University of Oklahoma logo

University of Oklahoma

[IAS 5073] International Terrorism - 491

Rebecca Cruise

Course Description

Topics in International Studies: International Terrorism


Terrorism is one of those things that people seem to know when they see it. The media and politicians are quick to label all sorts of violent activity as terrorism, yet it is difficult to fully articulate exactly what terrorism is. Therefore, for any exploration of terrorism, it is helpful to start at the beginning. This course will look at the dynamic definition of terrorism and will explore the history of this type of activity, leading to our common (and very western) understanding of the term. We will explore how terrorism has been studied, and what conclusions have been made about who is engaging in terrorist activities and their motivations. In this we will explore the under-studied role of women in terrorist organizations historically and today. We will also attempt to remove the concept of terrorism from isolation, exploring how terrorism interacts with politics, the media and organized crime. This will be done through the use of case studies of both domestic and international terrorism. We will also explore recruiting techniques, with special attention focused on ISIS and their keen use of the internet and Dark Web to find recruits around the world. With some context, we will then look at terrorism as a global phenomenon and will explore counter-terrorism initiatives.

Course Dates

DatesJuly 6-17, 2022
Last day to enroll or drop without penaltyJune 7, 2022

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 ProfessorDr. Rebecca Cruise
Mailing Address729 Elm, Hester Hall 118, Norman, OK 73071
Professor availabilityThe professor will be available via e-mail to students before and after the class sessions. On-site office hours are half an hour before and after each class session, by appointment.

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.

Isis : The State of Terror
Isis : The State of Terror
by Stern, Jessica, Berger, J. M.
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780062395559
Bombshell : Women and Terrorism
Bombshell : Women and Terrorism
by Bloom, Mia
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 9780812243901

OU Email

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


Email Account and Canvas: Students are expected to check their OU email accounts and the course site on Canvas daily for updates from the instructor


Course Objectives

• Students will understand and be able to articulate the complicated history of terrorism leading to
its current manifestations.
• Students will be able to address and debunk common myths of who terrorists are.
• Students will explore the commonalities of those that are labeled terrorist organizations, but will
also understand the nuances and differences among a number of such groups.
• Students will see the connections between terrorist organizations and other entities- such as the
media and organized crime.
• Students will begin to think critically and creatively about counter-terrorism options on a
domestic and global scale

Course Outline

Topic 1 History of Terrorism and the Study of Terrorism as a tactic of violence
             Assigned Reading: Sandler (2014) on Canvas


Topic 2 Who are the Participants and what are their Motivations?
             Assigned Reading: Bloom (2011)


Topic 3 Domestic and International Terrorism. Evolving tools and tactics. From OKC Bombing to ISIS
             Assigned Reading: Stern and Berger (2016), Sloan (2016) on Canvas


Topic 4 Role of the Media


Topic 5 Global Issues, Global Responses
             Group Research- no assigned reading

Assignments, Grading and Due Dates

Assignment Percent of Grade
Group Profile 10%
Partcipation 30%
Group Presentation 30%
Final 30%


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.

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).


Materials posted on the OU CANVAS system:

Access CANVAS at; enter your OU NetID (4+4) and password, and select course to access the material.


Procedures for Completion of Course Evaluation: 

Upon completion of the course students should go to the Advanced Programs Online Learning Information webpage and click on the applicable semester link under “Online Course Evaluation” which will direct them to the evaluation.  The evaluation will take approximately five minutes to complete.  Completion of the online evaluation is an important tool allowing Advanced Programs to gain information and student feedback for improvement of courses.

Your responses will be kept confidential.  They will be reviewed by the department and only supplied to the professor once grades for the course have been submitted.


