Course Syllabus


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Semester & Location:

Fall 2021 - DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Core Course - 3 credits

Study Tour:


Major Disciplines:

International Relations, Political Science



Faculty Member:

Campbell Munro,

Program Director:

Neringa B. Vendelbo, 

Time & Place:

Monday and Thursday: 08:30 - 09:50

Location: N7-C24

Course Description:

Terrorism and counter-terrorism have been on everybody’s mind since 9/11. However, terrorism didn’t just appear out of the blue on that horrifying September day. This course is a study of terrorism - its causes, aims, and forms - and of counter-terrorism measures introduced by the international community and individual states. The course examines the concept of terrorism, the question of how to define terrorism, and how different approaches to the study of terrorism can shed light on the implications of terrorism for international politics in the 21st century.

In order to better understand the concept and phenomenon of terrorism and the attempts to counter it, we will look at different types of terrorism and the attempts to deal with terrorism from a domestic European perspective. It is both relevant and important to study terrorism from a European perspective, because (unfortunately) several European countries have a very long history of dealing with terrorism (e.g. Northern Ireland (IRA), Spain (ETA), Italy (Red Brigades), and Germany (Red Army Faction). This historical perspective will allow us to gain a better insight into how terrorism is framed, why it occurs, and what some of the consequences are of reacting in different ways to terrorism. In particular, this course will focus on the contemporary domestic terror threat, from both far-right and religious terrorists, and the politics of radicalization and de-radicalization that has emerged as the main counter-terrorism paradigm. 

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course students will be able to better understand the complex concept of terrorism, the problems with defining terrorism, differing approaches to the study of terrorism, why terrorism occurs, the various types of terrorism, and the politics of countering the contemporary domestic terrorist threat.  


Campbell Munro

Campbell holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Lund University, and previously practiced as a barrister in London, specialising in refugee and immigration law. He is currently completing a PhD in International Law at the University of Copenhagen.


There is no textbook for this course and all the readings for each class can be accessed and downloaded on Canvas via the Calendar.

A list of ‘Required  Readings’ for each class are provided on Canvas.  Below is a selection of class readings:

'The Bomb in the Baby Carriage', Prologue to 'The Infernal Machine: A History of Terrorism', by Matthew Carr, (The New Press, 2006).

'How to Think About Islamic State', Pankaj Mishra, The Guardian, (24 July 2015).

'The Foundations of Modern Terrorism: State, Society and the Dynamics of Political Violence', by Martin A. Miller, (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

'Constructions of Terrorism: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Research and Policy,'(University of California Press, 2017).

Richard Jackson, Lee Jarvis, Jeroen Gunning, and Marie Breen-Smyth, 'Terrorism: A Critical Introduction'(Palgrave, 2011).

'How (not) to Study Terrorism', by Verena Erlenbusch, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 17(4) (2014), 470 - 491.

'The Causes of Terrorism', by Martha Crenshaw, Comparative Politics13(4) (1981), 379 - 399.

Arun Kundani, 'The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror', (Verso, 2014)

'Is Religion the Problem?', by Mark Juergensmeyer, Hedgehog Review, 6(1) (2004), 1 - 10

'"I Just Said It: The State": Examining the Motivations for Danish Foreign Fighting in Syria', by Jakob Sheikh, Perspectives on Terrorism10(6) (2016), 59-67.

'Age of Anger: A History of the Present', by Pankaj Mishra, (Allen Lane, 2017)

Field Studies:

  • Field Study 1: Wednesday 29 September, 08:30 - 12:30 - TBC
  • Field Study 2: Wednesday 8 December, 13:00 - 17:00 - TBC

Approach to Teaching:

The approach to teaching adopted in this course will be based on a seminar model, in which classroom discussion and engaged participation will be the main method of teaching and learning. Students should consider the course as presenting a series of ‘shared problems’ that we as a group will seek to reflect on together. Our shared project is to gain a better understanding of the concept of terrorism, and to be able to critically analyse the role that the discourse of terrorism plays in European and international relations and politics. 

