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CCJ 355U Perspectives of Terrorism
Dates/Term September 25th – December 3rd Spring 2017
Meeting Times Monday and Wednesdays 11:30 – 12:35pm
Location CH 250
Name Dr. Curt Sobolewski
Office Location 571A Urban Center
Office Hours Monday and Wednesdays 10:10 – 11:10am and by appointment.

Since September 11, 2001, people in the United States have been more aware of terrorism. Even though, that was not the first terrorist attack on American soil, it was one that changed how terrorism was viewed in the United States. Politics and public opinion have influenced what we know about terrorism but for the purpose of this course, the focus is not one what others say about terrorist acts but why did terrorist acts occur. What prompts someone to commit a “terrorist” act? Who defines what is terrorism and what isn’t? How do we curb terrorism? Is through new laws? Is it through tougher investigation? Is it by finding the cause of terrorism and changing that? There are many different topics that will be discussed in the course throughout the semester but the main focus will be on the history of terrorism and the causes that stand at the focus of terrorist acts.


The course has four main objectives:

1. Introduce students to the history of terrorism and the landscape of terrorist groups

2. Familiarize students with the main themes and debates in the academic literature on terrorism

3. Sensitize students to the methodological challenges involved in the study of terrorism

4. Equip students with perspectives and tools to better understand the behavior of terrorist groups


· Mike German. Thinking Like a Terrorist. Potomac Books.


Grades in this course will be determined by the following components:

Quizzes: (140 points) During the semester there will be 2 quizzes (the first quiz is worth 50 points and the second quiz is worth 90 points). The quizzes will focus on the readings, lectures, and documentaries presented in the course. Dates for the opening and closing for each quiz are listed in the course schedule in this syllabus. The quizzes are timed and once you start the quiz you will have 3 hours to complete the quiz. No quizzes will be accepted after the 3 hour limit.

All quizzes not finished by the close date will receive a “0”. No exceptions.

Discussion: (60 points) During the term there will be six discussion questions (presented in the syllabus) to be completed on D2L. Each discussion question will be worth 10 points and to get full credit, each student must respond to the initial question and respond to at least three students’ posts.

Each initial response (the answer to the discussion questions) should be a minimum of 250 words, while responses to other students should be a minimum of 100 words. Discussion questions will be open for a week and no late discussion responses will be accepted .


9/25 – 9/27

Introduction to the course

History of Terrorism

a. Russia – Revolutionary/Anarchist

b. France – Revolutionary/State

c. Ireland – Ethno-National Terrorism

Lecture: Terrorist Types and Definition of Terrorism (Chapters 10 and 2)

· Read: Chapters 2 and 10.

· Watch (out of class): 100 Years of Terror: A Legacy of Violence (History Channel) – online


10/2 – 10/4

Watching (in class): One Day in September.

Lecture: The Media, Popular Culture and Terrorism

· Discussion 1 opens 10/4 and closes 10/11. (Discussion Questions can be found after the schedule in the syllabus).


10/9 – 10/11

Lecture: The Media, Popular Culture and Terrorism (cont.)

Lecture: Getting Beyond Good and Evil

Lecture: Compounding Confusion

· Watch (out of class): The Newburgh Sting – online

· Discussion 2 opens 10/11 and closes 10/18

· Read: Chapters 3 and 4


10/16 – 10/18

Watching (in class): The Gatekeepers – this documentary will be on the final quiz and not Quiz 1 · Quiz 1 opens 10/16 and closes 10/23 (covering everything covered in weeks 1-3).

· Discussion 3 10/18 and closes 10/25.


10/23 – 10/25

Lecture: Understanding Political Violence

Lecture: Grading the Government

· Read: Chapters 5 and 6

· Discussion 4 opens 10/25 and closes 11/1

· Watch (out of class): 100 Years of Terror: The War Against Colonialism – online


10/30 – 11/1

Lecture: Methods and Motives

No Class 11/1.

· Read: Chapter 7

· Watching (out of class): If A Tree Falls – online

· Discussion 5 opens 10/30 and closes 11/6


11/6 – 11/8

Lecture: Ranking the Resistance

Lecture: Right Wing Terrorism Part I

· Read: Chapters 9 and 11

11/13 – 11/15

Watching (in class): Welcome to Leith

11/20 – 11/22

Lecture: Right Wing Terrorism Part II

No Class 11/22


11/27 – 11/29

Lecture: Winning Strategy against Extremists

Lecture: What Should Be Learned.

· Watching (out of class): Taxi to the Darkside – online

· Discussion 6 opens 11/27 and closes 12/4

· Read: Chapters 12, 13, and 14

Final The final quiz for the class is due on December 6th at 11:59pm. Taken on D2L. Will open on 11/29

*Readings listed for each lecture should be completed before coming to class.

**Documentaries will be watched either “in class” or “out of class” – they are labeled in that manner in the syllabus.

Discussion Questions:

Discussion Question 1

How did the 1972 terrorist attack at Munich change history? (Could it be seen as successful, why or why not?) In your opinion, what ways was it similar to 9/11?

