. 2006. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.  ISBN: 0812973380

 

John Bradley. 2005. Al-Qaeda and the House of Saud: Eternal Enemies or Secret Bedfellows. The Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pages 139-152.  

 

Raymond Ibrahim. 2007. The Al Qaeda Reader. ISBN: 0767922623

 

Topic Five: Fundamentalist Movements

 

Levitt, Matthew. 2007. Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad. ISBN: 0300122586

 

Palmer-Harik, Judith. 2005. Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism. ISBN-10: 1845110242

 

Topic Six: Civil Wars

 

Jok Madut Jok. 2007. Sudan: Race, Religion and Violence. ISBN: 1851683666

 

Robin Kirk. More Terrible Than Death: Drugs, Violence, and America's War in Colombia. ISBN: 1586482076

 

Stephen Kinzer. 2007. Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua. ISBN: 0674025938

 

Topic Seven: American Political Violence

 

Elaine Brown. 1992. A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story. ISBN-10: 0385471076

 

David Carter. 2004. Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. ISBN: 0-312-34269-1

 

Topic Eight: Miscellaneous

 

Audrey Kurth Cronin: 2002. “Behind the Curve: Globalization and the International Terrorism” International Security. Pages 30-58. (Project Muse)