Following the 9/11 attacks, there has been much discussion of “terrorism” and political violence more generally by politicians, journalists, and scholars. But what exactly is “terrorism,” and how does it differ from other types of violence? This course addresses the following questions: How and for what purposes has the idea of “terrorism” been conceptualized and used by politicians, journalists, and scholars? How have scholars attempted to explain terrorism and political violence? Why and under what conditions does collective violence and terrorism in particular seem to arise? Are terrorism or other forms of political violence ever justified? And does terrorism or violence actually work? If so, how and under what circumstances? To answer these questions, we will examine a wide range of historical cases of terrorism and political violence in the modern world.