Expectations of the Students:

Students are expected to abide by the Academic Regulations and assist in creating an environment that is conducive to learning and that protects the rights of all members of the DIS community. This course is designed to expose students to a variety of different arguments concerning a very topical and controversial topic, and is designed to provide students with tools with which to analyse those arguments and assess them critically. Please show respect for the views of your fellow-classmates, whether you agree with them or not. Whereas this course is designed to encourage debate, judgmental or intolerant behaviour will not be tolerated.

Being discussion-based, this course demands a high degree of student participation and engagement. Throughout the course, you will also have to develop and practice your own critical thinking by analyzing texts and other materials, as well as specific case studies to understand the complexity of the concept of terrorism. 


Students will be evaluated on their engaged classroom participation and their assignments. Attendance for all classes, Field Studies, and Study Tours is mandatory. Students are required to attend class on time and be prepared to actively participate in class. The starting point for such engaged participation will be the submission of ‘short written assignments’ at the start of class, which will inform class discussion. These assignments form a bridge between the reading students undertake prior to class and their engaged participation in class.


A: Participation and Engagement - 25%

Students will be graded on their active and engaged participation in each class, Field Study, and Study Tour. Active participation includes timely attendance in class and must evidence reading class material, preparation for class, and critical attention given to the class topic. In addition, students will be assessed on specific class presentations during the course which will form part of the participation and engagement grade.

Students will also be graded on their active and engaged participation during all Study Tours. Students will be expected to attend all activities on Study Tour and engage critically with all academic visits.

B: Short Written Assignments - 25%

These assignments are intended to enhance understanding of the required readings for class, enable students to better identify and analyse key concepts from the reading, and provide an opportunity for students to practice drafting arguments that can be used in the Final Project. The principal aim of these assignments, however, is to foster class discussion and collaboration, and all assignments must therefore be submitted onto the shared Discussion Board.

Students should draft the SWA after having completed the reading assigned for each class and having considered the other materials provided. Students are expected to submit a concise but fully formed response to the Reading Questions for each class. As a guideline each SWA should be between 400 and 600 words long.

In order to fulfil each SWA, students are also required to comment on at least one other submission. Comments should be drafted in such a way as to invite responses from other students, in order to foster class discussion. Students will only be able to read and comment on other submissions once they have submitted their own assignment. Having met the minimum requirement of submitting a SWA and commenting on one other, the SWA will be graded as complete.

In order to allow time for students to comment on their peer’s submissions and for a discussion to take place, each SWA must be uploaded to the Discussion Board by 20:00 Danish Time on the day before class.

C: Study Tour Reflective Journal - 20%

The Study Tour consists of a wide range of academic visits; we will hear from scholars, practitioners, politicians, journalists, and members of the Norwegian Muslim community. Each of the visits will engage with the themes of the course and, in particular, many of the speakers will address the rise of far-right political violence and the politics of radicalization and de-radicalization.

In order to maximize the learning outcomes and enable students to productively reflect on what is a busy itinerary of academic visits, each of you will be required to submit a ‘Study Tour Reflective Journal.’ In a similar vein to a travel diary, the purpose of the Reflective Journal is for you to record your impressions, structure your recollections, and highlight those elements of the Study Tour that best informed and enriched your understanding of the themes addressed in the Course.

Each student will be expected to comment on each of the academic visits in turn, although the time and space you allocate to each in the Reflective Journal is up to you. Students will not be expected to answer specific questions; like a diary, the format and style of the journal is a matter for you. The Journal is intended as a place to evidence your individual engagement and evolving understanding of the themes of the course. In order to be eligible for the higher grades students will therefore be expected to go beyond a mere descriptive summary of each academic visit and critically reflect on the links between the various academic visits and the themes of the Course.

The Reflective Journal is also designed as an active learning tool to enhance student’s engagement in the Study Tour itself. For example, if you have chosen to focus on a particular theme or set of questions in the Journal, and are thus highlighting each of the speakers position or viewpoint on that particular theme, then, with your next Journal entry in mind, you might choose to ask questions of a speaker that are related to that particular theme.

The Reflective Journal must be submitted in the form of a Word Document, and must be between 1250 and 1750 words long. In order to encourage students to reflect on each of the academic visits during the Study Tour, when they are fresh in your memory, the Journal must be submitted by 12:00pm on Monday 22 November.

