Government 327


The Politics of Terrorism


Fall 2003                                                                                              Martha Crenshaw

TTH 9-10:20                                                                                        324 PAC

136 PAC


This course is a survey of the evolution of the phenomenon of terrorism and an analysis of its causes, forms, and consequences.  It concludes with an analysis of U.S. policy toward international terrorism over the past thirty years. We will employ an interdisciplinary approach, linking history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science.



Martha Crenshaw, ed., Terrorism in Context can be purchased at the bookstore and is also on reserve.  Additional readings will be on reserve (electronic and/or hard copy of individual chapters or articles as well as copies of books from which chapters are assigned if Olin Library owns them) or available through the library’s electronic databases.  Students should be familiar with the library’s electronic resources, especially electronic journals. There will also be occasional hand-outs. 




Students will be expected to prepare for class discussions by doing all reading thoroughly and in advance. It is equally essential that students be well informed about current events, preferably by reading The New York Times or other major newspaper daily.  Class participation will count 20% of the final grade.  (Note:  Students must arrive on time and stay for the duration of the class, barring illness that precipitates a sudden and irrevocable departure.  This means that it will not be acceptable to wander in and out of class.  Please don’t eat in class or leave cell phones on.) 


This semester we will have several invited speakers.  Each will give a talk open to the Wesleyan community on either Monday or Wednesday afternoon or evening and then meet with the class the following Tuesday or Thursday morning for further discussion.  You will be expected to attend the talks.  Dates are noted on the syllabus. 


The class will require three types of written work.  First will be an analysis of a specific campaign of terrorism, completed in two stages (total 40% of final grade). The first draft will be due October 16 and the final version due November 10.  I will provide a list of groups from which to select a case as well as suggest questions and approaches.  You should aim for a length of about 12-15 pages.  Please return the first draft with my comments along with your final paper.  The second writing project will be a short research paper, approximately 5 pages long, focusing on government responses to terrorism (20%, due December 4).  Third, the final exam, an essay, will be take-home, due December 19 (20%). 


All writing assignments should be submitted both electronically and in hard copy.  Text should be double-spaced, with one inch margins on all sides and twelve point font.  Pages should be numbered.  Papers should be stapled together.  Citations to references should be clear, consistent, and comprehensive. If necessary, consult a style manual such as the Little, Brown Manual of Style. 


Requests for extensions on assignments must be made in writing and in advance, unless there is a medical or family emergency.  Otherwise late work will not be accepted.  Incompletes will not be possible. The Honor Code must be strictly observed. 




September 2               Introductory class


September 4               Definitions


Giovanni Sartori, “Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics,” American Political Science Review, 64 (1970), 1033-1053.  Electronic journal.


David C. Rapoport, “Fear and Trembling:  Terrorism in Three Religious Traditions,” American Political Science Review, 78 (1984), pp. 658-77.  Electronic journal. 


September 9              Understanding the Concept


Martha Crenshaw, “Introduction: Thoughts on Relating Terrorism to Historical Contexts,” in Terrorism in Context, and “’New’ versus ‘Old’ Terrorism,” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics and Culture, 10, 1 (2003), pp. 48-53.  (Note: A hard copy of this article will be distributed in class.) 


September 11             What is Al Qaeda?


John L. Esposito, Unholy War:  Terror in the Name of Islam, Chapters 1 and 2.  Electronic Reserve. 


Suggested further reading:

Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda:  Global Network of Terror.

Roxanne L. Euben, “Jihad and Political Violence,” Current History 101 (November 2002), pp. 365-76.  Electronic Journal.

Gilles Kepel, Jihad.

Michael Willis, The Islamist Challenge in Algeria.


September 16             Origins of Modern Terrorism:  Anarchism


Martin A. Miller, “The Intellectual Origins of Modern Terrorism in Europe,” in Terrorism in Context.


Emma Goldman, Living My Life, Chapters VIII and IX, pp. 83-107 of the Modern Library Edition.  Electronic Reserve.  (Note that the edition on reserve may not be the Modern Library edition so look for the chapters rather than the pages.) 


September 18             The Russian Revolutionary Movement     


Philip M. Pomper, “Russian Revolutionary Terrorism” in Terrorism in Context.


Vera Figner, Memoirs of a Revolutionist, Chapter XVIII, “The Court is in Session,” pp. 154-171.  Electronic Reserve.


Suggested further reading on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries:

Wolfgang J. Mommsen and Gerhard Hirschfeld, eds., Social Protest, Violence & Terror in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Europe.

Duncan M. Perry, The Politics of Terror:  The Macedonian Revolutionary Movements, 1893-1903.