Materials posted on the OU CANVAS system:

Access CANVAS at; enter your OU NetID (4+4) and password, and select course to access material. Please contact your local the IT Help desk at 405-325-HELP if you require assistance.  IT is available 24/7

Statement about the MHR Program Planner and Human Relations Website

Students should become familiar with the MHR Program Planner that was sent to each student upon admission into the program.  The planner has a description of the HR program objectives and requirements, suggestions for graduate study, financial assistance, and graduation information. Of particular interest is the information on the comprehensive exams and the internship.  For further information please visit the Department of Human Relations Website at:

Reasonable Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities.  Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him or her from fully demonstrating his or her abilities should contact me personally as soon as possible so we can discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate your educational opportunities.  Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations in this course.  The Office of Disability Services is located in Goddard Health Center, Suite 166, phone 405-325-3852 or TDD only 405-325-4173. For more information please see the Disability Resource Center website


Civility/Inclusivity Statement:

We understand our members represent a rich variety of backgrounds and perspectives. The Human Relations Department is committed to providing an atmosphere for learning that respects diversity. While working together to build this community we ask all members to:

  • share their unique experiences, values and beliefs
  • be open to the views of others
  • honor the uniqueness of their colleagues
  • appreciate the opportunity we have to learn from each other in this community
  • value each other’s opinions and communicate in a respectful manner
  • keep confidential discussions the community has of a personal (or professional) nature
  • use this opportunity together to discuss ways in which we can create an inclusive environment in this course and across the University of Oklahoma community.

Religious Holidays

It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without a penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays, without penalty.


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.


Rebecca J. Cruise PhD


• 2011 Ph.D. Political Science, University of Oklahoma. Fields: Comparative Politics, International Relations, American Politics
• 2007 MA Political Science, University of Oklahoma
• 2000 BA Political Science, University of Portland


Current Positions
• Assistant Dean
• Teaching at OU, in some capacity, for 10 years


Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest
• Security Studies
• International Institutions
• Comparative Politics of Post-Communist Europe
• Female Political Participation
• International Activism and Leadership
• Maritime Security


Representative Publications
• Rebecca J. Cruise. “Enough with the Stereotypes: Representations of Women in Terrorist Organizations.” Social Sciences Quarterly. Vol. 27-1. 33-43.
• Rebecca J. Cruise and Suzette R. Grillot. December 2010. “The Development of Security Community in Croatia: Leading the Pack,” Croatian International Relations Review. Zagreb, Croatia. XVI. No: 60/61. 89-103.
• Suzette Grillot and Rebecca J. Cruise with Valerie D’Erman. 2010. Protecting Our Ports: The Politics of Containerized Freight Security. Ashgate Publishing House.
• Suzette Grillot, Rebecca J. Cruise and Valerie D’Erman. January 2010. “Developing Security Community in the Western Balkans: The Role of the EU and NATO,” International Politics. Vol. 47:1. 62-90.
• Suzette Grillot, Rebecca J. Cruise and Valerie D’Erman. July 2009. “National and Global Efforts to Enhance Containerized Freight Security.” Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Vol. 6:1. Article 51.
• Rebecca J. Cruise. 2008. “The New NATO and Collective Security in Europe,” Defense Politics: International and Comparative Persepectives. Ed. Ike Wilson/J.F. Forest. London: Routledge


Representative Presentations
• “Security Community in the Western Balkans: A Comparative Analysis.” Presented at the Belgrade Security Forum Symposium. Belgrade, Serbia. September 2012.
• “The Tough Cases: Security Community Development in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo.” Presented at the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) and Woodrow Wilson Center Regional Policy Symposium. Washington DC. April 2010.
• “Development in Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo.” Presented fieldwork briefing to officials at the United States Department of State: Western Balkan Division. Washington DC. April 2010.


Representative Honors and Awards Received
• DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Grant: 4 Months research in Leipzig, Germany
• American Council of Learned Societies: Language Training Grant: Study in Romania
• University of Oklahoma POLL Fellowship for Quantitative Research
• Presidential International Travel Fellowship for Fieldwork in the Western Balkans