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Spring 2022 Advanced Programs - Advanced Programs Online - International and Area Studies

[IAS 5940] Topics - International Studies - 493

Bruce Barnes

Course Description

Topics in International Studies: Afghanistan in Conflict

The 9/11 terrorist attacks upon the United States by al Qaeda marked the starting point of the current conflict in Afghanistan. While much of the world’s focus has been on the West’s difficult endeavor to defeat the Taliban and eradicate al Qaeda, it is easy to forget that Afghanistan has experienced conflict and foreign invaders for almost 2,500 years. Alexander the Great, Arabs, Mongols, the British, Soviets and now America have all invaded Afghanistan at some point but failed to hold influence or achieve their long-term goals. Within this context, are we simply adding another chapter to the story of “Afghanistan in conflict?”.


This course will study Afghanistan – including its history, geography, people and their lives – to better understand why this region has known centuries of conflict. We will also look closely at impact the Taliban movement and al Qaeda have had following the disastrous Soviet-Afghan War. The ever increasing problems of opium production and corruption associated with the trafficking of heroin will be studied within the context of a larger, criminalized economy that causes social instability. Students will seek to appreciate the ongoing security situation, the continuing nature of the threat and options for the future of Afghans. We will seek answers to how the conflict has shaped this generation of Americans and their foreign policy.

Course Dates

DatesJanuary 10 –March 20, 2022
Last day to enroll or drop without penaltyDecember 12, 2021

Site Director

This is a three-credit hour online course. Please see your local Site Director or email our online site coordinator at

Professor Contact Information

Course Professor:Lieutenant Colonel Bruce P Barnes (RCAF, retired)
Virtual Office Hours:By appointment
Professor availability:The professor will be available via email to students during the above listed Virtual Office Hours and other methods by arrangement.

Textbook(s) and Instructional Materials

Student materials are available at the OU Bookstore Website at The website has book selling, renting, buying, returning, and order tracking capabilities. If you need help with an order, or if you have any questions contact the toll-free phone at 1-(855)-790-6637, agents are available from 9a – 5p (EST) Monday – Friday. Text prices are available online.

Materials posted on the OU Canvas learning management system: Access Canvas at, enter your OU NetID and password, and select course to access material. If you require assistance with Canvas, please click on the Help icon. You can search the Canvas guides, chat with Canvas support, or contact OU IT.

Our Latest Longest War : Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan
Our Latest Longest War : Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan
by O'Connell, Aaron B.
Published by University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226598567
The Fighters : Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq
The Fighters : Americans in Combat in Afghanistan and Iraq
by Chivers, C. J.
Published by Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781451676662

OU Email

All official correspondence from instructors will be sent only to students’ address. 

Course Objectives

1.      Understand Afghanistan’s history, geography, people and their lives;

2.      Analyze why this region has known centuries of conflict;

3.      Examine various facets of the ongoing conflict;

4.      Determine the ongoing effects on United States and its traditional NATO allies; and

5.      Seek to appreciate the ongoing military situation, the nature of the threat and options for the future of Afghans.

Course Outline

This on-line course will combine traditional aspects of the liberal arts with lectures and assigned readings. To continue developing research and critical writing skills, activities including weekly readings and written assignments will be performed.

The course will follow a series of 8 lectures with associated readings. Audio lectures (45 min approx. length) and lecture slides will be available for download from the Canvas course webpage. These lectures are entitled:

1.      History of Afghanistan

- review of ancient, medieval and recent history, identify past trends and seeds of conflict, and discuss lengthy history as a zone of conflict

2.      The Land and People

- country study, description of resources, discuss the varied culture, ethnic make-up, and review demographic details, tribal nature

3.      Invasion – the Soviet Years

- identify reasons for the Soviet invasion, the lasting legacy of Soviet occupation, and review the nature/extent of US involvement

4.      The Taliban and Al Qaeda

- understanding the nature & polices, effect of extremism on Afghans, and determine why Taliban still exists today

5.      Illegal Narcotics, Corruption and Conflict

- review history of narcotics in Afghanistan, identify how widespread corruption is

6.      Western Intervention

- 9/11 as a source of conflict in Afghanistan, understanding the conflict, how the West intends to support the Afghan government

7.      US Policy and American Public Opinion

- discuss US policy towards Afghanistan, ways that US policy contributes to conflict, and how has the American public opinion evolved?

8.      2014 and Beyond

- examine the recent challenges for Afghan government. Can Afghans break the cycle of conflict?

Assignments, Grading and Due Dates

Detailed assignment instructions will be made available to students on the Canvas course webpage one month prior to the first class.



This is a letter-graded course: A, B, C, D, or F.

Notice: Failure to meet assignment due dates could result in a grade of I (Incomplete) and may adversely impact Tuition Assistance and/or Financial Aid.

Attendance Policy

In addition to interaction via Canvas and email contact, students are required to contact the instructor via email or telephone before the beginning of the course term for an initial briefing. Although physical class meetings are not part of this course, participation in all interactive, learning activities is required.

Student assignments and student/instructor communications will be conducted via Canvas, although students may contact the instructor via telephone, postal mail, email, or fax as needed

Policy on Late Assignments

Please contact the professor regarding his/her policy for late work.

Incomplete Grade Policy

A grade of “I” is not automatically assigned, but rather must be requested by the student by submitting to the instructor a “Petition for and Work to Remove an Incompleted Grade” form. An “I” can never be used in lieu of an “F” nor can an “I” be assigned because of excessive failure to participate in class activities.

