• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Terrorism, in the contemporary study of International Relations, Strategic Studies, and Security Studies is both a congested area of analysis and an area of considerable incompetence, ignorance and special pleading – all of which tends to drown the more thoughtful and insightful accounts which are the result of genuine scholarship. The result is that many views reign in academic and policy circles, and popular political culture which are, to put it mildly, dumb and dangerous. This course will place terrorism, and the efforts at counter-terrorism by the state and the international system which it attracts, including the various attempts to enlist the university-as-institution in this counter-struggle, in the context of the spectrum of political violence – the proximate parts of the relevant spectrum being defined across the bandwidth between resistance and revolutionary and counter-revolutionary war, but also acknowledging that the entire spectrum of political violence (peaceful non-violent protest through to large-scale war) acts as a catalyst for terrorism.

A strong focus will be on understanding the nature of terrorisms which derives from forms of fascism and absolutism, and the counters to them.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an historical familiarity with the origins and uses of terrorism and its re-emergence at different times in different locales.

2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the key concepts and attempts to theorize terrorism and counter-terrorism in history, most especially in the modern period. Within this, the student will be able to demonstrate a knowledge of the role of terrorism as a common, if not universal, feature of state formation.

3. Comprehend, as IR and Strategic analysts, the need to contextualize terrorism so that both an intellectual understanding and sound policy advice (if required) might emerge.  This is not to apologise for terrorism but to plead the case for the understanding which must precede all discussion of it.

4. Reflect critically on arrangements conducted in the name of counter-terrorism which are currently at the core of national security in general and numerous wars and/or interventions more particularly. 


Indicative Assessment

Two  research essays of 3000 words each worth 50%. (LO 1, 2, 3, 4)

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100 hours (approximately) over the duration of the course.  The course will run over the 13 week semester with a 2 hour seminar for 12 of those weeks and 1 week set aside for assessment preparation. 



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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