• Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies, Security Studies, Middle East Studies, Central Asia Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Elisabeth Yarbakhsh
  • Mode of delivery Online
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

This course provides postgraduate students with the tools to understand and analyse some of the key drivers of violent extremism in the world today. Focused on the Middle East, the course examines the historical legacies that have shaped state and non-state violence in the region and provides important context to the emergence of terrorism as a political tactic against the backdrop of globalisation. Running throughout the course are basic questions such as: why does violent extremism develop; how does it function; what impact does it have; and what can be done about it? 

Specific topics to be covered include: defining violent extremism; the historical roots of violence and legacies of Empires; politics and violence in the struggle for Palestine; religious fundamentalism and international politics; September 11 and “The War on Terror”; global repercussions of the Iraq invasion; the rise and fall of Isis; gender and political violence; non-state actors and militia; the new fundamentalisms: violence and terror today.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. define violent extremism and identify its historical roots;
  2. investigate modern and contemporary manifestations of terrorism and consider how political violence impacts populations in the Middle East and beyond;
  3. gain an in-depth understanding of the political and religious ideologies that have underpinned violent extremism in the region;
  4. develop the capacity to research topics related to violent extremism and terrorism and to write about these topics with confidence; and
  5. critically analyse texts and course material and present arguments with confidence in a public setting.

Indicative Assessment

  1. (3000 word) essay (35) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. (4000 word) essay (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Oral Presentation (15) [LO 5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 24 hours of contact over 12 weeks at seminars; and,

b) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (HARTS or HART2) or a Bachelor of Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies (Honours) (HMECA), or completed 144 units of Bachelor of Philosophy (Arts) (APHAR or APNAR) courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed MEAS8111.

Prescribed Texts

There are no prescribed texts for this course. All readings will be made available on Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

Berger, J. M: Extremism The MIT Press (2018)

Chomsky, N. & Achcar, G.   Perilous Power: The Middle East and US Foreign Policy, London: Hamish Hamilton, 2007.

Gerges, F.A.  The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Hafez, Kai: Radicalism and political reform in the Islamic and western worlds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010.

Jones, Martin et al (eds): Handbook of terrorism and counter terrorism post 9/11. Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019.

Rajan, V. G. Julie: Al Qaeda's global crisis: the Islamic state, takfir, and the genocide of Muslims. London: Routledge 2015.

Saikal, A.     Islam and the West: Conflict or Coperation?, London, Palgrave MacMillan, 2003


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2022 $4200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3960 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In Person View

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