GGH310 Geography of Terrorism

for FA 2011

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


GGH 310 Geography of Terrorism


FA 2011 HO


Fox, David P.


Assistant Professor of Geography


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

Office Location

Findlay-Wakefield Science Hall (SC), Room 004

Office Hours

--T-R-- 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, or by appointment

Daytime Phone



Web Page

Semester Dates

August 15 - December 9

Class Days


Class Time

11:00 - 11:50 AM (SC-005)



Credit Hours



REQUIRED: Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty, by Stuart Elden, University of Minnesota Press (2009).
ISBN: 978-0-8166-5484-0
REQUIRED: Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America, by Harm deBlij, Oxford University Press, (2005).
ISBN: 9780195315820
Additional reading material that is available for free online may also be assigned.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

See the Webliography page in the course eCompanion website ( for extended-learning resources that may be posted throughout the semester. 

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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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 to encourage student engagement by using a variety of learning opportunities.  Readings, lectures, demonstrations, discussions, internet resources, videos, writings, group activities, field work, mapping, Socratic seminars, quizzes, and examinations are common activities that may be utilized.  My goal is to create a positive, interactive, challenging, engaging, lively, and even potentially confusing (believe it or not) classroom environment.  But my success in doing so is largely dependent upon you.  Your willingness to engage in all learning opportunities, think critically, ask questions, and share your knowledge and perspectives is ultimately what will make this a meaningful course.
We will be exploring the issue of terrorism through the lens of geography.  In order to do so, it will be necessary to help you develop a much broader and deeper understanding of this often over-simplified discipline.  Contrary to common misperceptions, Geography as an academic pursuit is not about memorizing locations on a map or regurgitating endless lists of trivia about places.  While knowing such "facts" may be a part of geographic literacy, it is NOT the ultimate goal of the discipline--far from it!  Thus, we will examine many of the core concepts of this highly interdisciplinary field of study and its numerous contributions and applications to helping us explain, understand, cope with, and hopefully solve many of our world's most pressing issues.  

Finally, you should also be aware that this course is designated as a Multicultural Liberal Learnings (MLL) course.  Please read the following webpage to better understand and appreciate the nature of MLL courses at Park:  This course has been designed to help you develop knowledge and skills needed to achieve the university's General Education literacies.  Furthermore, as required by the LL program, this course requires completion of at least one major paper 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:

Discussions:  You are always expected to participate in any class discussion activities.  On at least 8 unannounced occasions, you will be evaluated on the basis of your participation in these important learning activities.  Usually this will require making a written summary of your thoughts and reactions to the material being discussed.  Some discussion activities may require use of the eCompanion website outside of the regular class period.  Discussion activities must be completed on the day they given and may not be made up unless you have provided appropriate documentation for an excused absence for the class session (such as participation in an approved university event).  Note: All students will be allowed ONE opportunity to complete an "extra credit" assignment, which will count as the equivalent of a discussion activity.

Assignments:  Two homework assignments will be given during the course of the semester and will be due on the dates indicated in the course schedule (below).  These assignments are primarily intended to reinforce student learning of one or more of the Core Learning Outcomes.  Specific requirements and instructions for each assignment will be made available to students in the course eCompanion website and discussed in class during the semester.

Exams:  Three exams will be given during the regular course of the semester.  Each exam may consist of multiple choice, true/false, matching, short answer, map, or short essay questions.  The final exam will include some questions that are comprehensive in nature.
Case Study Research Paper (Core Assessment):  One 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.  A detailed description of this assignment will be available in the Doc Sharing page of the course eCompanion website:


Discussions (8 @ 2.5% each)
Assignments (2 @ 7.5% each)
Exams (3 @ 15% each)
Paper/Core Assessment (1 @ 20%)
The course grade is determined by weighting the number of points earned for each assessment based on the above percentages.  Final grades will be based on the following percentage cutoffs:
100-90% = A
89-80% = B
79-70% = C
69-60% = D
59-0%= F

Late Submission of Course Materials:

All assessments (assignments, exams, etc.) are expected to be fully completed and submitted by the announced due date and time.  Any work completed and/or submitted after the announced deadline may not be accepted for grading.  The instructor reserves the right to determine whether or not late work will be accepted and how much of a grade reduction penalty is appropriate depending upon the rationale for the student's lateness and whether or not he/she appropriately notified the instructor in advance of the deadline (or as soon as reasonably possible in the event of an emergency/unforeseen circumstance) with any appropriate documentation that may be requested by the instructor for verification purposes.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Make class time your first priority.  Arrive on time and do not leave early unless you have an emergency situation.

