“9/11 and the New Normal Decade”

Profesors David Griffith and Spencer Bakich

MW, 3-4:14 FL 308

Fall 2011

I.  Course Description:

In this course we will explore the cultural, social, and foreign policy ramifications of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

II. Course goals:

1.  Students will become adept at the close reading, annotation, discussion, and written reflection on a many different kinds of texts.
2.   Students will become adept at identifying the rhetorical appeals at work in texts and how the recognition of these appeals can aid the movement from reflection to an original thesis.
3.   Students will become more sophisticated consumers and users of digital technology for informational and academic purposes.

III. Policies/ Expectations:

·      Attendance/Participation: Attendance is mandatory. Missing two weeks of class (4 classes) or more, for whatever reason, will make it extremely difficult for you to successfully meet all the goals (see above) and expectations (see below) of this class, and will likely result in the earning of a “C” or lower.  Missing more than two weeks of class will likely result in failure of the course.

·      Style, Grammar and Typos:  We expect that written assignments will adhere to the stylistics guidelines for each assignment.  These will include writing in a tone appropriate to the topic of discussion and following the rules and conventions of standard written English.  Note: Blog posts containing five or more typographical, stylistic or mechanical errors will receive a failing grade and be immediately flagged for further revision.  As above, revised articles may be re-submitted, but are subject to late penalties (see “deadlines”).

·      Deadlines:  We expect that you will meet your deadlines.  Late work will be docked one letter grade for each day it is late.

·      Technology and Turning in Assignments:  We will be using Dropbox and the class blog to disseminate pdfs of some course readings.  That means each of you will need to create a Dropbox account ( in order to gain access to the readings.  You will also use Dropbox to turn in ALL assignments, unless specified otherwise.  Each of you will have a folder in the class Dropbox folder that you will upload your articles into.  We will also use Google docs for certain collaborative assignments.

Plagiarism: Cases of plagiarism will be handled per the guidelines set forth in the Faculty Handbook and Student Handbook.  The 2011-12 Sweet Briar College Student Handbook defines plagiarism:
·      “The presentation of the works or ideas of another as one’s own work is plagiarism. This applies to online and electronic sources as well as printed materials. The wording used by others in expressing even commonly known facts is private property, and to include it in a paper as though it were one’s own is dishonest. Ideas and facts not generally known and not commonly accepted still bear the personal impress of the people who formulated or discovered them, and it is dishonest for the student to present such facts and theories as though they were her own, even if the student makes changes in phrasing from what the originator used to express them. The student may use another person’s work only if due credit is given.”   p. 90-91,

IV.  Assignments

Each student’s progress toward the goals of the course will be assessed by the following assignments:

  1. Reflective essays (2)
  2. Annotation assignments (several)
  3. Blog posts (several)
  4. Class presentation (1)

V.  Grade Breakdown

Your grade will be calculated as follows:

Class discussion: 10%
Blogging (to class blog): 30%
Class presentation: 20%
Reflective Essay: 10%
Personal Blog: 30%

VI.  Required Texts

  • Ikenberry, G. John. 2006. Liberal Order and Imperial Ambition: Essays on American Power and International Order. Polity.
  • Kaplan, Fred M. 2008. Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Kilcullen, David. 2009. The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Metz, Steven. 2008. Iraq & the Evolution of American Strategy. 1st ed. Washington, D.C: Potomac Books.
  • Sageman, Marc. 2004. Understanding Terror Networks. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Class Schedule
(Subject to change)


Unit 1:  Annotation: Reading Closely and Actively

Week 1:
8/29:  Blogging tutorial, Class of 1948 Theatre instead of FL 308

8/31: Aslan

Week 2:
9/5: Aslan

9/7: Aslan: annotation assignment due to personal class blog

Unit 2: Recognizing Argument Structure: Logos, Ethos, and Pathos

Week 3: Iraq and American National Security Strategy (Bakich)

  • 9/12: U.S.-Iraq relations during the Clinton administration. (reflective assignment due 3-5 pp)
  • Metz, Steven. 2008. Iraq & the Evolution of American Strategy. Washington, D.C: Potomac Books., pp. 49-72.

