International Relations

GOVT 85.27

Terrorism and Counterterrorism

Course Description:

Terrorism has long posed a security challenge to governments around the world, though for much of the last century, policymakers viewed it as a problem of secondary importance. In the last two decades, however, it has become a first tier issue with profound implications for global security and political stability. This course examine key aspects of this changing phenomenon, paying particular attention to the various kinds of organizations, movements and states that have employed terrorism as an instrument for advancing their goals; the different approaches toward violence that they have embraced; the motivations for turning to terrorism; the relative success that these approaches have achieved; and the fate of those who have used terrorist means. The characteristics of terrorist organizations and terrorist violence in any given period depend greatly on the approaches to counterterrorism that states employ. The course will also survey some of the different instruments for conducting a policy of counterterrorism and some of the different approaches nations have adopted toward their terrorist opponents.It is hoped that students will not only master the historical material and analytic perspectives under discussion but also become acquainted with the constraints under which policymakers work as they grapple with the terrorist challenge.

GOVT 85.44

Soldier, Army, State, War

Course Description:

This seminar examines the relationship between soldiers and societies in the production of violence in war. Adopting a "war and society" perspective, the course offers a curated view of classic and recent research from political scientists and historians on key questions in the conduct and legacies of war around the world. Questions include: Why do soldiers fight, and why do they run? Why do some armies reach the commanding heights of military effectiveness, while others disintegrate under fire? Why do some militaries rebel against their political leaders? What are the effects of battlefield deaths on the home front? How do societies memorialize their war dead? And does the rise of new technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence affect the relationship between soldiers, armies, and the societies that create them? Equal weight is given to non-Western and Western cases, ranging from imperial China and the Comanche Empire to the United States, Soviet Union, and the Islamic State. Similarly, the course takes an expansive look at war across the centuries, drawing on conflicts as distant as the Peloponnesian War to modern conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. Students will have the opportunity to explore these theoretical debates and will draw on primary documents, including soldiers' letters to the home front, in their assignments.