Course Syllabus

Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism

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Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism, elective course at DIS Stockholm

Semester & Location:

Fall 2023 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Elective Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

International Relations, Political Science

Faculty Members:

Hans Brun (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Program Director:

Neringa Vendelbo

Academic Support: 

Time & Place:

Tuesdays, 16:25 - 19:20

Classroom: 1E-509


Course Description

A study of terrorism – its causes, aims and forms – and the responses to it. This course offers a broad introduction to the concept of terrorism, focusing on the challenge posed by Al-Qaeda  and the measures introduced against it. Classes will rest on a combination of empirical and theoretical discussions.

Following 9/11, the issue of terrorism, if not terrorism itself, seems to be everywhere. Why is that? Is there anything in the current fight against international terrorism that we have not seen before? Is it “politics as usual,” or is there something qualitatively and quantitatively different about the present wave of terrorism (e.g., did the 9/11 terrorists unleash the Third World War as claimed by some?)? How do we fight it? What are the consequences of this fight for the international system as a whole and for individuals?


Learning Objectives

This course aims to introduce to the history, the objectives and “inner logic” of terrorists. It analyses the terrorism today, mainly represented by Al-Qaeda. Thirdly, it has an objective to discuss the possible counter-measures, taken within international as well as domestic settings.

Building on this, the course aims to provide students with the tools to assess the terrorist threat (or “threat”) and to critically analyze the ideal handling of it.



Hans Brun

PhD student at the Department of War Studies, King's College, London. His research is focused upon various aspects of counter-terrorism, asymmetrical conflicts, and intelligence based police. At the moment he is finishing his PhD thesis on the use of hard power policies in Northern Ireland during the troubles. Some of his latest publications are “A Neo-Nationalist Network: The English Defense League and Europe´s Counter-Jihad Network” (with Alexander Meleagrou- Hitchens, 2013) and “Terrorism Learning and Innovation: Lessons from PIRA in Northern Ireland” (with Magnus Ranstorp, 2013). He gives lectures on a regular basis in Sweden, Europe, and the United States for academics as well as professionals. With DIS since 2016.



