Professor Dr.  Hans Köchler

Institut für Philosophie der Universität Innsbruck

Lehrveranstaltungen im Sommersemester 2004


Seminar, Tuesday, 15-17 hrs, Seminarraum 15, Department of Philosophy, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52A, 8th floor


(with information visit to the Philippines)


The seminar will deal with general theoretical issues related to terrorism and power politics (e.g. the definition of terrorism as an aspect of power politics; the application of double standards in the classification of movements as "terrorist;" terrorism and national interest; terrorism in the context of an imperial or neo-colonial – world order; terrorism and North-South relations, etc.) and with specific regional issues (e.g. the phenomenon of terrorism in the Philippines, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Latin America in connection with local and/or regional conflicts that are in turn reinforced as a result of international power politics). Special attention will be given to terrorist violence and (supposed or real) terrorist threats along the fault lines between the Western and Muslim worlds. An excursion to South-East Asia should help the participants to better situate the global discourse on terrorism in the actual context of power politics from which it cannot be separated. The seminar should also strive to identify some of the root causes of terrorism (e.g. unbalanced power relations, colonization or re-colonization, foreign occupation, social injustice). International violence (whether in the form of state action or acts of terrorism by non-state actors) should be located in the complex framework of global power relations. The seminar should contribute to a better understanding of the phenomenon of terrorism in the concrete socio-economic, political and cultural context in which specific acts of violence occur – so as to get away from a merely abstract understanding of terrorism (which is often the result of a refusal to identify the specific grievances that underlie acts of violence). In each particular case, a legal evaluation and classification of "terrorism" has to be complemented by a comprehensive analysis of the social background of the phenomenon (so as to deal with the root causes of each specific form of violence). Refusal to do so may result in the eternalization of an abstract  and thus  mystified – "terrorist threat" to the "civilized world" as such.

Selected literature and document sources:

  • Hans Köchler, Manila Lectures 2002. Terrorism and the Quest for a Just World Order. Manila: FSJ Book World, 2002.

  • Hans Köchler (ed.), Terrorism and National Liberation. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Question of Terrorism. Frankfurt a. M./Berne/New York: Peter Lang,  1988.

  • Hans Köchler, Global Justice or Global Revenge? Springer: Vienna/New York, 2003.

  • Hans Köchler, The War on Terror, its Impact on the Sovereignty of States, and its Implications for Human Rights and Civil Liberties. Lecture delivered at the International Ecumenical Conference on Terrorism in a Globalized World, Manila, 25 September 2002.

  • Hans Köchler, The United Nations and International Terrorism: Challenges to Collective Security. Lecture delivered at the International Conference on Terrorism and Anti-terrorism Cooperation, Shanghai, 14 November 2002 (Summary).

  • Alex P. Schmid and Albert J. Jongman, Political Terrorism. A New Guide to Actors, Authors, Concepts, Data Bases, Theories, and Literature. Amsterdam/New York: North-Holland Publishing Co., 1988.

  • Soliman M. Santos, Terrorism: Towards a Legal Definition, Manila, 15 October 2002.

  • United Nations documents on terrorism.

  • Report of the Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism. United Nations Doc. A/57/273 (Annex), S/2002/875, 6 August 2002.

  • Summary of the International Conference on International Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism Cooperation, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (2002).

  • International Conference on Democracy and Terrorism, New Delhi, 27 July 1996.

  • Debates related to Hans Koechler's papers and lectures on terrorism.

  • Modus:

    Each participant has to choose a specific subtopic. (The list of subtopics will be established in the course of the preparatory session.) On each subtopic a lecture is to be presented which will be followed by a question and answer session. A summary of the presentation should be handed out at the beginning of each lecture meeting. A written paper on the topic of the lecture is to be prepared until the end of the semester (30 June 2004). An excursion – in the form of a fact-finding mission – to a country of the South-East Asian region is planned for the first half of June. The excursion will be an integral part of the seminar's programme. Two participants shall prepare a case study on the country to be chosen for the excursion. They will jointly be in charge of a briefing session upon the beginning of the excursion. (Their briefing document will be in lieu of a seminar paper.) Participation in the regular weekly sessions (March to May) and in the excursion (approx. 10 days in June) is mandatory.

    Seminar assistant: Mr. Christoph Wurnitsch

    Preparatory session: 9 March 2004.

    Interdisciplinary seminar for students of philosophy, theology, political science, and law. Personal registration required.