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University of Oklahoma

Spring 2022 Advanced Programs - Advanced Programs Face to Face or Virtual - International and Area Studies

[IAS 5940] Topics - International Studies - 220

Joseph Martinelli

Course Description

Topics in International Studies: Terrorism in Africa

This course is a graduate-level introduction to the terrorism groups that operate on the continent of Africa. There are highly diverse and complex terrorist groups that influence the local populations that operate on the African continent. These terrorist groups and individuals pose a challenge to the African organizations that have been organized to address the terrorist threat throughout the continent. The key drivers and trends of the major terrorist groups that have impacted the continent and have posed a national, a regional and a continental threat in Africa.  The course covers an orientation to African terrorist groups and the spread of their ideology and influence that continue to plague the continent of Africa.  This course will concentrate on the various terrorist groups that populate and operate in Africa, to include Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Tuareg, Al Qaida, smaller terrorist groups operating in Africa and the most recent group to infiltrate the African continent, the Islamic State Iraq and Syria (ISIS). As a terrorist group encounters resistance, they find their way to Africa for a haven to flourish and operate. The efforts of the international community as well as the African nations, the African Union and the African Regional Communities to combat the presence of terrorism will be examined in this course. Students will have an opportunity to focus on a terrorist group in depth and present their findings to the class during the course.

Class Dates, Format, Location and Hours

DatesMarch 15-20, 2022
FormatVirtual; Course to take place via Zoom and Canvas.
Location for on-site coursesPanzer Strasse, Army Education Center, Bldg. 2915, 4th Floor, Room 402B, Panzer Kaserne, 71032, Boblingen, Germany
HoursMarch 15-18, Zoom Synchronous, 6-9 pm CET/March 19, Asynchronous 9 am to 5 pm CET/March 20, Zoom Synchronous 1-5 pm CET
Last day to enroll or drop without penaltyFebruary 14, 2022

Site Director

Name: Ms. Lowell Tilden
Office address/location:Panzer Strasse, Army Education Center, Bldg. 2915, 4th Floor, Room 402A, Panzer Kaserne, 71032, Boblingen, Germany
Office hours:Monday – Friday 9:30am – 5:00 p.m.
DSN and CIV phone:DSN: 596-3304 or CIV: 49-(0)9641-70-596-3304

Professor Contact Information

Course Professor: Dr. Joseph Q. Martinelli, Colonel USAF (ret.)
Mailing Address: Harvard Divinity School
45 Francis Avenue
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138
Telephone Number: 202-870-9929
Email Address:
Professor availability:The professor will be available via zoom and email to students before and after the class sessions.

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.

All student materials are available on Canvas and there will be no books and no material to purchase

The students will access through Canvas to electronic material. 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.

E-Book Link: A link to the book (you will not purchase this book) will be provided via Canvas. Portions of the book, by page numbers, will be listed on Canvas (not the entire book).

ebook 1: Why Men Rebel, Gurr, TR., 2015

ebook 2: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Africa: Fighting Insurgency, Soleman, H., 2015


Articles/Videos: Listed under each day. Related to the African terrorist operations, terrorist groups and African efforts through the African Union and the African Regional Communities.  The links to articles and videos will be provided on canvas.


This course does not use books

Course Objectives

The spread and growth of terrorism on the continent of Africa has increased in recent years. The African and international efforts to maintain and restore stability to the area of influence exerted by the terrorism organizations, homegrown and imported, will be examined through the scholarly articles and books as required readings as well as the opportunity to work in a group setting to examine a terrorist group operating in Africa. The research paper will be the final opportunity for each student to focus on a terrorist group or the response of an African organization or nation to the terrorist activities. This course provides a basic understanding of the geographic, historical, social, cultural, religious, economic, political and military factors affecting the situation in Africa from a terrorist perspective to include government organizations, non-governmental organizations and social movements.  There will be an examination of how African nation-states have utilized the collectivize resources and power to pursue terrorism eradication through a continental and regional approach as well as individual nations The African-perspective of terrorism will enhance awareness of the world of terrorism in Africa, making speed of decision making and analysis important to understand for the IR student. The dynamics of African interests in the 21st Century and the African response highlight the need for such a course as it relates to the challenges of the African Union, regional organizations, and nations in addressing terrorism in Africa.


Course Outline

**Pre-Class Assignment: Since this is a zoom, synchronous, course hybrid with online, asynchronous, on day 5, it is best to complete as many of day 1-4 readings in advance. Please be sure to have read each day’s readings prior to the actual zoom class. I am giving you all day Saturday to compete the day 5 readings so we can discuss on day 6, before the presentation period. All readings are either ebook or links to articles and videos, all links located on canvas.

