A History of Terrorism and Political Violence - 2017

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP1 , SP3
  • Availability for 2018: SP1 , SP3
  • Assessment: Essay 1 (35%) , Essay 2 (45%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

For many, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the
Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on 11 September 2011 are defining moments in history.
These attacks were undeniably seminal events in contemporary history, and we find
commentators and scholars talk in terms of "before" and "after" 9/11. Not surprisingly,
terrorism is a topic that seemingly remains ever-present in our collective minds. As the
authors of Terrorism: A Critical Introduction state: "In the twenty-first century, terrorism, it seems, is everywhere. It is in the headlines and stories of our newspapers, websites and nightly television news, an din the plotlines and characters of films, TV
programmes and plays we watch, and the thriller novels and comics we read" (R. Jackson et.al., 2011: p. 1).

It is, of course, important to place contemporary terrorism in historical context, to
understand how political violence has manifested itself throughout history, what impact
it had on communities and how societies dealt with the threat. By looking at the history
of terrorism, this unit will explore the broad & shifting contours of political violence from ancient times through to the rise of modern-day Jihadist terrorism. The unit will
introduce students to moments of terrorism within a broad chronological and
geographical framework. It will challenge students to consider the definition of terrorism and the notion of 'one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter', while exploring the key questions of how, why and with what consequences terrorism has been constructed.

At the completion of this unit you will be able to:

  1. explore and articulate your knowledge of the narrative of the history of terrorism and political violence and the changing meanings of terrorism
  2. reflect critically upon different perspectives and interpretations of terrorism
  3. present your analysis of debates on the history of terrorism and political violence to peers.
  4. Source, organize, critically evaluate and interpret information from valid academic references to construct and support an argument.
  • Essay 1 (35%)
  • Essay 2 (45%)
  • Online Discussion (20%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Note: Level 2 units normally assume an introductory level of prior knowledge in this area, e.g. from studying related Level 1 units or other relevant experience.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1What is terrorism?.
2Who is a terrorist?
3What is the most significant moment in the history of terrorism?
4Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
5The 'Reign of Terror' in the Age of Revolutions.
6Anarchist terrorism.
7State terror.
8Ethno-nationalist terrorism.
9International terrorism.
10The IRA and PLO.
11Alternative and cult terrorism.
12Jihadist terrorism.
13The future of terrorism.

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • Online Assessment
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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