Political Science | September 11: Before and After
Y200 | 8960 | Barbour
It is trite to say that September 11 has changed our world forever,
but of course it has. It has changed for all of us, but for those of
you in college it will no doubt prove to be the sort of “defining
moment” that your grandparents found in the Great Depression and
World War II, and your parents in Kennedy’s assassination, the civil
rights movement, the Vietnam War, and even Watergate. Defining
moments shake our core beliefs about the world, challenge our views
about government, and drive us to reevaluate the role we want to
play. Given the impact that this will have on all of our lives, it
is essential that we understand these events, their context, and
their consequences not just as patriotic or angry Americans, but also
as informed citizens and scholars.
In Y200 – September 11, Before and After, we offer you an
unprecedented opportunity to learn about the history and future of
America’s war against terrorism from a team of thirteen political
scientists. By borrowing from all of our varied areas of expertise,
we can teach this course together in a way that none of us could
accomplish alone. We will cover many different aspects of the war
including some or all of the following:
• The historical global context: twentieth century mass
killings and ethnic strife, what constitutes a world war?
• The regional conflicts that make the Middle East a powder
keg: the tortured history of Afghanistan, the tension between the
Palestinians and the Israelis, the volatile relationship between
India and Pakistan.
• American foreign policy toward the Middle East: the remnants
of the Cold War, our need for oil, the Persian Gulf War, and our
alliance with Israel.
• The Islamic religion and the Muslim people: where extremists
like Osama bin Laden fit into the picture, why so many people in the
world hate Americans.
• Terrorism: what it is and how it differs from war.
• September 11, 2001: what happened.
• The American political response: the trials of an untested
president, bipartisanship in Congress, our diplomatic and military
response, growing national power in a federal system.
• Living with the war: American public opinion -- boosters and
critics, the trade off between security and civil liberties, racial
profiling, the draft, the role of the media,
• The philosophical issues: the meaning of patriotism, the
future of freedom, what does it all mean for the “American way of
The class is offered for three hours of credit. It meets twice a
week in large lecture format, and once in a smaller discussion
section. Twice during the semester there will be midterm exams given
during the lecture hour on Friday. On those two weeks, the
discussion section will not meet.
Grades in the class will be based on attendance (10 percent), two
midterms and a final (20 percent each), participation in discussion
section (10 percent), four written exercises (five percent each).
Auditors and visitors are welcome, and may sit in the back two rows
of Woodburn Hall 100.
The contact professor for this course is Professor Christine Barbour
firstname.lastname@example.org. Other professors teaching one or more
lectures include Professors Jack Bielasiak, Aurelian Craiutu, Judy
Failer, Henry Hale, Iliya Harik, Jeff Hart, Marjorie Hershey, Jeff
Isaac, Michael McGinnis, Jean Robinson, Dina Spechler, and Gerald