Liberalism and Transnational Terror
Prof. Stephen Holmes
(Spring term, 2003)
Office Hours: 10-12 Wednesday
Vanderbilt Hall 506
This seminar will focus on the challenges to liberal theory and practice posed by the emergence of transnational terrorist networks, difficult to detect and deter, with access to weapons of mass destruction and the capacity to bring them clandestinely into major U.S. urban centers. Liberal institutions did not evolve to handle such a problem. Liberal theory did not emerge in response to such a threat and was never forced to face it before 9/11. Much discussion has been devoted to incursions into civil liberties and the emergence of a national surveillance system rationalized by the needs of counter-terrorism. But the challenge to liberalism posed by transnational terrorism goes far beyond civil liberties and the right to privacy. It also impinges, for example, on open borders, unregulated markets, freedom of worship, freedom of the press, checks and balances and civilian control of the military. The purpose of the seminar will be to explore the intellectual and psychological origins of the current crisis and to formulate plausible strategies for sustaining core liberal principles compatible with the needs of national security in the new and extremely dangerous international environment.
The principal requirement for the seminar is a 30-page research paper on a topic to be decided in consultation with the instructor.
Barry Rubin and Judith Culp Rubin (eds.) Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East (Oxford)
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror (Random House)
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political
Michael Walzer, Revolution of the Saints
V.S. Naipaul, Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey (Vintage)
Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God: The Islamist Attack on America (Granta)
January 21: Introduction to the Seminar (reading circulated by email: “Liberalism in the Mirror of Transnational Terror”)
January 28: Terrorism and Liberal Values: “The National Security Strategy of the United States” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html); Timothy Lynch, “Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Preserving Our Liberties While Fighting Terrorism” (http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-443es.html); “A Year of Loss: Reexamining Civil Liberties since September 11” (http://www.lchr.org/us_law/loss/loss_report.pdf); Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, pp. 219-255.
February 4: Rubin and Rubin (eds.) Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East, pp. 7-41; 135-183; 229-277.
February 11: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, pp. 1-215.
February 18: Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror, pp. 256-446.
February 25: Rubin and Rubin (eds.) Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East, pp. 77-133; 185-227; 317-350.
March 4: Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political
March 11: V.S. Naipaul, Among the Believers, pp. 1-203.
March 25: V.S. Naipaul, Among the Believers, pp. 203-430.
April 1: Michael Walzer, Revolution of the Saints, pp. 1-147.
April 8: Michael Walzer, Revolution of the Saints, pp. 148-320.
April 15: Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God, pp. 1-134.
April 22: Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God, pp. 135-291.