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Armed Islamist Movements: Jihadism and Beyond

Module titleArmed Islamist Movements: Jihadism and Beyond
Module codeARA3158
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the complex relationships between Islamism and various types of political violence including insurgency and terrorism. The module covers the major Jihadist groups as well as other versions of armed Islamist movements in the Middle East, North Africa, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe. It is an essential module for understanding armed Islamist movements’ behaviour, structures and ideologies. There are no prerequisites for the module. This module is suitable for both specialist and non-specialist There are no prerequisites. However, ARA 2160 (Islamist Movements: From the Brothers to al-Qaida) is relevant to this module, a useful introduction to large number of unarmed Islamist movements from several regions. This module is recommended for interdisciplinary pathways.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the complex relationships between Islamism and various types of armed action including, coups, resistance, insurgency and terrorism. It prepares you to constructively engage in academic and policy debates on armed Islamism and the related issues of security, democratization, demobilization, and counter-terrorism in several Muslim-majority and Muslim-minority states. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. understand the major armed Islamist movements, their behaviours, ideologies and the contexts in which they operate;
  • 2. demonstrate the ability to discuss key-issues in the themes of Islamism and political violence;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. handle recent Islamist terminology;
  • 4. analyse and critique both primary and secondary sources as well as to place the issues discussed in a wider context;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. demonstrate critical and analytical skills through readings, class discussions and presentations;
  • 6. organise time and resources;
  • 7. demonstrate an enhanced ability to undertake comparative and cross-regional analysis;
  • 8. give oral presentations and write essays.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Islamism and Political Violence: Introduction and Theories
  • Jihadism: Historical Roots and Ideological Versions
  • National Jihadism in Egypt and Libya
  • Pragmatic Jihadism? Ballots and Bullets in Algeria and Tajikistan
  • Global Jihadism: Between al-Qa’ida Central and al-Qa’ida Franchise
  • Jihadism in the United Kingdom and Europe
  • Armed Islamism and Colonialism: Hamas and Hizbullah
  • Armed Islamism and Secession: The Case of Chechnya
  • Afghanistan and the Endless Jihad
  • The De-Radicalization of Jihadists
  • Conclusion and Revisions

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity 22The module will consist of lectures, seminars and student presentations. Each two-hourly seminar will commence with a student presentation(s), followed by a class discussion about the assigned topic, and will conclude with a lecture on the topic for the following week.
Guided Independent study38Weekly reading for seminars
Guided Independent study18Preparing seminar presentation
Guided Independent study66Researching and writing op-ed and essay
Guided Independent study6Web-based activities


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation10-15 minutes3-5Verbal feedback
Act as a discussant in one other presentation10-15 minutes 3-5Verbal feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Policy Brief or Academic Opinion ‘Op-Ed ‘ Article 401,200 words 1-8Written feedback
Analytical Essay602,000 words1, 2, 3, 4, 7Written feedback


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Policy Brief or Academic Opinion ‘Op-Ed ‘ article Policy Brief or Academic Opinion ‘Op-Ed ‘ article 1-8August/September reassessment period
Analytical EssayAnalytical Essay1, 2, 4, 5, 8August/September reassessment period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Ashour, Omar. The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements. New York, London: Routledge, 2009.
Ashour, Omar. Oil, Security and Internal Politics: The Causes of the Russo-Chechen Conflict. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism vol. 27, no. 2 (March  April 2004): 127 143.
Atwan, Abdel Bari. The Secret History of al-Qaeda. Berkeley : University of California Press, c2008.
Chehab, Zaki, Inside Hamas (NY: Nations Books, 2007).
Donohue, John and John L. Esposito. Islam in Transition : Muslim perspectives (Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1982).
Esposito, John, Political Islam: Revolution, Radicalism, or Reform (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997).
Fuller, Graham, The Future of Political Islam, Foreign Affairs (March-April 2002).
Goodson, Larry. Afghanistan’s Long Road to Reconstruction.Journal of Democracy vol. 13, no. 1 (January 2003):
Hafez, Mohammed, Why Muslims Rebel: Repression and Resistance in the
Islamic World (Boulder, Colo. ; London : Lynne Rienner, 2003).
Kepel, Gilles, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Belknap, 2003).
Lewis, Bernard, The Crisis of Political Islam (Random House, 2004)Lia, Brynjar. Artichetct of Global Jihad: The Life of the life of al-Qaida strategist Abu Musal-Suri. London : Hurst & Co., 2007.
Martinez, Luis. The Algerian Civil War. New York: Colombia University Press, 2000.
Qutb, Sayyid, Milestones (American Trust Publication, 1991).
Roy, Olivier, Globalizing Islam (Columbia University Press, 2004).
Wiktorowicz, Quintan, Islamic Activism: A Social Movement Theory Approach (Indiana University Press, 2003).
Youcef Bedjaoui, Abbas Aroua, Méziane Aït-Larbi.. An Inquiry into the Algerian Massacres. Plan-les-Ouates (Genève): Hoggar, 1999. chapters 2, 6, 8, 11
World Islamic Front Statement: "Jihad against Jews and Crusaders," Washington Post, September 21, 2001


Particularly useful notes of guidance for the op-ed project can be found on the module ELE page

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Armed Islamist Movements, Jihadism,

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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