Credit points: 15

Subject outline

In this subject students explore the origins and historical development of terrorism. From the People's Will to Al Qaeda, we will provide a survey of the most significant movements that have engaged in terror. In the subject we will emphasize the importance of ideas and chart the significance of anarchism, revolutionary socialism, national liberation and religious extremism. Particular attention will be paid to primary texts from influential exponents of violence, including Sergei Nechaev, Frantz Fanon and Carlos Marighela. Students will debate the problems of developing a meaningful definition of terrorism; investigate the ideas and material conditions that have given rise to various forms of political violence; consider the challenge of formulating an effective and just response to terrorist attacks; and locate modern terrorism in a broad, comparative historical perspective.

SchoolHumanities and Social Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorRoland Burke

Available to Study Abroad/Exchange StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Available as ElectiveYes

Learning ActivitiesAssimilation of relevant weekly subject reading, and activist engagement in tutorial debate and dialogue. Written assessment should also be informed by an awareness of the complexity of the problems of definition. Visual texts will be used alongside conventional historical texts in lectures.

Capstone subjectNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites 60 credit points of level 2 subjects or coordinator's approval


Incompatible subjectsHIS3ATF OR HIS2ANA

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Quota Management StrategyN/A

Quota-conditions or rulesN/A

Special conditionsN/A

Minimum credit point requirementN/A

Assumed knowledgeN/A

Career Ready


Work-based learningNo

Self sourced or Uni sourcedN/A

Entire subject or partial subjectN/A

Total hours/days requiredN/A

Location of WBL activity (region)N/A

WBL addtional requirementsN/A

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

Graduate Capabilities

Intended Learning Outcomes

01. Locate the phenomenon of modern terrorism and insurgency in comparative historical perspective, across a wide range of historical, political, and cultural contexts.
02. Understand the problems of developing a meaningful definition of terrorism, informed by history, philosophy, and law.
03. Demonstrate a comprehension of the ideas that have led to the adoption of terrorism and related forms of violence in a variety of contexts.
04. Capacity to prepare and complete a substantial historical research project, supported by evidence and an awareness of competing arguments and views.
05. Evaluate historical questions raised in weekly subject readings and lectures, and formulate arguments and hypotheses based in evidence and specific examples.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne (Bundoora), 2021, Semester 1, Day


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorRoland Burke

Class requirements

LectureWeek: 10 - 22
One 2.00 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via video conference.

TutorialWeek: 10 - 22
One 1.00 hour tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementCommentsCategoryContributionHurdle% ILO*

One 1400 word reflective essay Detailed in subject guide; involves synthesis of course themes.

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo35 SILO1, SILO2, SILO3, SILO4, SILO5

One 2000-word research essay Detailed in subject guide; entails preparation of an argument informed by extensive independent research.

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo50 SILO1, SILO3, SILO4, SILO5

One 600-word essay proposal and bibliography Detailed in subject guide; an preliminary task designed to assist in formulation and development of the essay, and initial familiarization with conventions of history writing and research.

N/AAssignmentIndividualNo15 SILO1, SILO3, SILO4, SILO5