Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 5 Hours. (5 x 1 hour)
Lecture 16 Hours. (16 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Performance  10%
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Critically assess the different definitions of terrorism, the linkage between these definitions and structures of power/ideologies, and the way they affect conclusions
  • Critically evaluate the causes, ideologies, and methods of organisations and states that employ terrorism
  • Display an understanding of the linkage between the development of terrorism, the modern state and the international system
  • Discuss and evaluate the core ethical issues surrounding terrorism and state responses to terrorism
  • Critically assess the different perceptions of Islamism, and the linkage between these perceptions and structures of power/ideologies, and the way they affect conclusions
  • Display an understanding of the historical origins, development and ideologies of the main trends in Islamism, and their varying attitudes towards violence and democracy
  • Display an understanding of the linkage between the development of Islamism, the modern state in the Middle East and the international system

Brief description

Brief description: This module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the nature, ethics and rationale of contemporary terrorism and counter terrorism measures; the nature and historical origins of general Islamism; and the relationship between terrorism and particular, radical forms of Islamism.


This module aims to provide students with a critical understanding of the nature, causes and rationale of contemporary terrorism, with particular reference to the events surrounding September 11 and the Middle East. To understand September 11 and its aftermath, it is necessary to understand both the development of terrorism and counter terrorism in the 20th century, the development of the modern state and the international system, and the particular circumstances within which radical Islamism developed. Terrorism will be studied within the context of the development of the state, the post-colonial state and the international system. Radical Islamism will be examined against the evolution of Islamism in general, with a particular focus on the structural and ideological factors that shaped its different manifestations. Students are expected to gain a critical understanding of the problematic surrounding the concept of terrorism.


The module is broadly divided into three subject areas. First, students will be given an understanding of terrorism as a historically specific and socially constituted form of violent political action, which developed in interaction with the development of the modern state and the international system. Second, students will be introduced to the historical, structural and ideological developments that have shaped the different Islamisms. Section three will focus on a number of case studies, drawn from the contexts of the War on Terror and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Transferable skills

Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the module, students should practice and develop their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as self-management. In seminars students enhance and develop their analytical skills and practice listening, explaining and debating skills. Oral and written skills will be developed through seminar presentations, discussions and written assignments. Essay writing encourages students to practice independent research, writing and IT skills and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions. Personal initiative will be encouraged through the involvement of students in the selection of case studies for seminar discussion. Students will also be expected to work in groups, both in terms of seminar preparation and in seminar discussions. Transferable skills will be developed through the use of information technology, the use of various research resources and techniques, as well as the requirement to present work in a consistent and scholarly manner. Computer literacy will be facilitated by the extensive use of websites related to the topics covered in this module.

Reading List

General Text
(1996.) The Times guide to the Middle East:the arab world and its neighbours /edited by Peter Sluglett and Marion Farouk-Sluglett. [3rd] new ed. Times Books Primo search Barker, Jonathan ([2003]) The no-nonsense guide to terrorism /Jonathan Barker. New Internationalist ; Primo search Cleveland, William L. (2004.) A history of the modern Middle East /William L. Cleveland. 3rd ed. Westview Press Primo search Kepel, Gilles. (2002.) Jihad :the trail of political Islam /Gilles Kepel ; translated by Anthony F. Roberts. I.B. Tauris Primo search Richardson, Louise (2006.) What terrorists want :understanding the terrorist threat /Louise Richardson. John Murray Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6