D: Final Project - Video Presentation -  30%

Our commonly held understandings of ‘terrorism’ are largely formed by the images, messages, discourses and frameworks presented to us via an increasingly diverse media ecosystem. Usually, we only know about ’terrorism’ from what we see, hear and read in the media. So just how is the ’discourse of terrorism’ conveyed? How is ‘terrorism’ represented to us through the media? How are the various actors within the drama we call ‘terrorism’ depicted? What impact do those representations have on our individual understanding of the issue, and our collective societal and political responses to it?

For this assignment each student will be required to select a related series of media ‘stories’ that address their assigned ‘terrorist group’. The individual student will then submit a video presentation that analyses the various media pieces, setting out why they were selected, and critically situating them within the themes of the course.

The themes addressed in the first part of the course all speak to the broad question of the ‘discourse of terrorism’ to some extent; the critique of ‘terrorism as a discourse’, with a focus on the ‘political work’ or function that the discourse of terrorism undertakes in different geopolitical and historical contexts; the parallel investigations into ‘the history of the discourse of terrorism’ and ‘the history of political violence;’ the figure of the ‘terrorism expert’ and the political role of mainstream ‘terrorism studies;’ the ongoing debate over ‘the definition of terrorism’ and how the meaning ascribed to such an ‘essentially contested concept’ shifts over time; the various theories put forward to explain why people turn to political violence, or what causes ‘terrorism’, and how the distinction between understandings of ‘terror’ as a ‘tactic’ or the ‘terrorist’ as an ‘actor’ impact the representation of ‘terrorism.’

Students will be expected to critically situate their analysis of the selected media story within these various themes. Students may choose to focus on a single theme or conduct a more wide-ranging analysis that touches on a number of themes. For example, students may choose to examine the shifting language that is used to define their terrorist group over time and analyze the ‘politics of labelling’ that underpins those shifts, or students may examine how the history of that particular group informs the parallel investigations into ‘the history of the discourse of terrorism’ and ‘the history of political violence,’ or students may choose to engage in a more wide ranging analysis of the representation of their terrorist group that interrogates the discourses surrounding why that group engages in political violence, and whether their use of political violence is seen as a tactic or rather as an inevitable result of their status as terrorists.

The format for this Final Project is a video presentation. Students will be expected to use the Canvas Studio tool or other similar platform to produce a video ‘voice over’ including a series of slides and other materials that together constitute the presentation. The presentation should be a minimum of 15 minutes in length. The Final Project must be submitted on the assignment Discussion Board no later than 12:00pm on Tuesday 7 December.





Participation and Engagement    


Short Written Assignments (SWA)


Study Tour Reflective Journal


Final Project - Video Presentation


Study Tour:

The Study Tour is an integral part of the core course, as we take the classroom on the road and see how theory presented in the classroom is translated into practice in the field. You will travel with your classmates and DIS faculty/staff on a week long study tour around Denmark. 

 Expectations for study tours:

  • Participate in all activities
  • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives
  • Respect the destination, the speakers, DIS staff, and your fellow classmates
  • Represent yourself, your home university and DIS in a positive light

While on a program study tour DIS will provide hostel/hotel accommodation, transportation to/from the destination(s), approx. 2 meals per day and entrances, guides, and visits relevant to your area of study or the destination. You will receive a more detailed itinerary prior to departure.

Travel policies:

You are required to travel with your group to the destination. If you have to deviate from the group travel plans, you need approval from the program director and the study tours office.    

Classroom Policies:


Plagiarism and cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. Any assignment which shows evidence of either will receive an immediate fail. It is essential that you attribute all the ideas that you have borrowed. All students should familiarize themselves with the DIS Academic Honor Code.


Minor and infrequent lateness is occasionally unavoidable, but please enter the classroom quietly and with as little disruption as possible. Repeated or disruptive lateness will affect your participation grade.

Mobile phones and laptop computers:

Any and every use of mobile phones and laptops during class is strictly prohibited. If you use an electronic device during class your participation grade will suffer. The reason for this rule is simple, research has consistently shown that students who use laptops during class to take notes contribute less to class discussion and leave class having learnt less!

Academic Regulations:  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on: 


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due