Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 592: Spies, Saboteurs, and Subversives

Instructor: Joseph Gouverneur

While we will mainly follow an historical framework, in this course, we will utilize the disciplines of sociology, religious studies, and political science in order to understand underground resistance movements. In particular, we will look at secret American Communists, the Underground in Europe during the Second World War and Cold War, Jewish resistance to the British in Palestine after the war, and to contemporary terrorist cells.

We will also look at the ways that underground resistance groups function as well as how governments and occupation forces seek to neutralize or destroy such groups. We will seek to ask and answer a range of questions through an examination of primary and secondary sources in print and film:

  • Have such movements made a discernible impact on society?
  • Have such groups aided or hindered the forces of democracy?
  • What is the lifestyle and culture of underground groups?
  • Are there a particular set of repeatable circumstances that lead certain segments of society to go underground?
  • What is the path in which individuals go and stay underground without detection from the authorities for such an extended period of time?
  • What are the implications of the enduring presence of secret societies in an open democratic nation such as the United States?

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, you will have:

  1. The ability to demonstrate knowledge of various themes and issues relevant to underground resistance groups.
  2. The ability to understand the culture that permeates many underground societies.
  3. The ability to demonstrate an understanding of the religious or anti-religious fervor of insurgency/terrorist groups.)
  4. The ability to evaluate the claims and theories of both the underground groups themselves as well as their sworn enemies.

Required Texts

Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Invisible Armies, by Max Boot
Sacred Causes, by Michael Burleigh
Wartime, by Milovan Djilas
Story of a Secret State, by Jan Karski
Exodus, by Leon Uris
Enemies, by Matthew Tim Weiner

Last Update: November 9, 2015