Elective: Terrorism: Philosophical Perspectives

Course description Elective: Terrorism: Philosophical Perspectives
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 5182KEL17
Teacher(s):
  • Dr. H.W. Sneller
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 10
Level: 300
Period: Semester 2, Block III, IV
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Terrorism, being most often discussed from political or juridical viewpoints, can also be approached as a philosophical and a psychoanalytical topic. This class will address several alternative perspectives on terrorism, without pretending to be exhaustive. We will study two main philosophical strands: one philosophical-historical (Horkheimer/Adorno’s Critical Theory), one philosophical-psychoanalytical (Melanie Klein). The first strand will shed light on the itinerancy of Modernity and its highly ambiguous outcomes, both for the Western world and for the world at large (i.e. liberation and new forms of oppression). The second strand will focus on the mindset of terrorists in light of child psychology. Melanie Klein was one of the few psychoanalysts to take seriously Freud’s disputed ideas about an innate ‘death drive’ in human nature. We will explore the analytical virtues of several key notions in Klein’s work, such as love, guilt, reparation, envy, and gratitude. For a literary matrix references to Homer’s Odyssee and Aeschylus’ Oresteia will be used.

Additionally, the students will work through:

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.

Collaboration skills:

1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.

Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:

1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.

Written presentation skills:

1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminars are held every week, with the exception of the midterm exam week. This course includes supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 10 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 28 hours
  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing weekly assignments (8 hours per week): 75
  • Completing assignments: 52 hours
  • Writing the final research essay (including reading / research): 125 hours

Assessment method

Assessment & Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Course attendance and participation 10%
Weekly assignments 30%
Final research essay (5,000 words) 60%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average. Weekly course participation is mandatory. Missing more than 3 class meetings will exempt from course completion.

Resit

Students who have been active participants in class and submitted the final paper on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to a resit. For the resit, students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the final paper.
In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the maximum possible obtainable final grade for the essay will be a 6.0. The deadline for resubmission is 10 working days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2017 – 2018.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used for tutorial groups. Students are requested to enroll on Blackboard for this course, but only after correct enrolment in uSis.

Reading list

Required reading:
  • Max Horkheim/Theodor Adorno, Dialektik der Aufklärung. Philosophische Fragmente, 1944 (trans. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Philosophical Fragments, Stanford 2017)
  • Melanie Klein, Love, Guilt and Reparation, and Other Works 1921-1945, New York, The Free Press, 1975f.
  • Melanie Klein, Envy and Gratitude, and Other Works 1946-1963, Vintage 1988, 1975f.
  • Jalil Roshandel/Nathan Lean, The Moral Psychology of Terrorism. Implications for Security, Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2013.
Students are demanded to read for themselves, by way of introduction to the course:
  • Homer, Odyssee
  • Aeschylus, Oresteia (I. Agamemnon, II. The Libation Bearers, III. The Eumenides)
  • Most literature will be made available on the library’s course reserve shelf.

  • W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis can be found here.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

Dr. H.W. Sneller

When contacting the lecturer, please include your full name, student number and tutorial group number.

Remarks

A global working-knowledge of modern philosophy is required. Being familiar with some basic psychoanalytical concepts (Oedipal complex, Id-Ego-Superego, Unconscious, Repression, Sublimation, etc.) is helpful.
The deadline for submission of the final essay is 15 June 2018.
Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar.

Languages