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Terrorism and Counterterrorism: Comparing Theory and Practice


Admission requirements

This course forms part of the minor Global Affairs and can thus only be followed as part of the minor or the track. The minor is accessible for bachelor students who have obtained their ‘propedeuse’ and have a keen interest in global affairs, but the level of teaching is most suitable for third-year students, particularly of Political Science, Public Administration, Law and International Studies. If there are any uncertainties about the suitability of your programme and profile to the minor, please do not hesitate to send an email to


Terrorism has arguable been one of the defining factors of our age. It frequently makes headlines, threatening or attacking governments, private businesses and ordinary citizens. In many parts of the world, it has even been one of the most prominent threats to peace, security and stability. But what does this mean exactly? What is the precise nature of this threat? Who or what is threatened, how, by whom and why? How can the impact of terrorism on society be limited and counteracted? These and many more questions will be addressed during the course.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • explain the notion of terrorism as an instrument to achieve certain goals

  • describe and discuss the difficulties and importance of definitions of terrorism

  • outline the most prominent studies on terrorism

  • use theoretical notions and practical examples to demonstrate an understanding of critiques to counterterrorism as well as the essence of terrorism.


This course will take place from October 27th till November 28th 2014. In those five weeks, the course will meet once or twice a week; the exact dates and times have yet to be decided upon.

Mode of instruction

This course will employ a flipped classroom methodology, which entails students studying a series of video lectures with in-video quizzes at home as preparation for the classes. Each of these videos will focus on a specific core question within terrorism studies. Furthermore, the class sessions will consist of class discussions, guest lectures and visits to relevant actors in the field of (counter)terrorism.

Assessment method

In-video quizzes (20%)
Final exam (80%)

Please note: Active participation in at least: one online post, one question and one peer-review assignment is mandatory and required before entering the final exam


No – Coursera platform will be used.

Reading list



Students register for the minor and the course in Usis.

Contact information

Prof.dr. Edwin Bakker:


This course can only be taken as part of the Global Affairs minor.