Terror, terrorist acts and terrorism is as old as human history. Individuals, sects, cults, despotic rulers, revolutionaries, political organizations, independence movements, 'freedom fighters' and modern nation states have for millennia used terror (violence, fear and intimidation) to advance their interests. Despite this, acts of terror when they occur continue to shock and surprise the community, society or nation in which they take place. Each generation it seems views terror and terrorism as something unique, frightening and new.
This course will explore the modern history of terror and terrorism. Beginning with the birth of modern terrorism — 'The Terror' of Revolutionary France — it will examine how terror has been used, justified, fought, changed, surged, ebbed and periodically reappeared since 1793. A series of case studies will look at different categories of terror and terrorism: revolutionary terror, anarchist terrorism, nationalist (and anti-colonial) campaigns of terror, the terror of totalitarianism, surrogate terrorism, and the use of terror methods by modern nation states and those who challenge their power. The Jacobin terrorists of 1793 were very different from the anarchist Narodnya Volya who assassinated Tsar Alexander II with a bomb in 1881, but both could claim to be acting in the interests of the greater good. And the Zionist Irgun members who blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, and the Palestinian Black September militants who took eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team hostage and subsequently murdered them in Munich in 1972 could both claim to be fighting for a homeland in the Middle East. The scale of the terrorist threat may have changed since Al Qaeda's attack on the United States on 11 September 2001, but one should not assume that terrorism itself has changed. One of the aims of this course will be to explore the continuities, ironies, and marked differences to be found in the history of terror over the last two centuries.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- demonstrate an understanding of how terror and the use of violence to provoke fear and intimidate; societies, governments and nations has been employed over the last two centuries;
- demonstrate an understanding of the different types and evolving nature of Terror;
- demonstrate an understanding of the different theories of terrorism and how the perpetrators of acts of terror have attempted to justify their actions;
- demonstrate an understanding of the basics of historical inquiry and historical analysis; and
- demonstrate how to use evidence, apply theory, formulate arguments and express their views in both oral and written form.
Course Contact: Dr Rebecca Cross
T: 02 61250982
- 1,000 word document exercise (15 %) [Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5] (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- 2,000 word essay (35 %) [Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5] (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Tutorial participation and performance (10 %) [Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5] (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Final examination (40 %) [Learning Outcomes 1,2,3,4,5] (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
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Workload160 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 75 hours of contact: 75 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.
b) 85 hours of supported and independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- 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.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.
|Class start date
|Last day to enrol
|Class end date
|Mode Of Delivery
|22 Jul 2019
|29 Jul 2019
|31 Aug 2019
|08 Nov 2019