Reading and Composition in History- A History Of Terrorism: From the French Revolution to Osama Bin Laden

History R1B.003

Spring 2013
Day & Time: 
TuTh 2-330
  • This course does not count for credit toward the History Major but may fulfill other requirements.
  • Terror has proved a fixation for the last decade in American politics. We will delve beneath the contemporary media glare to unearth the origins of global terrorism as a political tool and an ideological representation. This course will explore a slippery concept that has no fixed definition and appears as everything from a mechanism of state power during the French Revolution to the desperate last resort of isolated radicals in Tsarist Russia and Meiji Japan.  We will also consider the degree with which terrorism and the media are interdependent, opening up to the broader question of whether terrorism is a specifically modern phenomenon. 

    The aim of the seminar is to develop critical reading and writing skills. The class will be writing intensive and satisfies the second half of Berkeley's Reading and Composition requirement. In the first half of the semester, students will undertake short writing assignments – responding to the readings or analyzing particular archival sources - to develop their expository and analytic writing skills. In the second half of the semester, students will produce an 8 and a 10 page research paper using several sources and we will critique each others work in class. By the end of the course, students will have learned how to assess source material and use it to construct historical arguments. Through the development of critical reading skills and writing techniques, students will learn to take positions on the broad historical issues addressed in the class.