Peter Heehs, The Bomb in Bengal:  The Rise of Revolutionary Terrorism in India 1900-1910


September 23             Algeria:  The Prototype of Urban Terrorism


Martha Crenshaw, “The Effectiveness of Terrorism in the Algerian War,” in Terrorism in Context.


Skim press articles listed under search terms “Algeria, torture” in Factiva database (formerly Dow Jones Interactive) during past two years; you can also use Lexis-Nexis. 


Note:  The film, “The Battle of Algiers,” will be shown outside of class.  Yacef Saadi, the head of the ZAA in Algiers, plays himself. 


Suggested further reading:

Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth


September 25             “Urban Guerrilla” in Argentina


Richard Gillespie, “Political Violence in Argentina: Guerrillas, Terrorists, and Carapintadas,” in Terrorism in Context.


Maria José Moyano, Argentina’s Lost Patrol:  Armed Struggle, 1969-1979, Chapter 7, “Guerrilla Lives,” pp. 101-130.  Electronic Reserve. 


September 30               The Shining Path of  Peru


David Scott Palmer, “The Revolutionary Terrorism of Peru’s Shining Path,”in Terrorism in Context.


Alberto Bolivar, “Peru,” in Yonah Alexander, ed., Combating Terrorism:  Strategies of Ten Countries, pp. 84-115 and footnotes 401-406.  (Bolivar is a former Peruvian military officer.)  Electronic Reserve.


Suggested further reading on Latin American revolutionaries/terrorism:

Richard Gillespie, “The Urban Guerrilla in Latin America,” in Noel O’Sullivan, ed., Terrorism, Ideology, and Revolution

Carlos Marighela, For the Liberation of Brazil.

Gustavo Gorriti, The Shining Path:  A History of the Millenarian War in Peru.

Jennifer S. Holmes, “Political Violence and Regime Change in Argentina:  1965-1976,” Terrorism and Political Violence 13, 1 (Spring 2001), pp. 134-154.


Note:  The film, “The Dancer Upstairs,” is about Sendero Luminoso.  It is based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Shakespeare.  Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto is also based on the history of terrorism in Peru. 


October 2                    Terrorism in the Arab-Israeli Conflict before the 1980s:  

Clashing Nationalisms


Ian S. Lustick, “Terrorism in the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Targets and Audiences,” in Terrorism in Context.


James Bennet, “How Ben-Gurion Did It: Is Everyone Listening?” The New York Times,

August 13, 2003.  Lexis-Nexis. 


Menachem Begin, The Revolt, Chapter IV, “We Fight, Therefore We Are,” and Chapter V, “Logic of the Revolt.” Electronic Reserve.  (The first part of Chapter VI, “Army of the Underground,” will be distributed in hard copy.)


Yezid Sayigh, “The Armed Struggle and Palestinian Nationalism,” pp. 23-35 in Avraham Sela and Moshe Ma’oz, The PLO and Israel:  From Armed Conflict to Political Solution, 1964-1994.  Electronic Reserve. 


Note:  our focus is the period before the Oslo Accords and the emergence of Hamas and other Islamist groups after the first intifida. 


Suggested further reading:

Kati Marton, A Death in Jerusalem:  The Assassination by Jewish Extremists of the First Arab-Israeli Peacemaker.

J. Bowyer Bell, Terror out of Zion.

Yezid Sayigh, Armed Struggle and the Search for State: The Palestinian National Movement, 1949-1993.

Ehud Sprinzak, Brother Against Brother: Violence And Extremism In Israeli Politics From Altalena To The Rabin Assassination.

Ehud Sprinzak and Idith Zertal, “Avenging Israel’s Blood (1946),” in Jonathan Tucker, ed., Toxic Terror.



October 7-9                Revolutionary Terrorism in Democracies


Donatella della Porta, “Left-Wing Terrorism in Italy,” in Terrorism in Context.          


Peter Merkl, “West German Left-Wing Terrorism,” in Terrorism in Context


Ehud Sprinzak, “The psychopolitical formation of extreme left terrorism in a democracy:  The case of the Weathermen,” in Walter Reich, ed., Origins of Terrorism.  Electronic Reserve.


James Barron, “Former Radical Granted Parole in '81 Killings,” The New York Times, August 21, 2003.  Lexis-Nexis. 


Patricia G. Steinhoff, “Portrait of a Terrorist: An Interview with Kozo Okamoto,”

Asian Survey, Vol. 16, No. 9. (Sep., 1976), pp. 830-845. Electronic Journal:  JSTOR. 


Suggested further reading:

Donatella della Porta, Social Movements, Political Violence, and the State: A Comparative Analysis of Italy and Germany.

Robin Erica Wagner-Pacifici, The Moro Morality Play.

Yonah Alexander and Dennis A. Pluchinsky, eds., European Terrorism:  Today & Tomorrow

Michael Y. Dartnell, Action Directe:  Ultra-Left Terrorism in France, 1979-1987.

