U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of Terrorism

History 103D.002

Spring 2018
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
F 10-12
Class Number: 

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush asked: “Why do they hate us?” His answer was “they hate our freedoms.” Some scholars agreed, arguing that Osama bin Laden and his ideological predecessors hated secular, democratic, materialist Western culture. Other scholars have argued that bin Laden, while a security threat, was also a rational actor waging an insurgency against specific U.S. policies in the Middle East that bin Laden repeatedly condemned. In this course we will ask: Why did bin Laden perpetrate the September 11th attacks? How did his views emerge? How have American foreign policy makers applied U.S. power in the past, both in North America and around the world? How have ideas about the application of U.S. power changed over time? How have people resisted U.S. power? What effect has that resistance had on them, U.S. policy, and world history? To investigate these questions we will read primary and secondary sources focused on twenty- and twenty-first century issues, but also studying American power since the colonial period.