Treat fellow students and the instructor with RESPECT.  Disruptive or disrespectful behavior toward another student or the instructor will not be tolerated.  (This includes holding off-topic conversations or using a computer for non-related course activity during class time.)  The offending student(s) will be asked to leave the classroom for the remainder of the period and will not be allowed to make up any assessments yet to be completed during the missed class time.  Repeated occurrences of such behavior will be grounds for further administrative action as allowed by the Park University student code of conduct. 

Contribute to an atmosphere conducive to learning.  Phones or other electronic devices must be either turned to the silent mode (vibrate only) or OFF in the classroom.  If you do receive notice of an emergency call (other than during an exam), quietly leave the classroom.  Talking on a phone during class is prohibited.  During an exam, ALL phones and electronic devices must be turned OFF and put completely away.  ANY use of such equipment during an exam will result in a ZERO for the assessment.

All students will be held accountable for any material presented or discussed in class or through assigned readings.  It is the responsibility of the student to obtain all materials and information missed during a class session, regardless of whether or not the absence is excused by the instructor.  Failure on the part of the student to acquire missed information will not excuse the student from questions over that material on any assessment activity (quiz, exam, assignment, etc.).
You will be expected to use the eCompanion website for the course:  Some assignments/activities may be required to be completed online either during or outside of the regularly scheduled class time.  Students are expected to notify the instructor in advance of the due date of any questions or concerns accessing or using this technology.

You are expected to be responsible for planning ahead and meeting deadlines in spite of any technological problems that may be encountered.  Therefore, computer problems will NOT automatically be considered grounds for having late work excused.  Be sure to save copies of your work OFTEN and in multiple locations for backup purposes. 
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, plagiarize.  Always respect the university's policies on academic honesty and freedom.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Aug 15-19
Defining Terrorism
Aug 20-24
deBlij Ch. 1 - Why Geography Matters
deBlij Ch. 2 - Reading Maps and Facing Threats
Aug 29-Sep 2
deBlij Ch. 5 - A Future Geography of Human Population
deBlij Ch. 6 - The Mesh of Civilizations
Sep 5-9
No class Sep 5 (Labor Day)
deBlij Ch. 8 - Terrorism's Widening Circle
Sep 12-16
deBlij Ch. 9 - From Terrorism to Insurgency
Exam #1 - Sep 16
Sep 19-22
Elden Ch. 1: Geographies of Fear, Threat, and Division
Assignment #1 - Sep 22
Sep 26-30
Elden Ch. 1: Geographies of Fear, Threat, and Division
Oct 3-7
Elden Ch. 2: Territorial Strategies of Islamism
Oct 10-14
No classes (FALL BREAK)
Oct 17-21
Elden Ch. 3: Rubble Reduced to Dust: Targeting Weak States
Oct 24-28
Elden Ch. 3: Rubble Reduced to Dust: Targeting Weak States
Exam #2 - Oct 28
Oct 31-Nov 4
Elden Ch. 4: Iraq: Destruction and Reconstitution
Assignment #2 - Nov 4
Nov 7-11
Elden Ch. 5 - Territorial Integrity and Contingent Sovereignty
No class Nov 11 (Veterans' Day)
Nov 14-18
Elden Ch. 5 - Territorial Integrity and Contingent Sovereignty
Nov 21-25
deBlij Ch. 11 - Russia: Trouble on the Eastern Front
No class Nov 25 (Thanksgiving)
Nov 28-Dec 2
Research Paper (CA) Presentations
Paper (CA) - Nov 28
17 (Finals)
Dec 8
Monday, 10:15 - 12:15
Final Exam - Dec 8

Additional reading material that is available for free online will be assigned to supplement the assigned textbook chapters.

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93
Students will receive a ZERO (i.e., NO CREDIT) for any assignment that has violated the Academic Honesty and Plagiarism policies in any way. In addition, the student may be reported to the Dean for any additional disciplinary action that is deemed appropriate by the university.

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. 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".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

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: .


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Last Updated:8/3/2011 2:36:29 PM