Syllabus: Weekend

Download the REVISED WEEKEND Syllabus as Microsoft Word .doc

University of Warsaw

American Studies Center

Summer Semester 2009


September 11, 2001: The United States and the World


Instructors:                 Dr. Joshua Kjerulf Dubrow and Dr. Irina Tomescu-Dubrow

Date and Time:           Every other Sunday, 11:00  – 13:15

Place:                          American Studies Center/Ośrodek Studiów Amerykańskich
Al. Niepodległości 22, Room 319

Course Website:         https://septembereleven2001.wordpress.com

Office Hours:             By appointment

Email:                         jdubrow2000@yahoo.com, tomescu.1@sociology.osu.edu



Course Description:


The terrorist actions on September 11, 2001 changed the United States and the world.  This course analyzes the major social, political and cultural events that are directly related to 9/11.  Although the course focuses on American society, a world perspective is needed to understand the events of 9/11; we will spend a substantial amount of time understanding America and its international relations.  We will examine the causes and consequences of 9/11 with diversity of perspectives and through a variety of media (books, articles, photography, audio and video).  This course involves plenty of discussion of the key issues and controversies.  





Grades will be based on 30% class participation and 70% take-home assignments


Class participation:  Students are expected to have read and be prepared to discuss all of the assigned required readings on the due date and to participate in in-class projects.


Assignments:  Students will complete a series of homeworks that engage the readings and lectures.  Pay strict attention to the guidelines for each assignment.  Deviations from the guidelines may result in a substantial reduction in the assignment grade.


Policies on Attendance, Late Materials, and Exam Make-Ups:

You are allowed a maximum of two absences.  Your overall grade will be reduced by 5% per unexcused absence after the maximum has been reached.  You are responsible for any and all in-class materials, including hand-outs and lecture notes.

We expect everyone to show up to class on time.  During class electronic devices, including all those used for communication, must be turned off.  We will make exceptions to the rule if you explain why you need them turned on during class.  You must inform the instructor of this reason before class begins. 

Please remember to be well-mannered and polite to one another during heated discussions.  We will be with each other for this lengthy academic period and we all need a healthy and comfortable classroom environment to learn and discuss issues.


Assignments are to be handed-in to the instructor at the beginning of class.  We will accept late materials only if we are notified 24 hours prior to the deadline.  Late writing assignments will be assessed a penalty of 10% off per day regardless of the excuse.  Excuses and explanations regarding problems in handing-in assignments are only accepted at the discretion of the instructor. 


If the instructor permits the assignment to be emailed, then it is the responsibility of the student to be sure that the instructor received it.  NOTE:  Students cannot assume that a paper emailed without prior approval will be accepted by the instructors.  Instructors reserve the right to refuse any paper that was emailed without prior approval.


Course Outline and Course Readings

Except for those marked with a *, required course readings are available at the American Studies Center library.  Most are also available via Internet.  Internet available readings are marked with an “I.”  Readings marked with an “R” are REQUIRED, or mandatory readings.  Those with “OP” are optional or non-mandatory readings.  TBA is a reading “to be announced” at a later date.  Students are expected to have read the REQUIRED readings on the date they are assigned; optional readings are suggested, but students are not responsible for having read them.


Week & Date




February 22


Introduction to the Course

What Happened?


  Mainstream Media Coverage of the Events of 11.9.01


— Official Government Explanation


  Unofficial Conspiracy Explanation


OP – I – National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.   2004. “’We Have Some Planes.’” Pp. 1 – 46 in The 9/11 Commission Report.  Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, Chairs


March 8

Why Did It Happen?  Before 9/11


  Cold War and Middle East Policy


  Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda


  Government Agencies and “The Wall”


R – Coll, Steve.  2004.  “Don’t Make It Our War” pp. 89 – 93, 98 – 102; “Terrorists Will Own the World” pp. 125 – 146 in Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.  New York: Penguin.


R – Wright, Lawrence.  2006.  The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.  New York: Knopf.  Selections: pp. 139 – 147, 157 – 164, 172 – 173.


R – I – Wright, Lawrence.  2008.  “The Rebellion Within: An Al Qaeda Mastermind Questions Terrorism.”  The New Yorker, June 2. 


R – Coll, Steve.  2004.  “A Friend of Your Enemy.”  Pp. 240 – 256 in Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.  New York: Penguin.


R – I – Wright, Lawrence.  2006.  “The Agent: Did the CIA Stop an FBI Detective from Preventing 9/11?” The New Yorker, July 10 & 17.


