MICB-519 Sociological Perspectives on Biodefense
Fall for 2014-2015
This course will critically examine political and organizational controversies about defending against terrorism including bioterrorism. The course opens by studying the debate about terrorism as a type of asymmetrical warfare. What accounts for terrorist attacks against the United States and our allies? What is the relationship between foreign policy, law enforcement and warfare in our response to terrorism? What constraints, if any, should we apply to ourselves in responding to terrorism? The course continues by examining the debate about reforming our governmental bureaucracy responsible for responding to terrorism. Why did we not recognize the emerging threat of the 9/11 attacks? What principles should we apply in reforming our intelligence and homeland defense organizations? The course concludes with close examination of sociological perspectives on designing effective organizations for responding to threats including biothreats. What should we do to improve how our existing food safety bureaucracy protects us against natural biothreats? Why do organizational failures occur even in organizations well prepared for contingencies? Can we design organizations capable of responding to novel threats and unanticipated events? Students should gain an appreciation of the fundamentally political character of biodefense as a result of completing this course.
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