Michael Y. Dartnell, “Alias ‘GBGPGS’:  Action Directe Internationale’s Transition from Revolutionary Terrorism to Euro-Terrorism,” Terrorism and Political Violence 9, 4 (Winter 1997), pp. 33-57.

Peter J. Katzenstein, “Coping with Terrorism: Norms and Internal Security in Germany and Japan,” in Judith Goldstein and Robert O. Keohane, eds., Ideas and Foreign Policy, pp. 265-295.

Franco Ferraresi, Threats to Democracy:  The Radical Right in Italy after the War

Harold Jacobs, ed.  Weatherman.

Elizabeth Kolbert, “The Prisoner,” The New Yorker, July 16, 2001.  


October 14-16            No class:  Research paper due October 16 at 10:30


(Note that you should also get a start on the long reading assignment for October 23.)


[October 21                Fall Break]


October 23                  Ethnonationalist Conflict:  Spain and Ireland


Goldie Shabad and Francisco Llera, “Political Violence in a Democratic State:  Basque Separatism in Spain,” in Terrorism in Context.


Paddy Woodworth, “Why Do They Kill?  The Basque Conflict in Spain,” World Policy Journal 18, 1 (Spring 2001), pp. 1-12.  Electronic Journal.


Charles Townshend, “The Culture of Paramilitarism in Ireland,” in Terrorism in Context


Paul Dixon, “Political Skills or Lying and Manipulation?  The Choreography of the Northern Ireland Peace Process,” Political Studies 50 (2002), pp. 725-741.  Electronic version available through Article First database. 


Suggested further reading on ethnonationalist terrorism:

M. L. R. Smith, Fighting for Ireland:  The Military Strategy of the Irish Republican Movement.

Eamon Collins, Killing Rage.

Malachi O’Doherty, The Trouble With Guns:  Republican Strategy and the Provisional IRA

Cynthia K. Mahmood, Fighting for Faith and Nation:  Dialogues with Sikh Militants.

M.R. Narayan Swamy, Tigers of Lanka.

Rohan Gunaratna, Sri Lanka’s Ethnic Crisis and National Security.

Joseba Zulaika, Basque Violence:  Metaphor and Sacrament.

Cyrus Zirakzadeh, A Rebellious People:  Basques, Protests, and Politics

Gamini Samaranayake, “Political Violence in Sri Lanka:  A Diagnostic Approach,” Terrorism and Political Violence 9, 2 (Summer 1997), pp. 99-119.

Manoj Joshi, “On the Razor’s Edge:  The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 19, 1 (1996), pp. 19-42.

David A. Charters, “The Amateur Revolutionaries:  A Reassessment of the FLQ,”

Terrorism and Political Violence 9, 1 (Spring 1997), pp. 133-169.

Paddy Woodworth, Dirty War, Clean Hands.  2nd ed.


October 28                  "Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and the Media," Brigitte Nacos, Columbia University.  Lecture October 27, 4:15 p.m.


Brigitte Nacos, Mass-Mediated Terrorism:  The Central Role of the Media in Terrorism and Counterterrorism, Chapters 3 and 5.  Electronic Reserve. 


October 30                  Iran and Hezbollah


Jerrold Green, “Terrorism and Politics in Iran,” in Terrorism in Context


Hala Jaber, Hezbollah:  Born with a Vengeance, Chapter 1, “The Shiites Strike Back,” and Chapter 4, “Export of a Revolution.”  Electronic Reserve.


Suggested further reading:

Magnus Ranstorp, Hizb’Allah in Lebanon.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, Hizbu’llah:  Politics and Religion.


November 4                Religion in the Israel-Palestine Conflict:  Hamas


 “The Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas),” in Shaul Mishal and Avraham Sela, The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, violence, and coexistence, pp. 175-99.  Electronic Reserve. 


Nasra Hassan, “Letter from Gaza:  An Arsenal of Believers,” The New Yorker, November 19, 2001.  (Lexis-Nexis.)


Elizabeth Rubin, “The Most Wanted Palestinian,” The New York Times Magazine, June 30, 2002.  (Lexis-Nexis.) 


November 6                "The Global Phenomenon of Suicide Terror," Mia Bloom,

Princeton University.  Lecture November 5, 4:15 p.m.


Draft chapters of book manuscript, Dying to Kill (to be distributed)


November 11              “Women and Terrorism,” Karla Cunningham, SUNY-Geneseo.  Lecture November 10, 4:15 p.m.


Karla Cunningham, “Cross-Regional Trends in Female Terrorism,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 26, 3 (2003), pp. 171-96.  (to be distributed)


November 13              Internal Dynamics of Undergrounds


Martha Crenshaw, "Theories of Terrorism:  Instrumental and Organizational Approaches," Journal of Strategic Studies 10, 4 (Dec., 1987), pp. 13-31.  Also in David C. Rapoport, ed., Inside Terrorist Organizations. Electronic Reserve. 