R – I – Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), August 6, 2001: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” 


March 22

Constructing a Post-9/11 World


  Masses & Media


— Capitalists


  The War on Terror


  The 9/11 Commission


  Government Reorganization and Other Government Responses



R – Collins, Randall.  2004.  “Rituals of Solidarity and Security in the Wake of Terrorist Attack.”  Sociological Theory 22 (1): 53-87.


R – Wirtz, James R.  2006.  “Responding to Surprise.”  Annual Review of Political Science 9: 45 – 65.


OP – I – Barstow, David.  2008.  “Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand.”  The New York Times, April 20.

Assignment 1 Due



April 5

Civil Liberties and the Social Landscape


  Civil Liberties and the PATRIOT Act


  Guantanamo Bay


  Status of Arabs and Muslims in the U.S.


  Immigration Regulation and Border Control



R – Baker, Nancy V.  2003.  “National Security versus Civil Liberties.”  Presidential Studies Quarterly 33(3): 547 – 567.


R – I – Cainkar, Louise. 2004.  “The Impact of the September 11 Attacks and Their Aftermath on Arab and Muslim Communities in the United States.”  Social Science Research Council (SSRC), Global Security and Cooperation (GSC).


OP – Wong, Cam C.  “The Making of the Patriot Act I: The Legislative Process and Dynamics.”  International Journal of the Sociology of Law 34: 179 – 219.


OP – I – Harris, Shane.  2006.  “Signals and Noise.” National Journal  (about rise and fall of Total Information Awareness [TIA] program)


OP – I – National Public Radio, This American Life.  2006. “Habeus Schmabeus” 




April 19

The Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq


  The Neoconservative Movement 


  President George W. Bush & The Bush Doctrine


  Official Reasons for War (Connections to 9/11)

Film: PBS Frontline’s

“The War behind Closed Doors” (2003)

R – Leffler, Melvyn P.  2003.  “9/11 and the Past and Future of American Foreign Policy.”  International Affairs 79(5): 1045 – 1063.  Hear a version of the paper delivered as lecture

*R – I – Project for a New American Century: Statement of Principles

*R – I – Project for a New American Century:  Open Letter to President Clinton 1998.



*R – I – Goldberg, Jonah.  2003.  “State of Confusion” and “The End of Neoconservatism”  (these articles examine the term “neoconservative”)


R – Draper, Richard.  2007. “Prologue” in Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush.  New York: Free Press.


OP – Film: PBS’ Frontline: “The Dark Side” (2006)


OP – Mann, James.  2004.  Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet.  New York: Viking.


OP – Woodward, Bob.  2003.  Bush at War.  New York: Simon and Schuster.


OP – I – Suskind, Ron.  2004.  “Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush.”  The New York Times, October 17.


Assignment 2 Due



May 10

Torture, The United States and the International Community


  Bagram, Abu Grahib, Guantanamo Bay.  Film: Taxi to the Darkside


  Rendition Flights and Secret Prisons


  European attitudes toward Americans after 9/11


R – I – Mayer, Jane.  2005.  “Outsourcing Torture: The Secret History of America’s “Extraordinary Rendition” Program.”  The New Yorker, February 14. 


R – I – Mayer, Jane.  2007.  “The Black Sites: A Rare Look Inside the CIA’s Secret Interrogation Program.”  The New Yorker, August 13.    


R – I – The Economist.  2008.  “Wooing the World.”  March 28.


*R – I – Hanson, Victor David.  2002.  “European Paradoxes: The War that Divides Us.”  National Review Online


*R – I – Chomsky, Noam.  2001.  “The United States is a Leading Terrorist State.” November. 


R – Sztompka, Piotr.  2005.  “American Hegemony Looks Different from Eastern Europe (or, Twenty Reasons Why We Support the U.S.).”  Contexts 4(2): 31-33.


OP – I – Q&A: EU-U.S. relations and the war on terror. 


OP – I – Shane, Scott.  2008.  “Inside a 9/11 Mastermind’s Interrogation.”  The New York Times, June 22. 




OP – I – Priest, Dana.  2005.  CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons: Debate Is Growing Within Agency About Legality and Morality of Overseas System Set Up After 9/11.”  The Washington Post, November 2. 

Assignment 3 Due



May 24


The Cultural Landscape


  Cultural Artifacts of 9/11


  9/11 in the Electoral Campaigns of 2002, 2004, 2006 & 2008





June 7


Overall Assessment of the “Post 9/11 World” Part I





Assignment 4 Due



June 21

Overall Assessment of the “Post 9/11 World” Part II


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