Law, Terror and State Power

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Final Year
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law

Module overview

It provides students with critical tools to understand of how state regimes have responded to 'terrorist' violence, and also how law itself can unleash regimes of terror.

It engages with historical, anthropological and theoretical debates in order to understand the relationship between law, violence and state power. It engages with material regarding the South Asian experience and may draw on experiences from elsewhere. There are three themes that run through this module.

  • The legacy of colonial responses to revolutionary violence in different colonial contexts responses. In particular we look at how modern anti-terror laws are progeny of these responses by colonial states to revolutionary violence
  • The social life of anti-terror laws. What is the impact of anti-terror laws in different communities? We look at how anti-terror laws unfold in everyday contexts, how they are imbricated in discourses of nationalism, and how they result in the creation of suspect communities.
  • Theories of sovereignty and violence. Underlying this module are theoretical links between sovereignty and violence. We look three ways of imagining state power after the war on terror: the state of exception, hyperlegality and governmentality, and bipolarity.

Objectives and learning outcomes

  • Understand contemporary anti-terror laws within a historical context
  • Understand the impact of anti-terror legislation on democracy, rights and communities
  • Understand theoretical approaches to understanding the relationshp between law and violence
  • Ability to critically assess anti-terror laws and policies


  • Weekly 2-hour seminar

Method of assessment

  • One Essay Outline (500 words): 10%
  • Reaction papers: 10%
  • One Essay (3,000 words): 80%


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.