Discussion 2

Winning the War on Terror with Informants?

The United States today has more informants than they have had in any other period in the history of our country. Are the informants helping us win the war on terror or are they helping us look like we are winning the war on terror?

Discussion 3

In the documentary The Gatekeepers one of the most dramatic discussions involve the rise of the right wing among the Israeli settlers in the occupied territories. Their proliferation and increasing hostility, and the slap-on-the-wrist punishments they received, were an open secret, but their rage was unleashed with the Oslo Accords. The officers launch the most surprising criticism, against Benjamin Netanyahu, all but blaming him for inciting the killing of Yitzhak Rabin, whose murder by a far-right Israeli extremist changed the way these officers looked at their nation.

Do you think that the new Shin Bet strategies were a positive change and how could the US see these strategies on a way to fight the war on terror?

Discussion 4: Colonialism

Terrorism can be seen as a reaction by those without power against those with power but in the situations as portrayed in the documentary The War Against Colonialism is terrorism justified? Were the means justified by the endings?

Discussion Question 5: If A Tree Falls

There has been some debate even within law-enforcement circles about the use of “terrorist” to describe the acts carried out by the ELF. Would you define their acts as terrorism? Why or why not?

How did this film confirm or challenge your perception of radical environmentalism, law enforcement, and those in the timber industry?

Discussion 6: Taxi to the Darkside

“The likelihood of that [the “ticking time-bomb” scenario] ever happening is so remote … even if you’re in that situation, who’s to say that if you beat him up that you’re gonna get that information?”

—Jack Cloonan, FBI Special Agent 1977-2002, Counterterrorism Task Force.

How has the “ticking time-bomb” scenario influenced public discourse on torture? Do you believe there is ever a situation extreme enough to justify the use of torture as an interrogation technique? Explain your answer.


As a student in this class it is your responsibility to fully understand and comply with the following course policies. If you have questions about any of these policies please contact the instructor immediately.

Changes to the Syllabus

Changes to the course may be necessary once the term starts. This includes changes in the topics covered, the schedule, and changes in the exercises, exams, and assignments used to evaluate students. Any such changes will be announced in class and/or online (via email, D2L, etc.) and will take precedence over the material contained in this syllabus.

CCJ Grading Scale

All CCJ courses applied to the major must be taken for a letter grade (i.e., Pass/No Pass do not count) and receive a “C” or better. A “C-” does not satisfy this requirement. For those taking the class for Pass/No-pass credit, a “C-” or better is required to pass, per PSU policy.

Grading Scale:

A = 200 – 186 A- = 185 – 180 B+ = 179 – 174 B = 173-166

B- = 165 – 160 C+ = 159 – 154 C = 153- 146 C- = 145 -140

D = 139 – 120 F = 119 – 0

Classroom Behavior (In-Person)

Students are expected to assist the professor in maintaining an environment that is conducive to the learning of all those attending. As such, you are responsible for avoiding unnecessary disruptions (see specific examples below). You also are expected to be respectful to the professor, your classmates, and guests. Recurrent inappropriate behavior will result, minimally, in a request to leave class for the day.

· If you must enter a class late, do so quietly and do not disrupt the class by walking between in front of the instructor. If you are consistently late the instructor may ask to meet with you after class.

· Do not leave class early unless it is an absolute necessity and you inform the instructor of this in advance (e.g., medical appointment, family emergency).

· Sleeping, talking to neighbors, doing work for another class, reading the newspaper, checking email, and exploring the internet are unacceptable.

· Avoid distracting comments, conversation, and behaviors. If you have a question or a comment, please raise your hand, rather than starting a side conversation with your neighbor.

Classroom Behavior (Online)

While some students are regular electronic communicators, others in the class may have more limited experience with this medium. Here are a few tips to ensure that you communicate effectively in an on-line community.

· State simply and clearly your point. Proofread before sending or use a word processor with spell check and then cut & paste your discussion posting into D2L.

· Avoid the use of symbols or abbreviations that may not be familiar to all or explain the symbol.

· Avoid sarcasm – it does not translate well online.

· Be specific about statements you are responding to. If you are responding to a particular idea from a classmate’s email, restate or “quote” their remarks within your discussion response using copy and paste.

· Assume that everyone has good intentions and remember that assumptions can easily be cleared up by asking for clarification on a discussion board, or with a separate email or phone call.

· Do not use the discussion groups to discuss personal issues/problems beyond the scope of the class.

· Focus critiques on the ideas or opinions expressed by people rather than making personal attacks (i.e., challenge the idea not the person).

The professor may choose to delete a discussion group posting or thread if the contents of that message are inappropriate, inflammatory, or detract from learning course material. When such a decision has been made the person(s) responsible for the message(s) will be informed of this decision by the professor and future communications within the course may be restricted.

