• Offered by ANU National Security College
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject National Security Policy
  • Academic career Postgraduate
  • Course convener
    • Dr Timothy Legrand
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

This course explores the nature and causes of terrorism as well as individual (state) and collective (international) responses. It does so through an explicitly multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates historical ("new" and "old" terrorism); conceptual (state-sponsored vs. non-state; global vs. regional; biological, environmental, cultural, political); and geographical (Middle East and Africa, Eurasia, South America) frameworks. The course begins by examining the historical evolution of terrorism, its causes/rationales and the major theoretical and conceptual approaches to the study of the phenomenon. It then provides a comprehensive exploration of the development of historical and contemporary terrorist groups, including the recent 'fourth wave' of terrorism (e.g. al-Qaeda and ISIS). The final part of the course focuses explicitly on counter-terrorism responses and counter-terrorism policies in the context of national security policy formulation. This takes the form of case studies that tease out the implications of terrorism for the national security policy postures of Australia, of key states in Australia's regional neighborhood, and of the United States as Australia's main security ally.

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the historical evolution of terrorism as a form of political violence
2. Identify and explain the concepts and assumptions underpinning debates about the causes and consequences of terrorism
3. Critically analyse and evaluate the national security challenges posed by contemporary terrorism and the counter-terrorism responses of key states
4. Develop the skills to critically analyse, reflect on and synthesise core concepts and theories regarding terrorism, and be able to then communicate this knowledge to specialists and non-specialists

Indicative Assessment

1. Policy brief (30%)
2. Research essay (40%)
3. End of semester examination (30%)

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One two-hour seminar per week (over 12 weeks) plus a one-hour weekly tutorial with the expectation of a further seven hours per week of independent study

Prescribed Texts

Martha Crenshaw, Explaining Terrorism, (London: Routledge 2011).

Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, (NY: Columbia University Press, 2006)

Preliminary Reading

Martha Crenshaw, Explaining Terrorism, (London: Routledge 2011).

Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism, (NY: Columbia University Press, 2006)

Indicative Reading List

Week 2: How Should We Study Terrorism? Theoretical Approaches

• Lake, David A. 2002. “Rational Extremism: Understanding Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century.” Dialogue-IO 1. pp.15-29.

• G Neumann, Peter R., and M.L.R. Smith. 2005. “Strategic Terrorism: The Framework and Its Fallacies.” Journal of Strategic Studies 28:4, pp.571-595.

• McCormick, Gordon H. 2003. “Terrorist Decision Making.” Annual Review of Political Science 6, pp.473-507

• Victoroff, Jeff. 2005. “The Mind of the Terrorist: A Review and Critique of Psychological Approaches.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 49:1, pp.3-42

• Rapoport, David “Fear and Trembling: Terrorism in Three Religious Traditions”, American Political Science Review 78 (1984), pp. 658-677

• Caplan, Bryan. 2006. “Terrorism: The Relevance of the Rational Choice Model.” Public Choice 128: 1/2, pp.91-107.
• Ross, Jeffrey Ian. 1993 “Structural Causes of Oppositional Terrorism: Towards a Causal Model.” Journal of Peace Research 30:3, pp.317-29.

• Oots, Kent Layne. 1989 “Organizational Perspectives on the Formation and Disintegration of Terrorist Groups.” Terrorism 12, pp.139-52

• Martha Krenshaw, “The Causes of Terrorism”, Comparative Politics, 13(4) (1981), pp. 379–399

• Andrew H. Kydd and Barbara F. Walter. "The strategies of terrorism." International Security 31.1 (2006): 49-80.

Week 3: Historical Development of Terrorism

• Rapoport, David C. 2002. “The Four Waves of Rebel Terror and September 11”, Anthropoetics, 8: 1, http://www.anthropoetics.ucla.edu/ap0801/terror.htm

• Shughart II, William F. "An analytical history of terrorism, 1945–2000." Public Choice 128.1-2 (2006): 7-39.

• Rapoport, David C. "Before the Bombs There Were the Mobs: American Experiences with Terror", Terrorism and Political Violence 20.2 (2008): 167-194.

Week 4: Nationalism and Ideology

• Bruce Hoffman, “The End of Empire and the Origins of Contemporary Terrorism”, in Inside Terrorism, (NY: Columbia University Press), pp. 43-62.

• Martin Millar, “The Intellectual Origins of Modern Terrorism in Europe”, in Martha Crenshaw (ed.), Terrorism in Context, (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania University Press, 1995), pp. 27-62.

• David Scott Palmer, “The Revolutionary Terrorism of Peru’s Shining Path”, in Martha Crenshaw (ed.), Terrorism in Context, (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania University Press, 1995), pp. 249-308.

• Jeremy M. Weinstein, “A New Threat of Terror in the Western Hemisphere”, SAIS Review, 23: 1, (Winter-Spring 2003), pp. 1-17.

• Goldie Shabad and Francisco Jose Llera Ramo, “Political Violence in a Democratic State: Basque Terrorism in Spain”, in Martha Crenshaw (ed.), Terrorism in Context, (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania University Press, 1995), pp. 410-469.

Week 5: Religion and Culture

• Mark Juergensmeyer, “The Worldwide Rise of Religious Nationalism”, Journal of International Affairs, 50: 1, (Summer 1996).

• Juergensmeyer, Mark. 1997, “Terror Mandated by God.” Terrorism and Political Violence 9:2, pp.16-23.

• Robert A. Pape, “Suicide Terrorist Organizations around the Globe”, in Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, (Melbourne: Scribe, 2005), pp. 126-167.

• David C Rapoport, “Fear and Trembling: Terrorism in Three Religious Traditions”, American Political Science Review, 78: 3, (September 1984), pp. 658-677.