Cyrus Ernesto Zirakzadeh, “From Revolutionary Dreams to Organizational Fragmentation:  Disputes over Violence within ETA and Sendero Luminoso,” Terrorism and Political Violence 14, 4 (Winter 2002), pp. 66-92.  Electronic Journal.


Suggested further reading:

Khachig Tololyan, “Cultural Narrative and the Motivation of the Terrorist,” in David C. Rapoport, ed., Inside Terrorist Organizations.

Leonard Weinberg, “Turning to Terror:  The Conditions under Which Political Parties Turn to Terrorist Activities,” Comparative Politics 23, 4 (July 1991), pp. 423-38.

Max Taylor, The Terrorist.

Donatella della Porta, “ On Individual Motivations in Underground Political Organizations,” in Social Movements and Violence:  Participation in Underground Organizations (International Social Movement Research, Vol. 4, 1992). 





November 18              American Policy: Overview


David Tucker, Skirmishes at the Edge of Empire:  The United States and International Terrorism, Chapter 1, “History.” Electronic Reserve. 


Suggested further reading:

Department of State, Patterns of Global Terrorism (look at

David A. Korn, Assassination in Khartoum.

David C. Martin and John Walcott, Best Laid Plans.

Stansfield Turner, Terrorism and Democracy.

Paul Pillar, Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy.

Robert Kumamoto, International Terrorism & American Foreign Relations, 1945-1976.

Marc Celmer, Terrorism, U.S. Strategy, and Reagan Policies.

William R. Farrell, The U.S. Government Response to Terrorism:  In Search of an Effective Strategy.

Jeffrey D. Simon, The Terrorist Trap.

J. Brent Wilson, “The United States’ Response to International Terrorism,” in David A. Charters, ed., The Deadly Sin of Terrorism, pp. 173-210.

Daniel L. Byman, Matthew C. Waxman, and Eric Larson, Air Power as a Coercive Instrument, Chapter Six, “Coercing Nonstate Actors:  A Challenge for the Future.”

Joseph Lepgold, “Hypotheses on Vulnerability:  Are Terrorists and Drug Traffickers Coerceable?” in Lawrence Freedman, ed., Strategic Coercion:  Concepts and Cases.

Ian O. Lesser, et al., Countering the New Terrorism.

“The Achille Lauro Affair,” Kennedy School of Government Case.

Tim Zimmermann, “Coercive Diplomacy and Libya,” in Alexander L. George and William E. Simons, ed., The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy, 2nd ed., pp. 201-228. 

Stephen M. Walt, “Beyond bin Laden:  Reshaping U.S. Foreign Policy,” International Security, 26, 3 (Winter 2001-02), pp. 56-78.

Ian O. Lesser, “Countering the New Terrorism:  Implications for Strategy,” in Ian O. Lesser, Bruce Hoffman, John Arquilla, David Ronfeldt, and Michele Zanini, Countering the New Terrorism.

Barry R. Posen, “The Struggle against Terrorism:  Grand Strategy, Strategy, and Tactics,” International Security, 26, 3 (Winter 2001-02), pp. 39-55.


November 20              "9/11:  Intelligence or Policy Failure?" Daniel Byman,

                                    Georgetown University.  Lecture November 19, 4:15 p.m.


Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, Chapters 9 and 10 in Part Two, “America.”  Electronic Reserve. 


Martha Crenshaw, “Coercive Diplomacy and the Response to Terrorism,” The United States and Coercive Diplomacy, edited by Robert J. Art and Patrick M. Cronin.  Electronic Reserve. 


November 25             Terrorism and International Politics


Audrey Kurth Cronin, “Behind the Curve:  Globalization and International Terrorism,” International Security 27, 3 (Winter 2002-03), pp. 30-58.  Electronic Journal. 


James Kurth, “The American Empire and Islamic Terrorism,” Current History 101 (December 2002), pp. 403-408.  Electronic Journal. 



Thomas Homer-Dixon, “The Rise of Complex Terrorism,” Foreign Policy 128 (January-February 2002), 52-62.

National Strategy for Combating Terrorism at


December 2                Normative Aspects of the War on Terrorism


Adam Roberts, “Counter-terrorism, Armed Force and the Laws of War,” Survival, 44, 1 (Spring 2002), pp. 7-32.  Electronic Journal. 


Neta C. Crawford, “Just War Theory and the U.S. Counterterror War,” Perspectives on Politics 1, 1, (March 2003), pp 5-25. Electronic Journal:  Cambridge Journals Online.


December 4            Paper due


December 19              Final exam due by noon