Safe Learning Environment

One of my responsibilities as an instructor is to help create a safe learning environment for all students and for the campus as a whole. Please be aware that federal, state, and PSU policies require faculty members to report any instances of sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or other forms of prohibited discrimination. Similarly, PSU faculty are required to file a report if they have reasonable cause to believe that a child with whom they come into contact has suffered abuse, or that any person with whom they come into contact has abused a child. If you would rather share information about these experiences with an employee who may not have similar reporting responsibilities, please contact one of the following campus resources (or visit this link):

· Women’s Resource Center (503-725-5672)

· Queer Resource Center (503-725-9742)

· Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC): 1880 SW 6th Ave, (503) 725-2800

· Student Legal Services: 1825 SW Broadway, (SMSU) M343, (503) 725-4556

For more information about the applicable regulations please complete the required student module Creating a Safe Campus in your D2L.

Be an active student

Not all the information presented in lecture is present in the posted PowerPoint slides on D2L. Thus it is important to be active in class and take notes to supplement that information and make it easier to study. Also, take notes on the videos shown in and out of class. There will be content questions on the quizzes.

Electronic Devices

The use of electronic devices (e.g., laptops, netbooks, I-Pods, cells phones, cameras) during class is prohibited except for the following circumstances: a) students who are registered with the DRC and have accommodations specifically related to the use of electronic media, or b) students who have been granted temporary access by the professor due to special circumstances like a sick family member, a work emergency, or a parenting matter. In cases where permission has been granted, the student will employ the device solely in a manner appropriate to the course work and he/she will avoid interruptions to the instructional process. Students who violate this policy will be warned immediately. Subsequent violations will result in the student being dismissed for that session.

Technology Policy

Technological support is available through PSU’s Help Desk: (503) 725-HELP or It is the student’s responsibility to maintain functioning computer equipment and have consistent Internet access throughout the length of the course. Proficiency in the use of D2L is also required for this course. Multiple university resources are available to teach students how to prepare for online courses and multiple university/public library locations provide Internet and computer access.

Students should identify at least three locations where they can access both computing equipment and the Internet to complete coursework. In addition to a student’s home, examples of such locations are PSU computer labs, public libraries, and/or homes of family and friends.

All written work must be submitted in a format that is accessible with university-issued software (e.g. adobe reader, MS Word). Papers submitted in an inaccessible format cannot be graded. If you are uncertain whether your software will be suitable for submitting papers, contact the PSU Helpdesk.

It is the student’s responsibility to confirm that email messages and any attachments have been received by the professor. All emails will receive a prompt reply (excluding weekends and holidays). If a reply is not received within this time frame, you should assume your message did not arrive successfully and you should follow-up by sending an additional email communication until confirmation is received.


Attendance Policy

If you miss a lecture or video it is your responsibility to obtain the notes and handouts from your classmates or D2L, not the professor.

Late Paper/Assignment Policy

Unless otherwise stated, the following policy applies to all late assignments and exams: You will be given an F if you miss an assignment or turn it in late without prior approval of the instructor. The only exceptions to these rules are for medically approved absences or other extenuating circumstances supported by appropriate documentation and in accordance with university policy.

Paper Formatting

Unless otherwise stated by the professor, the Criminology and Criminal Justice program requires that all papers submitted by students be formatted according to the APA Style, including all bibliographic citations. A good resource on this style can be found at Purdue’s OWL Center (

Library Resources

The PSU Library has constructed resource guide specifically for Criminology & Criminal Justice students. The guide contains both print and electronic resources, as well as information on how to gain Librarian assistance via phone, email, and chat. The Research Guide for Criminology and Criminal Justice students can be found here:

English Usage

Your responses on exams, papers, and other assignments will be graded for content as well as spelling and grammar. If you have difficulty with written expression I recommend you avail yourself of the many services provided on campus for this purpose (See the PSU Writing Center: site or the Learning Center:

Academic Honesty

By turning in an examination, paper, assignment, or in providing discussion board contributions, you (the student) certify that the work was produced without plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty.

Quoting from the Student Code of Conduct (, acts of academic dishonesty, “include, but are not limited to, (a) cheating, (b) fraud, (c) plagiarism, such as word for word copying, using borrowed words or phrases from original text into new patterns without attribution, or paraphrasing another writer’s ideas; (d) the buying or selling of all or any portion of course assignments and research papers; (e) performing academic assignments (including tests and examinations) in another person’s stead; (f) unauthorized disclosure or receipt of academic information; (g) falsification of research data; and (h) unauthorized collaboration; (i) using the same paper or data for several assignments or courses without proper documentation; (j) unauthorized alteration of student records; and (k) academic sabotage, including destroying or obstructing another student’s work.”

Papers and other written submissions in this course may be reviewed for originality using the Turnitin plagiarism detection software. Students who are discovered engaging in acts of plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct will be reported to the appropriate program and university authorities.  Potential consequences range from failure of the given assignment to dismissal from the university.

If you have questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty or the university’s policies on this matter you should carefully review the current the University. Ignorance of these rules is not an acceptable excuse for misconduct in this course. To learn more about plagiarism and associated consequences, view this short presentation


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