Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice

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Opleiderscore: starstarstarstar_borderstar_border 6,3 Coursera heeft een gemiddelde beoordeling van 6,3 (uit 4 ervaringen)

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About this course: Terrorism has arguably been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private business and ordinary citizens. And in many parts of the world, it has been one of the most important threats to peace, security and stability. But what does this exactly mean? What is the nature of this threat? Who or what is threatened, how, by whom and why? What can be done about it or how can we at least limit the impact of terrorism and make sure that terrorists do not make headlines and manage to scare us? These are just a handful of questions that will be addressed in this course that consists of three parts. First it …

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Terrorism has arguably been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private business and ordinary citizens. And in many parts of the world, it has been one of the most important threats to peace, security and stability. But what does this exactly mean? What is the nature of this threat? Who or what is threatened, how, by whom and why? What can be done about it or how can we at least limit the impact of terrorism and make sure that terrorists do not make headlines and manage to scare us? These are just a handful of questions that will be addressed in this course that consists of three parts. First it focuses on the essence of terrorism as an instrument to achieve certain goals, in addition to an exploration of this phenomenon and the difficulties in defining it. The second part provides an overview of the state of the art in (counter) terrorism studies. Since ‘9/11’ terrorism studies have grown exponentially, reflecting the rise in perceived threats. But what has academia come up with? What theories, assumptions and conventional wisdom has it produced that could be of help in understanding terrorism and dealing with it? The most interesting results are examined and compared with empirical evidence with the aim to either stress their importance or to debunk them as myths. The final part looks into the implications and possibilities for policy making. The course ends with a module specifically designed to address one of today's most topical issue: the foreign fighter phenomenon.

Who is this class for: This course is free, and will remain free for participants. You can purchase a certificate.

Created by:  Universiteit Leiden
  • Taught by:  Edwin Bakker, Prof. dr.

    Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University
  • Taught by:  Jeanine de Roy van Zuijdewijn, drs.

    Institute of Security and Global Affairs, Leiden University
Level Beginner Commitment 30 hours of videos, quizzes, and projects Language English, Subtitles: Spanish, Ukrainian, French How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.7 stars Average User Rating 4.7See what learners said Coursework

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Universiteit Leiden Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia. Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It was founded in February 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of Leiden after they had withstood a long siege by the Spanish. Our motto is: Praesidium Libertatis — Bastion of Liberty.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Welcome & the essence of terrorism



In this module, you can find all the information you need in order to be able to successfully complete the course. After you have familiarised yourself with the course, we move to the content of week 1. You will learn about the definition of terrorism. What exactly is terrorism? Who and where are its victims? After completing this module, you will understand why it is so difficult to arrive at a generally accepted definition of this term.


8 videos, 6 readings expand


  1. Video: Welcome to the Course!
  2. Reading: Meet the team & Leiden University
  3. Reading: Course Overview
  4. Reading: Course Format
  5. Reading: What do we expect from you
  6. Reading: Don't forget to check out the extra material!
  7. Reading: Readings
  8. Video: 1.1 Introduction
  9. Video: 1.2 History of Terrorism
  10. Video: 1.3 Use of the Word Terrorism
  11. Discussion Prompt: Defining Terrorism
  12. Video: 1.4 Why There Are No Generally Accepted Definitions
  13. Video: 1.5 Need For a Definition: Some Attempts
  14. Video: 1.6 Essence of Terrorism
  15. Video: Interview with Prof. Alex Schmid about Defining Terrorism

Graded: Definition and Essence of Terrorism
Graded: Peer Reviewed Assignment 1: Definition of terrorism

WEEK 2


Researching Terrorism and Counterterrorism



In this module, you will learn more about terrorism and counterterrorism studies. It is a relatively new field of study that owes much to research in related disciplines. You will get an overview of where the key centres and scholars are located. Also, you will understand the three main approaches that are used in this academic field and recognize their strengths and weaknesses.


