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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Terrorists, Tyrants and Technology: America's War on Terror

This course will explore the historical background to the terrorist attacks which occurred in the United States of America on September 11, 2001, and the foreign policy response referred to as the War on Terror.

George W. Bush
George W. Bush

In order to contextualise the attacks, this module will cover the role played by the Reagan and G.W.H. Bush administrations (1981-1993) in Afghanistan, in particular the funding, training and equipping of Mujahideen fighters. It will also explore the emergence of Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network, the reasons behind his declaration of jihad against the United States, and the policies pursued by the Clinton administration (1993-2001) to counter this threat.

The module will then critically analyse the G.W. Bush administration's response to the 9/11 attacks, and the scholarly arguments that surrounded the launching and prosecution of the War on Terror. Students will be given the opportunity to work from primary documents such as National Security Strategies and key presidential speeches, as well as critically analysing the arguments put forward by a variety of scholars for and against the policies of the War on Terror.

Throughout the module, students will consider the challenges that face scholars when dealing with the recent past. They will learn to identify political bias, recognise the ideological underpinnings of scholarly arguments, and develop an awareness of the wider agendas of the War on Terror that still persist today.


Date: Wednesday evenings, starting 30 January 2013
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Duration: 12 meetings

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