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Security, Civil Liberties, and Terrorism (curricula)

Creators: Gregory Francis


Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on The World Trade Center and Pentagon, terrorism has emerged as one of the most prominent security concerns for the United States. Multiple sectors of society—military, judicial, public health, diplomatic and so on—have been impacted in the effort to address the threats of terrorism. The Security, Civil Liberties, and Terrorism curriculum prompts students to examine the complex issues surrounding terrorism including how to define it, how to analyze it, and how a liberal democratic government can react to it while realizing the consequences and tradeoffs involved.

Security, Civil Liberties, and Terrorism is a 130-page curriculum unit based on lectures from a Stanford University course taught by Dr. Laura K. Donohue, a scholar on counterterrorism. The curriculum targets high school/community college students. It is comprised of four lessons organized into 16 classroom activities (50-minute sessions) and includes lectures on CDROM, readings, and worksheets. The curriculum also includes a glossary, and an extensive list of references listed by lesson. The author suggests that lessons be taught in succession for maximum benefit. It is recommended for use in the following courses: Contemporary issues, Global Studies, World History, International Relations, U.S. Government, and Civics.

The author outlines the lessons:

In the first lesson, students learn how difficult it is to define terrorism and the complexity of labeling someone a terrorist. Lesson Two gives students background into the nature of liberal, democratic states and explains the centrality of civil liberties in such states. In Lesson Three, students participate in a simulation of a terrorist threat and evaluate specific counterterrorist measures, focusing on the USA PATRIOT Act passed after the September 11th attacks. Finally, Lesson Four encourages students to think of counterterrorism in larger terms. Students learn three models for responding to terrorism and are challenged to draft their own counterterrorism legislation.

The World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans is examined in Lesson Two as a case study of a time when the U.S. government denied civil liberties in favor of national security and as was stated at the time, for the safety of Japanese Americans. The parallel story of reactions to Arab Americans post September 11, 2001, is noted as an example of how the country continues to wrestle with how to protect citizens from the threat of terrorism. Students are asked to review the Bill of Rights and selected amendments to make a list of arguments for and against the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. The activity culminates with students writing an editorial, clearly stating their position, providing support for their position and also addressing opposing arguments.

Security, Civil Liberties, and Terrorism was published in 2004 as part of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and the Stanford Institute for International Studies (SIIS). It was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York with additional support from Ambassador and Mrs. L.W. Lane, Jr., Donald Lucas, the Russell Family Foundation, Ronald P. Spogli, Lola N. Grace and the Gifted Learning Institute, the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University, and the SIIS Initiative on Distance Learning.

Authored by Janet Hayakawa , Densho
For More Information

For More Information

Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) website: http://spice.stanford.edu .

To order: http://spice.fsi.stanford.edu/catalog/security_civil_liberties_and_terrorism .