Writing and Critical Thinking: Terrorism (Extremism) and Modern Society (Fall)



SCHOOL/ DEPARTMENT: International Relations and Law Department
LEVEL OF STUDY: Undergraduate / Graduate
COURSE TITLE: Writing and Critical Thinking: Terrorism (Extremism) and Modern Society
LECTURER: Ella Gorian, Associate Prof., PhD in Law

Coursework Breakdown      


ECTS Credits            




Laboratory / workshops



 Total (1 ECTS = 36 hrs.)






Learning Outcomes
After completion, students should be able to:

  • to gain insight and familiarity with the national and the international mechanisms for counteraction to terrorism (extremism)
  • to gain critical understanding of the causes of vulnerability and the factors contributing to behavior (triggers) of social groups vulnerable to the ideology of terrorism (extremism)
  • to identify risks factors
  • to apply the writing and analytical skills learnt in academia to public discourses and spaces of debate

General Skills

  • to develop ability to apply principles and generalizations already learned to new problems and situations
  • to develop analytic skills
  • to develop problem-solving skills
  • to develop ability to draw reasonable inferences from observations
  • to develop ability to synthesize and integrate information and ideas
  • to develop ability to distinguish between fact and opinion
  • to develop an informed concern about contemporary social issues
  • to develop a commitment to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship
  • to develop an informed appreciation of other cultures
  • to develop capacity to make informed ethical choices
  • to develop ability to work productively with others
  • to develop management skills
  • to develop leadership skills


The problem of terrorism (extremism) is one of the most suitable for the development and improvement of Writing and Critical Thinking skills. The core questions that will be discussed include:

  • globalization and the global terrorist conflict: grounds and main features
  • the terms “extremism” and “terrorism” in the scientific literature and legal acts (both national and international)
  • reasons, types and factors of terrorism (extremism) in a modern society (economy, technological progress, migration, religion, etc.)
  • forms of manifestation of terrorism (extremism) nowadays (case study from the media, literature, cinema)
  • media and terrorism (extremism)
  • social groups vulnerable to the ideology of terrorism (extremism) (causes of vulnerability, factors contributing to behavior (triggers))
  • counteraction of civil society to terrorism (extremism) (case study from the media, literature, cinema)



When preparing for the classes, it is necessary to read the literature offered to develop arguments and counterarguments for participation in oral discussions, to work out a draft observation of student’s position and constructive criticism of the positions of the authors and/or legal acts. One of the important forms of work is a peer-review of another student’s written work with subsequent evaluation of the author’s arguments, the logic of his narrative, the impartiality when rejecting the arguments of opponents.

The peculiarity of the course is a familiarization with the texts of legal documents (both national and international) and comparison of the approaches of the law-makers to the definition of the concepts of “extremism” and “terrorism”. Special attention should be paid to the positions of European countries (France, UK) and the United States in defining “extremism” as illegal activity. Students are invited to analyze the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights concerning complaints against Russia on the application of anti-extremist legal acts. Comparative legal method will help to understand the specific features of legal culture and understand how the society values can help or, on the contrary, will counteract the elimination of terrorism (extremism).


Recommended Book and Journal Article Resources:

  1. American Extremists: Militias, Supremacists, Klansmen, Communists & Others / John George; Laird Wilcox. Prometheus Books, 1996
  2. The Extreme Right: Freedom and Security at Risk / Aurel Braun; Stephen Scheinberg. Westview Press, 1997
  3. Into a World of Hate: A Journey among the Extreme Right / Nick Ryan. Routledge, 2004
  4. Inside Terrorist Organizations / David C. Rapoport. Columbia University Press, 1988
  5. Against Islamic Extremism: The Writings of Muhammad Said Al-'Ashmawy / Muhammad Said Ashmawi; Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban. University Press of Florida, 1998
  6. The Neo-Nazis and German Unification / Rand C. Lewis. Praeger, 1996
  7. The Extremists / Mark Sherwin. St Martin's Press, 1963
  8. The Politics of Unreason: Right Wing Extremism in America, 1790-1970 / Seymour Martin Lipset; Earl Raab. Harper & Row, 1970
  9. Encyclopedia of Modern Worldwide Extremists and Extremist Groups / Stephen E. Atkins. Greenwood Press, 2004
  10. Encyclopedia of Modern American Extremists and Extremist Groups / Stephen E. Atkins. Greenwood Press, 2002
  11. Valerie L. Greenfeld, Backyard Jihad: How Parents Can Detect the Invisible Treat of Radicalization. Phoenix, AZ: Jones Media Publishing, 2018, 250 pp.
  12. Michael Kimmel, Healing from Hate: How Young Men Get Into - and Out of - Violent Extremism. Berkeley CA: University of California Press, 2018, 280 pp.
  13. Alan B. Krueger, What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism [10th Anniversary Edition] Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018, 232 pp.
  14. Nir Arielli, From Byron to bin Laden: A History of Foreign War Volunteers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018, 304 pp.
  15. Louise I. Shelley, Dirty Entanglements: Corruption, Crime, and Terrorism. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014, 386 pp.
  16. James Windle, John F. Morrison, Aaron Winter, and Andrew Silke (Eds.), Historical Perspectives on Organized Crime and Terrorism. New York, NY: Routledge, 2018, 208 pp.
  17. David L. Altheide, Terrorism and the Politics of Fear [Second Edition] Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefeld, 2017, 288 pp.
  18. Paul Lauritzen, Te Ethics of Interrogation: Professional Responsibility in an Age of Terror Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013, 227 pp.
  19. Eli Berman, Joseph H. Felter, and Jacob N. Shapiro, with Vestal McIntyre, Small Wars, Big Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2018, 408 pp.
  20. Paul Moorcraf, The Jihadist Treat: The Re-Conquest of the West? Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, UK: Pen & Sword/Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2016, 256 pp.
  21. Greg C. Reeson, Stalemate: Why We Can’t Win the War on Terror and What We Should Do Instead. Lanham, MD: Government Institutes/An Imprint of Te Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2011, 242 pp.
  22. Haley Duschinsky, Mona Bhan, Ather Zia, and Cynthia Mahmood (Eds.), Resisting Occupation in Kashmir. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018, 312 pp.


please email your
applications here:


Mon-Thu: 8:30 - 17:30
Fri: 8:30-16:15

Ella Gorian (Ms.)

Associate Prof., PhD in Law

Mon-Thu: 8:30 - 17:30
Fri: 8:30-16:15