January 22, 2002

Hundreds Discuss Terrorism in New Class

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The first class of ALS 494: Global Conflict and Terrorism was standing room only as approximately 300 students packed into Warren 401 yesterday evening.

The two credit class, which is open to all undergraduates and graduates, “presents an opportunity to review and discuss issues concerning global development and its relationship to conflict and terrorism,” according to the course website.

Originally the class was scheduled to meet in Warren B32, but as the enrollment soared, the class had to be moved to a larger room to accommodate everyone.

When the class was first organized last fall, the enrollment expectations varied from 30-40 students to over 100. However, by midday on the day of the course exchange, over 100 students had signed up for the class according to Prof. James Haldeman ’65, College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS), senior associate director of international programs and organizer of the course.

A waiting list was passed around during class, which will be capped at 150 according to Prof. Jim Shanahan, communication, who is a faculty coordinator of the class with Prof. Charles Geisler, rural sociology.

Waiting List

“Relatively few people will get in,” Shanahan said. “I don’t want to make any false promises.”

“There is more demand than I had anticipated,” he added.

Each class session will focus on one of 11 themes, some of which will be Islamic culture and religious warfare, globalization and international economics, poverty, petroleum politics and civil liberties.

Each lecture will be given by a different panel of three to four faculty members who will then answer questions posed by the students.

For example, after the first lecture on Islamic culture and religious warfare, students will have “a better understanding of the relationship between religion and politics in Muslim society,” said Prof. David Powers, Near East Studies.

Following the question and answer session, students will have “break out sessions” where they will break up into small groups to lead an active discussion.

All the lectures will provide “an opportunity for all participants to gain a better understanding of the events that led up to the Sept. 11 events. It didn’t happen in a vacuum,” Haldeman said.

All the students spoken to cited Sept. 11 and personal interest in the subject as a major reason they decided to sign up for the class.

“I thought it was very interesting and in light of recent events, I thought it was appropriate,” said Jackie Buckley ’03.

“I thought it would be interesting after Sept. 11. It’s on everyone’s mind and I thought it would be interesting to hear about it from an academic perspective and not just what’s on the news,” said Jordan Schwartz ’02.

Annie Rosenberg ’02 believes the class is so popular because “it makes us feel more proactive about the different forces that my have come together to produce Sept. 11 and other acts of terrorism.”

The only concern of some students was the large size of the class.

“I think its good they are doing the break out sessions, but they should have a larger room,” said Schwartz.

Buckley commented, “I’m surprised this class is this big.” However, she didn’t seem to mind the size. “I think its cool so many students are interested in learning about this.”

Archived article by Luke Hejnar