U.S. Foreign Policy and the War on Terror

Spring 2022
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 25
16 Credits per quarter
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In this foundational (first year - senior) program, students will learn about the “war on terror” that has been a central focus of U.S. foreign policy since the attacks of September 11, 2001.  In addition to invading Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. launched military operations around the world in search of terrorists; divided the world into those for or against terrorism; and expanded its policing powers globally through drone strikes and at home through measures like the USAPATRIOT act and NSA surveillance.

This program will learn about these post-September 11 policies and then critically engage with their merits and legality as we acknowledge the twenty-year anniversary of the “war on terror.”  Was the “war on terror” a success or a counterproductive failure?  Should it be reformed or is it time to decommission this seemingly endless war?  The program will first focus on debates within the academic literature about the nature and root causes of “terrorism” (asymmetrical political violence) and the extent to which it is driven by religious motivations or in response to US foreign policy in the Middle East. Then it will examine the policies and strategies the U.S. adopted after 2001 such as the extraordinary rendition of terror suspects to Guantanamo Bay prison, CIA and military drone strikes and the creation of an expensive and secretive homeland security state.

The program will be organized around a series of texts, group exercises and written assignments, including several in-class presentations and several analytical papers. We will watch films and documentaries to supplement our learning.


Spring 2022 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 30222
Fr (16): 30225

Academic details

Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies and careers in

Politics, Public Policy, International Affairs, Law

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing


In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

SEM 2 E3105 - Workshop