Spring 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course, "America in the Age of Terrorism" is for doctoral (Ph.D.) students only. The course is limited to 12 students.
In "America in the Age of Terrorism" we will analyze developments in the foreign and domestic policies of the United States from 2001 to 2011. That is, we will focus on the period from the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 until the killing of Osama Bin Laden by "Seal Team 6" in mid-2011. We will analyze the events leading to the terrorist attacks, the U.S. response to terrorism, the debates over civil liberties and human rights, and the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But beyond probing the international policies of the George W. Bush administration, we will also want to look at what happened to U.S. society in what some have dubbed "the lost decade." In particular, we will look at the growing political polarization in the United States, the inept response to Hurricane Katrina, the deepening economic inequality, improprieties on Wall St., and the collapse of the economy in 2008 and the onset of the "Great Recession."
We will take a multi-disciplinary approach in this course. We will read primary and secondary-source materials, memoirs and novels, and view excerpts from a series of documentary and feature films such as "The Hurt Locker," "Fahrenheit 9/11," "Gunner Palace," "The Messenger," "Taxi to the Dark Side," "When the Levees Broke," "Inside Job," and "Shut Up and Sing."
Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States, The 9/11 Commission Report.
Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn, 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers.
Terry Anderson, Bush's Wars.
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone.
Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals.
Jon Krakauer, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman.
Susan Faludi, The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America.
Tom Perrotta, The Abstinence Teacher.
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom.
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City.
Diana Henriques, The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.
Robert Reich, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Faithful attendance at seminar sessions; vigorous and informed participation in seminar discussions; submission of a series (8-12) of short (1,250 words) papers based on assigned readings. Note: We will be staying until 9:45 p.m. each seminar session, because we will be viewing documentary and feature films in addition to discussing and analyzing the readings.