Video Links:

Day 1, Tues. Mar 15

Video: Terrorism on African Soil

Day 4, Fri. March 18

Video: Inside Al Shabaab Training Camp

Day 5, Sat. Mar 19

Video 1: Boko Haram Series

Video 2: War Against Boko Haram

Video 3: How Islamic Militant Groups are Gaining Strength in Africa

Video 4: Africa: Islamic State's next frontier

Students are responsible for thoroughly reading assigned material before class that will aid in their ability to facilitate substantive and meaningful discussion during the class period. Readings are assigned from books and articles that will be posted on Canvas for student use.  

Assignments, Grading and Due Dates


Class Participation: Daily contribution & Attendance (active class participation) (25 Points)

 – In-class discussion via zoom is an important part of a graduate level education. Students must complete all readings before each session. Since tis is a hybrid zoom and online class, it is best to complete the majority of the readings prior to the start of the class. (See Canvas for assignments and note readings on Canvas as a pre-assignment). The instructor will assign each student a participation grade based on the student’s level of participation, attendance and preparation.  This course is conducted in a zoom lecture/seminar format, which is designed for faculty-student informed interaction as the primary means to inculcate the material. The class will consist of oral discussion(s) on assigned readings and an individual presentation/class material that requires strategic level reflection on that session’s readings and key concepts.


Student Group Presentation (Assigned for final day of class) (35 Points): -Each student will have an opportunity during each class period from day 1 through day 5 to work toward the final presentation during day 6. Presentations will be no longer than 10 minutes inclusive of the presentation. Since this zoom, each student will be assigned a portion of the presentation and the grade will be individual, not group. and answer and questions period. The students will use a individual presentation with a group setting. Since this is zoom a zoom presentation, I realize that you cannot confer with your assigned group. The student will develop a slide presentation tailored to the assigned terrorist group that operates on the continent of Africa; home grown or imported. The topic presented will be selected by the student(s) in consultation with the professor during the first-class period. Complete and definitive student presentation criteria will provided be via zoom at first class.


Final Paper: Due April 3, 2022 (40 Points): Each student will individually write a research paper (APA style citations with reference page at end of paper) based on a topic related to a terrorist group that operates on the continent of Africa. The topic/terrorist group may be homegrown or imported or may focus on an African nation or organization designed to combat or mitigate the terrorist threat and should be agreed upon by the student and the professor. The final paper will be no more than 15 pages, to include any charts and pictures that enhance the paper and reference page. This assignment will be finalized with each student during day 1. The papers will be submitted via email by the due date to: Each student should provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of the paper after annotations and grading, if desired by the student.


Final Research Paper will be graded on the following:


Substance – Does your work address the assignment? Is your answer logical, supported and organized? Does your material and supporting evidence consist of facts, expert testimony and show evidence of research, reflection and thought? Is your work objective? Analysis should not be opinionated or politically slanted. Objectivity and balanced evaluation must be evident in your work.


Style - Is your writing at the graduate level in terms of syntax, grammar, organization, and usage?


Research - Did you incorporate sophisticated, graduate level research tools? Did you avoid un-refereed tools such as Wikipedia and other types of encyclopedic reference materials? Were your materials current or applicable if histoical? Did you cite your work and give proper credit through the reference page?


Format – A final paper format will be provided during day 1. This will be the general format to be used for your final.



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

Incomplete Grade Policy

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/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.


Joseph Q. Martinelli, Ph.D.


·        PhD, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

·        MA, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

·        MRPL, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (Graduation, 2022)

Current Positions:

·        Retired, Colonel, USAF

·        Faculty, Advanced Programs, University of Oklahoma Master of Arts in International Relations.

·        Assistant Editor, Dartmouth College Liberal Studies Journal, Clamantis, 2018 to 2020

·        Associate Editor, Dartmouth College Liberal Studies Journal, Clamantis, 2021-Present

·        Assistant Editor, The Dartmouth College Oral History Reader

Frequently Taught Extended Campus (Advanced Programs) Courses:

·        African Peacekeeping

·        Terrorism in Africa.

Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest:

·        African Politics and History

·        Africa Peacekeeping

·        African Security and Terrorism

·        US Strategy in Africa

·        Oral History & Global Media

·        Leadership and Research Methods

·        Religion in Africa

Representative Publications and Presentations:

·        Thesis: Training Requirements of the Tactical Analysis Teams in Latin America.

·        Dissertation: Effectiveness of the African Union Mission in Sudan: US senior perspective

·        2017 Dartmouth Text: “Coming to America: Voices of Women from South Asia studying at Dartmouth.”

·        2018 Dartmouth Article; “Coming to America: Voices of Southwest Asian Students Studying at Dartmouth.”

Representative Honors and Awards Received:

·        #1 of 53 Company Commanders, Top Commander, 1988 & 1989

·        #1 0f 37 Commandant of Cadets, Northeast Region, 2002

·        USAF Field Grade Officer of the Year, 2007

·        #1 of 13 African Air Attaches, 2010

Major Professional Affiliations:

·        Foreign Area Officer Association

·        African Studies Association