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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Fall 2005

GOV 365N • Suicide and Terrorism

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37773 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
PAR 303

Course Description

Course number may be repeated for credit when topics vary. Suicide terrorism in its modern form appeared in the early 1980s. The first organization to use this strategy was the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon. Later, it was adopted by many organizations in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. The fact that the majority of these organizations were either Arab or Muslim led many scholars emphasize the role of Islam in suicide terrorisms emergence and spread. The general purpose of the class is to reassess the root causes of suicide terrorism at elite, community and rank-and-file levels. It will juxtapose the role of religion, and specifically Islam, in generating suicide terrorism, which is represented by the cultural approach, with coercion theories, power struggle explanations and social networks approach. It will also address the perplexing question of whether suicide terrorism is an unbeatable weapon that will ultimately threaten the existence of all or most political regimes in the twenty-first century.

Grading Policy

3 short essays (30% each) 90% Class attendance 10%


Mia Bloom, 2005. Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror. Columbia University Press. Robert Pape, 2005. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Random House. March Sageman, 2004. Understanding Terror Networks. University of Pennsylvania Press.


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