GGH310 Geography of Terrorism

for SP 2008

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GGH 310 Geography of Terrorism


SP 2008 HO


Fox, David P.


Assistant Professor of Geography


(PhD student Geography, University of Kansas)
MA Geography, University of Missouri-Columbia
BA Geography, University of Missouri-Columbia

Office Location

Findlay-Wakefield Science Hall (SC) 003B

Office Hours

MWF 9:00-10:00 AM; TR 10:00-11:30 AM; and by appointment

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

Jan. 14 - May 9, 2008

Class Days


Class Time

8:45 - 10:00 AM

Credit Hours



Cutter, Susan L., Douglas B. Richardson, and Thomas J. Wilbanks (editors).  2003.  The Geographical Dimensions of Terrorism.  New York: Routledge.  ISBN: 0-415-94642-5.


Despite the title of the above book, there is not currently a true "textbook" available that suits the exact nature of this course. Therefore, I have decided to also immerse you in several of the key documents produced by the United States governmental agencies which are now annually reporting on the status of terrorism around the world.  These documents are available for download (at NO charge!) from websites.  In addition, a "reading list" of selected journal and magazine articles that are available online will also be assigned.  Links and information on accessing the assigned readings for each week will be made available on the course eCompanion page as the course progresses (

Examples of additional required readings include:
National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Report on Incidents of Terrorism 2006 - available at
U.S. Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 - available at

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
This is an in depth study of terrorist groups and members in order to understand their origins and goals. The course will discuss the structure of terrorism in America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin American, and the Middle East and the current approach to counterterrorism. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

"Education must, then, be not only a transmission of culture but also a provider of alternative views of the world and a strengthener of the will to explore them." -- Jerome S. Bruner
"Education is the art of making [humans] ethical." -- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

My educational philosophy is one of interactiveness based on lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, and writings.  My goal is to create a positive, interactive, challenging, engaging, lively, and even, at times, confusing (believe it or not) classroom environment.  But my success in doing so is largely dependent upon you--your willingness to engage in class discussion, to ask questions, to share your opinions and knowledge from other learning experiences.  I believe that education is most effective when approached as a process during which the teacher and students share equally in contributing to the learning that takes place.  Rather than being the "sage on the stage" or a "fountain of wisdom" (neither of which I am), I will attempt to guide, encourage, and facilitate your learning.  Therefore, you will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss, debate, reflect on, analyze, evaluate, and question the readings and other class material every bit as much as I am.  Put simply, I believe that you will get out of this class what you put into it.
As a Multicultural Liberal Learnings (MLL) designated course, this class is intended to:
  • Confront the student with a learning experience above the sophomore level in areas outside the major,
  • Aid students to become more aware of this world and themselves,
  • Develop within students a concern for contemporary issues and assist them to understand these issues and make informed judgements about them,
  • Focus on a contemporary problem(s) or theme,
  • Give consideration to a multi-disciplinary perception of the issue or theme, and
  • Stimulate the intellectual life of the student. 
Furthermore, as required by the LL program, this course requires completion of at least one major paper (research, journalistic, or creative writing), or an artwork, or an artistic performance and includes multicultural or global dimensions.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Name and identify on maps the location of current “hotspots” of terrorist activity.
  2. Identify and describe the basic characteristics of regions with common occurrences of terrorism or terrorist activity.
  3. Analyze the root causes of terrorism using a geographic perspective.
  4. Evaluate terrorism and its impact on the global community.
Class Assessment:

Learning Activities:  Various unannounced activities done in-class, such as written responses to readings or class discussions, group activities, videos, etc.  NOTE: Can ONLY be made up if you have requested and been granted an excused absence.

Briefings: You will be asked to prepare 2 "briefings" on the geographical dimensions of selected terrorist groups (or another selected topic with the approval of the instructor), such as primary base of operations, target areas, underlying social, economic, and/or political situations contributing to the group's purpose, etc.  Ideally, the terrorist groups you select for each briefing should be active within the country you have chosen for the Core Assessment, since these assignments are intended to help you prepare for that project.  Each briefing should consist of 3-4 pages (750-1000 words) of written summary/analysis, plus at least one map (created by you) of one of the aspects of the group's geography.  Your written work should conclude with your own perspectives, opinions or predictions about the group--take a stand, make a call, issue a warning, get our attention!  Your briefing should be well-researched but succinct, and you must include a works cited list with proper citations of your sources at the end.
Exams: Midterm and Final exams will be given as scheduled below.  Each exam will consist of a combination of various types of questions, most often including multiple choice, matching, true/false, map, short answer, and essay.  Be advised that there is no make-up if you miss the Final exam session as indicated in the academic calendar for the semester.
Core Assessment: Case Study Research Paper - An 8-10 page (2000-2500 word) paper applying the Core Learning Outcomes of the course to the study of terrorism within a particular country.  You will be asked to select a country to use for your case study by the second week of class.  You will be required to make a 4-6 minute presentation as a part of the Core Assessment grade.  A detailed description of this assignment is provided in the "Attachments" section below. 


Learning Activities (approx. 10 @ 2% each)
Briefings (2 @ 10% each)
Midterm and Final Exams (20% each)
Core Assessment: Case Study Research Paper

Final grades will be based on the following scale:
A = 100-90%
B = 89-80%
C = 79-70%
D = 69-60%
F = 59-0%

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Credit for Learning Activities is awarded to those who are present for the class period it took place.  ONLY students who requested and were granted an excused absence by the next class period following the absence will be allowed to make-up a missed learning activity. 

Assignments submitted at any time after the class period on the announced due date will be subject to 10% penalty for each day they are late.  If you have requested and been granted an excused absence by the instructor for a class period during which an assignment is due, then you must submit the work by the alternate date arranged with the instructor.  Failure to do so may also result in a 10% deduction per day after the alternate due date.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

The following rules of conduct always apply:

1) Demonstrate respect for yourself, your classmates, and your instructor at all times--even if you do not agree with their ideas or opinions.

2) Contribute to an atmosphere conducive to learning by eliminating distractions, especially from electronic devices (laptops, cell phones, iPods, etc.--i.e., turn them OFF!) or off-topic conversations with others.

3) Attend class, participate in discussions and activities, and encourage others to do so as well.

4) Arrive on time for class and do not leave early unless you have notified the instructor; also, notify the instructor promptly if you intend to make a request for an excused absence.
5) Communicate early and often with the instructor about any questions, concerns, or problems related to the course.

6) Keep your sense of humor.

7) NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, plagiarize.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

A reading list will be available in the course eCompanion page ( 
Formal assessments will take place on the following dates:
Feb. 14 - Briefing #1 due
Mar. 6 - Midterm Exam
Mar. 27 - Briefing #2 due
Apr. 22-24 - Core Assessment presentations
May 8 - Final Exam (8:00-10:00 AM)

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  3. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  4. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  5. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  6. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  7. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Core Assessment Case Study Paper Instructions


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Last Updated:1/15/2008 1:35:31 AM