Lately it seems that everywhere we turn there is some new threat confronting us. Gun violence, bird flu, terrorism, airplane crashes, toxic waste, climate change, and genetically modified food: these are just some of the dangers we are facing in the 21st century. But can we always know what is and is not really dangerous? And is not risk often exciting, as in gambling, playing the stock market, or extreme sports? How much are we willing to give up in the way of freedom and rights, or comfort and profit, for increased safety and security? And when we do introduce safety and security measures, do they really protect us from what threatens us most? In this course we shall examine these questions and study the impact of risk and security, for good or for bad, on our everyday lives.