6 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Reading: Readings
  2. Video: 2.1 History of Terrorism Studies
  3. Video: 2.2 Disciplines & Approaches
  4. Video: 2.3 Key Authors & Centres
  5. Reading: Key Authors
  6. Discussion Prompt: Terrorism studies: biased?
  7. Video: 2.4 Challenges & Dilemmas
  8. Video: 2.5 Current State of the Art
  9. Video: Interview with Akinola Olojo about the Lack of Non-Western Researchers in Terrorism Studies

Graded: Researching Terrorism and Counterterrorism

WEEK 3


5 Assumptions on Terrorism



The subject of terrorism often falls prey to unfounded assumptions. Media, politicians, but also scholars frequently make far-reaching claims about this topic, such as the notion that terrorism is caused by poverty. In this module, we will critically investigate some of these assumptions to see if they are indeed true, partly true, false or perhaps even a myth (a widely held belief that is nevertheless still false).


5 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Readings
  2. Video: 3.1 Assumption: Terrorism is caused by poverty
  3. Video: 3.2 Assumption: Terrorists are crazy
  4. Video: 3.3 Assumption: Terrorism is increasingly lethal
  5. Video: 3.4 Assumption: Terrorism is predominantly anti-western
  6. Discussion Prompt: Anti-Western and foreign fighters?
  7. Video: 3.5 Assumption: Terrorism is successful

Graded: 5 Assumptions on Terrorism

WEEK 4


5 Assumptions on Counterterrorism



In this module, we will continue the work of module 3 and look into five assumptions on counterterrorism. It is highly relevant to keep investigating assumptions that underlie CT-policy, both from an effectiveness perspective (is it really countering terrorism?) but also because these policies often have a large impact on societies and might also have unintended consequences.


7 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Readings
  2. Video: 4.1 Assumption: One can recognise a terrorist
  3. Video: 4.2 Assumption: Deradicalisation is possible
  4. Discussion Prompt: Deradicalisation or disengagement
  5. Video: 4.3 Assumption: Decapitation of terrorist organisations works
  6. Video: 4.4 Assumption: Terrorism cannot be defeated
  7. Video: 4.5 Assumption: Terrorism can best be managed by a holistic approach
  8. Video: Interview with Dr. Jamie Shea (NATO)
  9. Video: Video presentation of Quirine Eijkman of Amnesty International on Drone Strikes in Pakistan

Graded: 5 Assumptions on Counterterrorism
Graded: Peer Reviewed Assignment 2: 11th assumption

WEEK 5


Dealing with Terrorism and the Future



After having tested these assumptions, we will make up the balance sheet. What are some of the remaining “un- and underresearched” topics in (counter)terrorism studies? We will also explore the concepts of fear management and resilience. Finally, we will look into the future of terrorism: what can we expect in the years to come?


6 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Reading: Readings
  2. Video: 5.1 Past Weeks & This Week
  3. Video: 5.2 Underresearched Topics
  4. Video: 5.3 Fear and Resilience
  5. Video: 5.4 Fear and Impact Management
  6. Discussion Prompt: Impact management and resilience in your country
  7. Video: 5.5 Future of Terrorism
  8. Video: Phil Gurski - Intelligence Analysis

Graded: Dealing with Terrorism and Future of Terrorism

WEEK 6


Making Headlines Today - Foreign Fighters



The final module of this course will look into a highly topical and politically sensitive issue of today: foreign fighters. Since the beginning of the civil war, high numbers of foreign fighters have joined the struggle, including many from Western countries. In this module, we will see who these people are and why they are going. Also, we will discuss to what extent these fighters pose a threat and which policy options are available to address this phenomenon.


6 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Reading: Readings
  2. Video: 6.1 Why is it Making Headlines?
  3. Video: 6.2 Foreign Fighters in Syria: Who are They and Why do They Go?
  4. Video: 6.3 Fighting Groups in Syria and Iraq
  5. Video: 6.4 Foreign Fighters: A Threat?
  6. Video: 6.5 Policy Options
  7. Discussion Prompt: Foreign fighters
  8. Video: Interview Phil Gurski - Western Foreign Fighters
  9. Reading: Want to learn more?

Graded: Foreign Fighters
Graded: Final Exam

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