  • Walter Laqueur, A History of Terrorism (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers 2002), pp. 3-20
  • Isabelle Duyvesteyn, “The Role of History and Continuity in Terrorism  Research”, in Magnus Ranstorp, ed., Mapping Terrorism Research (London: Routledge 2007)
  • David Whittaker, ed., The Terrorism Reader (London: Routledge 2001), pp. 3-13
  • Richard Jackson, Lee Jarvis, Jeroen Gunning, Marie Breen-Smyth ”ConceptualizingTerrorism”, in Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (Palgrave 2011), pp. 99-123
  • David Whittaker, ed., The Terrorism Reader (London: Routledge 2001), pp. 14-17
  • Christopher  Coker,  “Asymmetrical  Warfare: Ends  or Means?”,  in  John Olsen, ed.,Asymmetric Warfare (Oslo: Norwegian Air Force Academy 2002), pp. 319-340.
  • Ted Gurr, Why Men Rebel, (Princeton, NJ: PUP 1970), pp. 155-192
  • Noam Chomsky, 9-11 (New York, NY: Seven Stories Press 2001), pp. 39-57
  • Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (New York, NY: Modern Library 2003), pp. 113-119
  • John Esposito, Unholy War – Terror in the Name of Islam (Oxford: OUP 2002), pp. 26-41, 71-85
  • Leah Farrell, “How Al-Qaeda works, Foreign Affairs March/April 2011
  • Adam Dolnik, ”13 Years since Tokyo: Re-visiting the ”superterrorism” Debate”,Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. II, 2008
  • Thomas Biersteker, “Targeting Terrorist Finances: The New Challenges of Financial Market Globalization”, in Ken Booth and Tim Dunne, eds., Worlds in Collision – Terror and the Future of Global Order (London: Palgrave 2002), pp. 74-84
  • Lipman Report: “The Rising Tide of Cyberwarfare: Cyberterrorism and Cybercrime in a Climate of Heightened Global Risk and Economic Instability”, September 2009
  • Joshua Green: ”The Myth of Cyberterrorism”. The Washington Monthly, November 2002.
  • Jon Elster, “Motivations and Beliefs in Suicide Missions”, in Diego Ambetta, ed.,Making Sense of Suicide Missions (Oxford: OUP 2005), pp. 233-258
  • Barbara Victor, Army of Roses – Inside the World of Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers (London: Robinson 2004), pp. 19-34 and 98-123
  • Eileen McDonald, Shoot the Women First (London: First Estate 1991), pp. 199-230
  • Randi L. Buros, “Realism vs. Liberalism in the Development of Counterterrorism Strategy”, Small Wars   Journal, October 2011, 
  • Colin Gray, “World Politics as Usual after September 11: Realism Vindicated?”, in Booth and Dunne, eds., Worlds in Collision, pp. 226-241
  • Mary  Kaldor,  “Old  Wars,  Cold  Wars,  New  Wars,  and  the  War  on  Terror”,International Politics 42 (2005), pp. 491-498
  • Joseph Nye, Soft Power – The Means to Success in World Politics (New York, NY:
  • Public Affairs 2004), pp. 1-32
  • Kalevi Holsti, The State, War and the State of War (Cambridge: CUP 1996), pp. 82-97
  • Daniel Byman, Terrorism after the Revolutions”, Foreign Affairs, May/june 2011
  • Robert Rotberg, “The New Nature of Nation-State Failure”, The Washington Quarterly 25/3 (2002), pp. 85-96
  • Jennifer Windsor, “Promoting Democratization Can Combat Terrorism”, The Washington Quarterly 26/3 (2003), pp. 43-58
  • Fareed Zakaria, “Islam, Democracy and Constitutional Liberalism”, Political Science Quarterly 119/1 (2004), pp. 1-20
  • “Targeted Killing”, in Philip Heymann and Juliette Kayyem, Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terrorism (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2005), pp. 59-68
  • Daniel Byman, “Do Targeted Killings Work?” Foreign Affairs March/April (2006)
  • Richards Heuer, “Limits of Intelligence Analysis”, Orbis (Winter) 2005, pp. 75-94
  • The US National Security Strategy (2006)
  • The US National Security Strategy (2010)
  • The EU Security Strategy (2003)
  • Walter Mead,  “American Grand  Strategy  in  a World at Risk”, Orbis Fall (2005), pp. 589-598
  • Wyn Rees and Richard Aldrich, “Contending Cultures of Counterterrorism: Transatlantic Divergence or Convergence?”, International Affairs 81/5 (2005), pp. 905-923 
  • 'Philip   Heymann,   Terrorism,   Freedom   and   Security   –   Winning   Without   War
  • (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2003), pp. 158-179
  • Kenneth   Roth,   “The   Law   of   War   in   the   War   on   Terror”,   Foreign   Affairs January/February (2004).
  • Ruth Wedgwood and Kenneth Roth, “Combatants or Criminals? How Washington Should Handle Terrorists”, Foreign Affairs May/June (2004). 


Field Studies

Field studies serve to complement your course work by placing you in the professional field to extend and rethink what we read and discuss in class. Please be ready for each field study by completing readings (when these are assigned) and preparing questions in advance.


Guest Lecturers

See Course Summary below.


  • One term-paper of a length of about 2000 words
  • 2 shorter pieces of writing of 1200 words each leading up to the term-paper (one mandatory and one optional).
  • Engagement (attending classes, preparing the readings, considering “today’s question”, taking part in discussions, doing the “News Room”, keeping deadlines)
  • Presentation of a topic






45% (35% term paper and 10% short paper)







Academic Regulations  

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



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Course Summary:

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