As early as in 1996, Usama bin Laden declared that his aim was to directly affect the lives of ordinary Americans in terms of human and economic costs, as well as to initiate a global insurgency against infidel regimes. More than 10 years later, and in light of the current global economic recession, this goal seems to be finally in reach. While the number of acts of terrorism has slightly diminished since September 11th 2001, their intensity and scope throughout the world have become unprecedented. Whether through taking a flight or filling their gas tanks, citizens of the United States are being affected daily by the specter of a global insurgency. In the last 10 years, international “terrorism” has mutated from a being a cluster of exclusive organizations to a grass-root dogma that possesses a global reach. How did it come to this and what role did mass communication play in all this? How did al-Qaeda become ‘al-Qaedism’, an ideological franchise that Usama bin Laden himself would have been unable to stop from spreading if he ever had chosen to?
This online course will assess the systemic nature and globalization of insurgencies in terms of the mass communication used by groups to grow, self-sustain, recruit militants, spread their identity and elicit support from their target audience. This will be facilitated by the analysis of five political insurgency networks: the Lebanese Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, the Iraqi insurgency, and several State zionist groups that contributed to the creation of the State of Israel. The course will prepare students to think analytically about terrorism and insurgency, and use various models of mass communication to understand their dynamics and processes. At the end of the course, the students are expected to have a sound knowledge of the field of mass communication applied to terrorism and insurgency.
- Professor: Victoria Fontan