This course will explore theories of al Qaida from an empirical perspective. Specifically, al Qaida is treated as a religious revivalist social movement. From this perspective, we will look at the various explanation of this phenomenon in terms of background, personal and situational variables of its members. We will then move on to the process of joining the movement and look at it from social network analysis. This will enable us to trace back its origins in history and generate statements about the properties of such a network. Each student will be responsible for a small research project on this topic and present it in class.