9/14: Critical Thinking Assessment (computer lab)

Week 4: Iraq and American National Security Strategy (Bakich)

  • 9/19: September 11 and Iraq in American Grand Strategy, Metz, pp. 73-100.

9/21: The Decision to Launch War

  • Metz, pp. 101-144
  • Film Screening 8 pm Class of 1948 Theater FAC: Battle of Algiers

Week 5: Logos: Torture in the Public Square  (Griffith)

  • “Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, August 12, 1949” (Web)
  • “Hamdi v. Rumsfeld,” Supreme Court of the United States of America (Web)
  • “George H. Aldrich, The Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Determination of Illegal Combatants” by George Aldrich (Web)


  • Blog post due
  • Mark Danner “The Logic of Torture” and “The Secret Road to Abu Ghraib” (Dropbox)
  • “The Experiment” by Jane Mayer (Dropbox)
  • Dershowitz, “Should We Fight Terror With Torture?” (Web)

Week 6: Ethos: The Authority and Appeal of the First Person (Griffith)

  • Excerpt from Decision Points by George Bush: “Personel” pp. 88-90; “Day of Fire” pp. 126-151; “Afghanistan” and “Iraq” pp. TBA
  • Excerpt from Letters from Abu Ghraib by Joshua Casteel.


  • Blog post due
  • “Prime Directive” by David Griffith from A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America
  • Film Screening 8 pm Class of 1948: Standard Operating Procedure

Week 7: Terrorism post-9/11 (Bakich)

10/10: Don Goodrich Lecture– Combined y:1 seminars, FAC 1948 Theater


  • Blog post due
  • “Homegrown Terrorism”: Europe vs. America
  • Sageman, pp. XX-XX

Week 8: Pathos: Story as Argument (Griffith)

  • “The Twlight of the Superheroes” by Deborah Eisenberg (pdf)

10/19: Blog post due

  • “The View from Mrs. Thompsons” by David Foster Wallce (pdf)

Unit 3: Constructing Arguments: Making rhetorical moves

Week 9: On Bad Ideas and Wounds Self-Inflicted (Bakich)
10/24: Democracy From the Barrel of a Gun

  • Kaplan, Fred M. 2008. Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons., pp. 7-52, 113-148.

10/26: Elegant Ideas vs. Complex World

  • Kaplan, pp. 149- 200.
  • Blog assignment: what is “wrong” with Kaplan?

Week 10: The Enemy is “Us”?

11/2:  TBA

Week 11: Global Insurgency (Bakich)

  • 11/7: The Global-Local Insurgency Connection Kilcullen, David. 2009. The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 1-38, 263-290
  • Blog post due

11/9: Afghanistan, 2006-2008

  • Kilcullen, pp. 39-114

Week 12: Killing in the Name Of: The killing of Osama Bin Laden (Griffith)
11/14: No photo necessary

11/16: Reading TBA

Unit 4: What to do when you’re wrong?

Week 13: Strategy, Global Governance, and America’s Place in the World (Bakich)
11/28: American Hegemony vs. American Empire

  • Ikenberry, G. John “Getting Hegemony Right,” The National Interest (Spring 2001)., pp. 17-24.
  • _____, “America’s Imperial Ambition,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 84, No. 5 (September/October 2002), pp. 44-60.

11/30: Neo-Conservatism, Iraq, and the Future of American Hegemony

  • Ikenberry, G. John, “The End of the Neo-Conservative Moment,” Survival (Spring 2004), pp. 7-22.
  • _____, “Is American Multilateralism in Decline?” Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Fall 2003), pp. 533-550.

Week 14:
12/5: Aslan Revisited

12/7: Aslan; Reflective Assignment