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Extremism in a Global Context (5 ECTS)


Admission requirements

  • Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course. This 5 ECTS equivalent of the course is only open to students with permission from the study advisors to follow this course as part of their personal study plan.


There is an urgent need to provide a clear assessment of the threat of violent extremism from an Islamist perspective but it is also important to ensure that students appreciate the rich historical, political and sociological issues within complex, interdependent, global societies. This course provides a comprehensive overview of the concept of political Islamism – from its historical origins to contemporary questions related to Islamist extremism across the world today. This includes exploring Islamism within the South Asia and MENA region and within the Western European context, where various ethnic minority communities are concentrated. It also permits a focus on issues of migration, diaspora and transnationalism. This course provides students with specific literature review skills relating to searching, sorting, prioritising, synthesising and evaluating scholarship. These transferable skills will support research that student will eventually undertake, it will introduce them to the current state of the field, identifying key concepts, theoreticians, publications and arguments. It also permits students to position their own work within the wider academic discipline. The understanding of Islamism will support students' intellectual as well as professional understanding, permitting students to apply the skills they have attained in the world of work as security excerpts, social researchers, policy analysts or specialist civils servants.

Course Objectives

This course engages with traditional notions of Islamism and political Islam and interrogates widespread presuppositions, perceptions and popular images of terrorists and the threats they pose, with a particular emphasis on the learning objectives of evaluating research through the review of literature. Students are expected to be equipped with the requisite tools to understand terrorism through sophisticated theoretical engagement with Islamism locally and globally.

After finalizing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand, based on advanced knowledge, sociological knowledge of terrorism and political Islam.
  2. Identify and apply key theoretical frameworks and methodologies to analyse how and why Islamism is sustained in a conceptually and methodological rigorous manner.
  3. Explore and analyse competing sociological and political science approaches to understanding Islamism and Islamist extremism.
  4. Explain and analyse the evolution of the debate on political Islam, particularly in the post-war period in both the Global North and the Global South.
  5. Critically study, search, sort, prioritise, synthesise and assess the body of knowledge on terrorism and political Islam, including a clear conceptual framework, a comprehensive account of relevant literature and assessment of its quality, a discussion of fundamental debates and gaps in knowledge, including a succinct synopsis and to present the results of this individual research project in the form of a written academic report (the literature review).
  6. Self-evaluate and reflect after interactive in-class work and individual assignments.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of Instruction

This course will combine lectures with interactive seminars. These will take place twice a week.

Assessment method

For this 5 ECTS course, the assessments are different compared to the 10 ECTS equivalent. Please consult the lecturer.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


by OSC staff.


Dr. Tahir Abbas