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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Fall 2009


Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

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 to emphasize the role of Islam in suicide terrorism's emergence and spread. The general purpose of this 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 the 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 21st-century.

Grading Policy

Three short essays (30% each) 90%; class attendance 10%.


Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, Understanding Terror Network, and Terrorism and Homeland Security (Hardcover), Thomson Wadsworth.


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