• Daniel Byman, “The Logic of Ethnic Terrorism”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 21 (2) (1998), pp. 149-169.

Week 6 The State and Terrorism

• D. Claridge, “State Terrorism? Applying a Definitional Model”, Terrorism and Political Violence, 8 (3) (1996), pp. 47-63.

• Lee Jarvis and Michael Lister, “State terrorism research and critical terrorism studies: an assessment”, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 7 (1) (2014), pp. 43-61.

• Daniel Byman and Sarah Kreps, “Agents of Destruction? Applying Principal-Agent Analysis to State-Sponsored Terrorism”, International Studies Perspectives, 11 (1) (2011), pp.

• Navin A. Bapat, "Understanding State Sponsorship of Militant Groups”, British Journal of Political Science 42.1 (2012): 1-29.

Week 7: The Middle East and the Foundations of Radical Islamism

• Laquer, Walter 1996. “Post-Modern Terrorism”, Foreign Affairs, 75: 5, pp. 24-36

• Bruce Hoffman, “The Internationalization of Terrorism”, in Inside Terrorism, (NY: Columbia University Press), pp.63-80.

• Walter Laqueur, “Israel and the Palestinians”, in No End to War: Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, (NY: Continuum, 2003), pp. 98-118.

• Steven Simon & Daniel Benjamin, “America and the New Terrorism”, Survival, 42: 1, (Spring 2000), pp. 59-75.

• Robert A. Pape, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism”, American Political Science Review, 97: 3, (August 2003), pp. 343-361.

• Olivier Roy, “Introduction: Islam: A Passage to the West”, in Globalised Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, (London: Hurst & Co., 2004), pp. 1-55.

Week 8: Al Qaeda: from Afghanistan to the World

• Jason Burke, “What is Al-Qaeda”, in Al-Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror, (London: I. B. Taurus, 2003), pp. 8-22.

• Bruce Hoffman, “Al-Qaeda Trends in Terrorism and Future Potentialities: An Assessment”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 26: 6, (2003), pp. 429-442.

• Quintan Wiktorowicz, “A Genealogy of Radical Islam”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 28, (2005), pp. 75-97.

• Mark Sedgwick, “Al-Qaeda and the Nature of Religious Terrorism”, Terrorism and Political Violence, 16: 4, (Winter 2004), pp. 795-814.

• Steven Simon & Jeff Martini, “Terrorism: Denying Al Qaeda Its Popular Support”, Washington Quarterly, 28: 1, (Winter 2004-05), pp. 131-145.

Week 9: Iraq, Syria and the Rise of Islamic State

• Steven E. Miller, “The Iraq Experiment and US National Security”, Survival, 48: 4, (Winter 2006-07), pp. 17-50.

• Bruce Hoffman, “Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 29: 2, (2006), pp. 103-121.

• Fawaz Gerges, “ISIS and the Third Wave of Jihadism”, Current History, (December 2014), pp. 339-343.

• Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants”, The Atlantic, (March 2015),

• Donald Holbrook, “Al-Qaeda and the Rise of ISIS”, Survival, 57(2) (2015), pp. 93-104

Week 10: US Counter-Terrorism Strategy

• Robert F. Trager & Dessislava P. Zagorcheva, “Deterring Terrorism: It Can Be Done”, International Security, 30: 3, (Winter 2005), pp. 87-123.

• Wyn Rees and Richard J. Aldrich, "Contending cultures of counterterrorism: transatlantic divergence or convergence?." International affairs 81 (5) (2005): 905-923.

• Daniel Byman, "US Counter–terrorism Options: A Taxonomy." Survival 49 (3) (2007): 121-150.

• Thomas Badey, "US counter-terrorism: Change in approach, continuity in policy." Contemporary Security Policy 27.2 (2006): 308-324.

• Brian Williams, "The CIA's covert Predator drone war in Pakistan, 2004–2010: the history of an assassination campaign." Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 33 (10) (2010): 871-892.

• Trevor McCrisken, "Obama's Drone War." Survival 55.2 (2013): 97-122.

Week 11: Counter-Terrorism in Asia: regional powers and institutional responses

• Jeffrey Reeves, “Ideas and Influence: Scholarship as a Harbinger of Counterterrorism Institutions, Policies, and Laws in the People's Republic of China”, Terrorism and Political Violence, (2014)

• Ralf Emmers, "Comprehensive security and resilience in Southeast Asia: ASEAN's approach to terrorism" The Pacific Review 22 (2) (2009), pp. 159-177.

• Andrew Chau, "Security community and Southeast Asia: Australia, the US, and ASEAN's counter-terror strategy”, Asian Survey 48 (4) (2008), pp. 626-649.

• David Wright-Neville, “Dangerous Dynamics: Activists, Militants and Terrorists in Southeast Asia”, The Pacific Review, 17: 1, (2004), pp. 27-46.

• David M. Jones, Michael L. R. Smith & Mark Weeding, “Looking for a Pattern: Al Qaeda in Southeast Asia – The Genealogy of a Terror Network”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 26, (2003), pp. 443-457.

Week 12: Terrorism today and tomorrow: assessing implications for Australian National Security Policy
• Christopher Michaelsen, “Antiterrorism Legislation in Australia: A Proportionate Response to the Terrorist Threat?”, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, 28: 4, (2005), pp. 321-339.

• Pickering, Sharon, and Jude McCulloch. "The Haneef case and counter-terrorism policing in Australia." Policing & Society 20.1 (2010), pp. 21-38.

• Christopher Michaelsen “Australia and the Threat of Terrorism in the Decade after 9/11”, Asian Journal of Political Science, 18:3 (2010), pp. 248-268


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Student Contribution Band:
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Unit value:
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2017 $3420
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2017 $4878
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Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
9689 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person

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