Understanding Terrorism: A Social Science View on Terrorism

Over the last 25 years, much of the research on terrorism has been accomplished without rigorous adherence to analytical frameworks. This series of three modules will trace the history of religious terrorism scholarship, introducing you to Social Identity Theory (SIT) and demonstrating how this particular scholarly approach within social psychology can provide nuance, depth, and rigor to your studies of religious terrorism. The first two modules will focus on explaining and exploring SIT itself, while the final modules take a closer look at the phenomenon we refer to as “religious terrorism.” By applying the analytical framework of SIT to different historical and contemporary religious terrorist groups, this course offers students of homeland security and terrorism studies a new understanding of group and individual dynamics within a covert environment.

Course syllabus:

  1. A Brief Overview of Terrorism Studies

  2. What is Social Identity Theory?

  3. Religious and Theologically Motivated Terrorism