Accessibility statement

Terrorism & Counterterrorism - POL00040H

« Back to module search

  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Chris Featherstone
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

This course critically analyses violent terrorist and counterterrorist practices, from suicide bombing, to drone warfare and surveillance, investigating the context of particular case studies, as well as the discursive practices of framing political violence in particular ways.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

The module considers a wide range of questions in order to provide students with an understanding of the nature and the political and social implications of terrorist and counterterrorist violence today. In particular, the module explores the complex interplay between the terrorist threat and governmental and international responses, introducing students to both theoretical analyses of how terrorism is framed and defined, as well as to empirical case studies of terrorist groups, activities and operations. The module seeks to encourage students to think critically about the following questions: What is terrorism? How is terrorism different to other forms of political violence? What role do gender and race play in our understanding of terrorism? What are the challenges faced when trying to prevent or end terrorist violence? How do terrorism and counterterrorism interlink?

Module learning outcomes

Knowledge of key theoretical and empirical developments in the literature on terrorism and counter-terrorism (PLO1)

The ability to think critically and originally about fundamental concepts in the field of terrorism and counter-terrorism studies (PLO2)

The ability to engage critically with the literature on terrorism and counter terrorism, providing comments, critiquing established explanations and proposing additional, original perspectives and hypotheses (PLO2)

Draw on theoretical and empirical material to analyse counter terror policy and to propose recommendations (PLO4)

Reflect on previous knowledge and experience, and principles to critically assess different perspectives regarding terrorism and counter terrorism (PLO6).


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
Policy Report
N/A 60

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 40
Policy Report
N/A 60

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days after submission; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor's regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Breen Smyth, Gunning, Jeroen, Jacson (ed.), Critical Terrorism Studies – An Introduction, 2008

Richard English, “Change and Continuity across the 9/11 fault line: Rethinking twenty-first century responses to terrorism”, in Critical Studies of Terrorism 12 (1), 2019

Keatinge, Keen, Kayla “Fundraising for Right-Wing Extremist Movements: How they raise funds and how to counter it”, The RUSI Journal 164 (2), 2019

Crenshaw Martha, Terrorism in Context, 1995

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.