Unit 2 Assignment: Terrorism in Media and Scholarship

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Unit 2 Assignment: Terrorism in Media and Scholarship

Your task is to research the contemporary media and scholarly coverage of an episode of political terrorism. Based on your findings you will produce a short piece of writing (1,000 words) that analyzes the similarities and differences in the way these sources describe, contextualize, and define the significance of terror.


Here is the list of available topics. No more than 2 students can work on a given topic. To claim yours, go to the iSite (Unit Assignments / Unit 2). Under ‘Choose your topic’ click on 'Topic list'. Highlight your choice with your cursor, and then select 'Add annotation'. In the ‘Title’ line write ‘Claimed’ or the equivalent. Click 'Submit'. Done!

  • Nord-Ost (2002)

  • Boston Marathon bombing (2013)

  • Red Terror (1918)

  • Assassination of Anna Politkovskaya (2006)

  • Great Terror (1936-38)

  • Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko (2006)

  • Beslan School Hostage Crisis (2004)

  • Assassination of Pyotr Stolypin (1911)


Though you will need to conduct a fair amount of research (using online finding aids and databases, for example) in order to get a good sense of your topic, you must limit yourself to three articles to analyze in your paper. One must come from a scholarly journal. The other two must come from the world of print-based and digital media. Those of you with contemporary topics should aim to include one article from print-based media (newspapers, magazines) and one from a born-digital publication (a blog, website, etc.). Those of you with historical topics will, for obvious reasons, have a much harder time finding material in the blogosphere. In cases where you can find nothing, or nothing useful, in the born-digital world, you may select two articles from print-based media: a newspaper article and a magazine article, for example.

Where to start?

  • E-Resources: Academic Search Premier, JSTOR, Historical Abstracts, LexisNexis (includes web-based publications), East View Universal Databases

  • The Library Research Guide for History (see the ‘News Sources’ tab for both contemporary and historical newspapers)

  • Slavic and Eurasian Studies Research Guide

Questions to Consider and Address

  • What are the similarities and differences in the ways in which the writer-analysts producing scholarly journal articles, digital media, and print-based media treat your episode? Do the texts you have selected offer contrasting views? What might account for the differences? Do you evaluate the accuracy or reliability of these sources differently?

  • What does the coverage of your episode reveal about the nature of political terror (as seen from within or outside Russia, as the case may be)?

Nuts and Bolts

  • Use 12 point font and 1-inch margins.

  • At the top of page one include: your name, paper title, date, word count (title and footnotes not included).

  • Citing sources: use either the MLA or the Chicago Manual of Style standard. Be consistent.

  • Submitting your work: Upload your paper to the iSite dropbox by 5pm on Thursday, February 27. (Those of you attending Thursday section will want to budget your time so that you can upload your paper and arrive at section on time.)

Fair warning: 1,000 words will go incredibly quickly!

Good luck!

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