PO3ITE-International Terrorism

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Christina Hellmich

Email: c.hellmich@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This course examines key issues in the study of contemporary international terrorism. It starts by examining what terrorism is and what distinguishes it from other forms of conflict and warfare in the international system before tracing the causes and consequences of terrorism throughout history, from the 19th-century anarchists to religious terrorism across a range of faiths. From here, the focus shifts to the question of whether there is a particular terrorist type, and the nexus between terrorism and the media. We examine what factors influence terrorist target selection and the modus operandi as well as the options available to counterterrorism, specifically focusing on the effectiveness of political, economic, military and judicial instruments. Terrorism and counterterrorism are further examined with a view to just-war theory and within the context of the civil liberties debate. The course concludes with a look to the future, both in terms of terrorism itself as well as the contribution the social sciences can make to conceptual and theoretical progress in the area.


Assessable learning outcomes:
During this module it is intended that students will develop:

  • an understanding of what ‘terrorism’ is;
  • a knowledge of the historical antecedents and causes of modern terrorism;
  • an understanding of the diverse aims, motivations and justifications of contemporary
  • a clear appreciation of the impact and effects that terrorism has had on government, the security
forces, the media, the public, and international politics;
  • an understanding of the difficulties and prospects of resolving terrorism for the liberal democratic
state, using the wide repertoire of available instruments from the counter-terrorism toolbox;
  • a critical understanding of the role of the social sciences in research on terrorism.

They will also be able to develop:
  • a capacity to present these discussions in an articulate fashion during seminars and presentations,
and with a high degree of analytical precision in written work.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
12 x 2 hour seminars, regular film screenings, essays, book reviews, internet research

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 12 12
Guided independent study 88 88
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write one 3,000 word essay in the Autumn term making up 40% of the final mark and one 4,000 word essay in the Spring term worth 60% of the final mark.

Non-submitted essays will be awarded a mark of zero.

Visiting students will follow the same assessments to gain full credits. Visiting students who are only studying for half credits in Autumn or Spring term will submit one 3,500 word essay in total.

Formative assessment methods:
Seminar presentations are mandatory and will be peer-assessed

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    No examination.

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Candidates who fail their final year normally have the right to be re-examined on one further occasion at the next opportunity. These candidates will not normally be eligible for Honours (ie., only a ‘Pass’ classification would be attainable). Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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