Technical Support Information

If you experience technical problems, contact Information Technology by visiting their website at: or contacting them by telephone at: (405) 325-HELP (4357).


Attendance/Grade Policy

Attendance and participation in interaction, individual assignments, group exercises, simulations, role playing, etc. are valuable aspects of any course because much of the learning comes from discussions in class with other students. It is expected that you attend all classes and be on time except for excused emergencies.

Excused absences are given for professor mandated activities or legally required activities such as emergencies or military assignments. It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. Unavoidable personal emergencies, including (but not limited to) serious illness; delays in getting to class because of accidents, etc.; deaths and funerals, and hazardous road conditions will be excused.

If you are obtaining financial assistance (TA, STAP, FA, VA, Scholarship, etc.) to pay all or part of your tuition cost, you must follow your funding agency/institution’s policy regarding “I” (Incomplete) grades unless the timeline is longer than what the University policy allows then you must adhere to the University policy. Students who receive Financial Aid must resolve/complete any “I” (Incomplete) grades by the end of the term or he/she may be placed on “financial aid probation.” If the “I” grade is not resolved/completed by the end of the following term, the student’s Financial Aid may be suspended make the student ineligible for further Financial Aid.

Students are responsible for meeting the guidelines of Tuition Assistance and Veterans Assistance. See the education counselor at your local education center for a complete description of your TA or VA requirements.

OU faculty will submit grades online through ONE not later than 30 days after the course end date. Course end dates are approximately one calendar month after the final seminar date on this syllabus and are provided on the official scheduling website for reference.

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct 

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship. Academic assignments exist to help students learn; grades exist to show how fully this goal is attained. Therefore all work and all grades should result from the student's own understanding and effort.

Academic misconduct is any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement. Misconduct occurs when the student either knows or reasonably should know that the act constitutes misconduct. Academic misconduct includes: cheating and using unauthorized materials on examinations and other assignments; improper collaboration, submitting the same assignment for different classes (self-plagiarism); fabrication, forgery, alteration of documents, lying, etc…in order to obtain an academic advantage; assisting others in academic misconduct; attempting to commit academic misconduct; destruction of property, hacking, etc…; intimidation and interference with integrity process; and plagiarism. All students should review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at 

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. All students should review policies regarding student conduct at 

Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to making its activities as accessible as possible. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact your local OU Site Director.

Adjustment for Pregnancy/Childbirth-Related Issues

Should you need modifications or adjustments to your course requirements because of documented pregnancy-related or childbirth-related issues, please contact the professor as soon as possible to discuss. Generally, modifications will be made where medically necessary and similar in scope to accommodations based on temporary disability. Please see

Title IX Resources

For any concerns regarding gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate partner violence, the University offers a variety of resources, including advocates on-call 24/7, counseling services, mutual no-contact orders, scheduling adjustments, and disciplinary sanctions against the perpetrator. Please contact the Sexual Misconduct Office at or (405) 325-2215 (8-5), or the Sexual Assault Response Team at (405) 615 -0013 (24/7) to report an incident. To learn more about Title IX, please visit the Institutional Equity Office’s website at 

Course Policies

Extended Campus (also and formerly known as Advanced Programs) policy is to order books in paperback if available. Courses, dates, and professors are subject to change. Please check with your OU Site Director. Students should retain a copy of any assignments that are e/mailed to the professor for the course. Neither duplicating services nor office supplies are provided.

Any and all course materials, syllabus, lessons, lectures, etc. are the property of professor teaching the course and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and are protected under applicable copyright.

For more information about OU Extended Campus, visit our website at:

Statement on Respect

The classroom should provide a safe learning environment where students can express their views without fear of reprisal. That freedom of expression must be balanced by demonstrated respect for other’s viewpoints and appropriate and reasonable sensitivity, especially within the context of scholarly disagreement.  Disrespectful or uncivil dialogue (including, but not limited to, personal attacks, insults, or harassment) will not be tolerated.

Recording Devices/Phones/Computers

It is important for students to be fully present during class to fully benefit from lectures, discussions, and experiential assignments. Class sessions may not be tape-recorded. All telephones and pagers should be turned off or placed on silent mode. Computers may not be used during class. Students who require an exception to this policy should discuss exceptional circumstances with the professor.


Lieutenant-Colonel Bruce P Barnes, Royal Canadian Air Force


·        2008 US Air Force Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama

·        2007 MA (War Studies) Royal Military College of Canada, Kingston, Ontario

·        1989 BA (History) York University, Glendon College, Toronto, Ontario

Current Positions

·        OU College of International Studies lecturer since 2008

·        OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies lecturer since 2009

·        OU College of Liberal Studies lecturer since 2011

Frequently Taught Courses at OU

·        IAS 5940 Topics in International Studies: EU, NATO and European Security

·        IAS 5940 Topics in International Studies: Afghanistan in Conflict

·        IAS 5940 Topics in International Studies: Western Hemispheric Security

·        IAS 5940 Topics in International Studies: International Terrorism

·        IAS 5940 Topics in International Studies: Modern Statecraft

·        IAS 5960 Independent Directed Reading: Post-Cold-War Security Studies

·        LTSD 5970 The Citizen as Soldier

Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest

·        Modern European / North American Security Issues

·        Post-Cold War Governance Systems

Representative Publications and Presentations

·        MA Thesis: “Fighters First: The Transition of the Royal Canadian Air Force 1945-1952”

·        Royal Canadian Air Force Command Doctrine B-GA-401 (2012 and 2017)

·        Royal Canadian Air Force Journal (numerous articles)