In The Body of War, Dubravka Žarkov analyzes representations of female and male bodies in the Croatian and Serbian press in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s, during the war in which Yugoslavia disintegrated. Žarkov proposes that the Balkan war was not a war between ethnic groups; rather, ethnicity was produced by the war itself. Žarkov explores the process through which ethnicity was generated, showing how lived and symbolic female and male bodies became central to it. She does not posit a direct causal relationship between hate speech published in the press during the mid-1980s and the acts of violence in the war. Instead, she argues that both the representational practices of the “media war” and the violent practices of the “ethnic war” depended on specific, shared notions of femininity and masculinity, norms of (hetero)sexuality, and definitions of ethnicity.
Tracing the links between the war and press representations of ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, Žarkov examines the media’s coverage of two major protests by women who explicitly identified themselves as mothers, of sexual violence against women and men during the war, and of women as militants. She draws on contemporary feminist analyses of violence to scrutinize international and local feminist writings on the war in former Yugoslavia. Demonstrating that some of the same essentialist ideas of gender and sexuality used to produce and reinforce the significance of ethnic differences during the war often have been invoked by feminists, she points out the political and theoretical drawbacks to grounding feminist strategies against violence in ideas of female victimhood.
For decades, the history of sexuality has been a multidisciplinary project serving competing agendas. Lesbian, gay, and queer scholars have produced powerful narratives by tracing the homosexual or queer subject as continuous or discontinuous. Yet organizing historical work around categories of identity as normal or abnormal often obscures how sexual matters were known or talked about in the past. Set against the backdrop of women’s work experiences, friendships, and communities during World War I, Disturbing Practices draws on a substantial body of new archival material to expose the roadblocks still present in current practices and imagine new alternatives.
In this landmark book, Laura Doan clarifies the ethical value and political purpose of identity history—and indeed its very capacity to give rise to innovative practices borne of sustained exchange between queer studies and critical history. Disturbing Practices insists on taking seriously the imperative to step outside the logic of identity to address questions as yet unasked about the modern sexual past.
Seizing the space opened by the early 1990s democratization movement, Muslim women are carving an active, influential, but often-overlooked role for themselves during a time of great change. Engaging Modernity provides a compelling portrait of Muslim women in Niger as they confronted the challenges and opportunities of the late twentieth century.
Based on thorough scholarly research and extensive fieldwork—including a wealth of interviews—Ousseina Alidou’s work offers insights into the meaning of modernity for Muslim women in Niger. Mixing biography with sociological data, social theory and linguistic analysis, this is a multilayered vision of political Islam, education, popular culture, and war and its aftermath. Alidou offers a gripping look at one of the Muslim world’s most powerful untold stories.
Runner-up, Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association, 2007
Reports from war zones often note the obscene victimization of women, who are frequently raped, tortured, beaten, and pressed into sexual servitude. Yet this reign of terror against women not only occurs during exceptional moments of social collapse, but during peacetime too. As this powerful book argues, violence against women should be understood as a systemic problem—one for which the state must be held accountable.
The twelve essays in Gender Violence in Peace and War present a continuum of cases where the state enables violence against women—from state-sponsored torture to lax prosecution of sexual assault. Some contributors uncover buried histories of state violence against women throughout the twentieth century, in locations as diverse as Ireland, Indonesia, and Guatemala. Others spotlight ongoing struggles to define the state’s role in preventing gendered violence, from domestic abuse policies in the Russian Federation to anti-trafficking laws in the United States.
Bringing together cutting-edge research from political science, history, gender studies, anthropology, and legal studies, this collection offers a comparative analysis of how the state facilitates, legitimates, and perpetuates gender violence worldwide. The contributors also offer vital insights into how states might adequately protect women’s rights in peacetime, as well as how to intervene when a state declares war on its female citizens.
To boost soldiers’ morale and remind them of the stakes of victory, the American military formalized a recreation program that sent respectable young women, along with famous entertainers, overseas. This history of the women who talked and listened, danced and sang, adds an intimate chapter to the story of war and its ties to life in peacetime.
From Aristophanes’ Lysistrata to the notorious Mata Hari and the legendary Tokyo Rose, stories of female betrayal during wartime have recurred throughout human history. The myth of Hanoi Jane, Jerry Lembcke argues, is simply the latest variation on this enduring theme. Like most of the iconic femmes fatales who came before, it is based on a real person, Jane Fonda. And also like its predecessors, it combines traces of fact with heavy doses of fiction to create a potent symbol of feminine perfidy—part erotic warrior-woman Barbarella, part savvy antiwar activist, and part powerful entrepreneur.
Hanoi Jane, the book, deconstructs Hanoi Jane, the myth, to locate its origins in the need of Americans to explain defeat in Vietnam through fantasies of home-front betrayal and the emasculation of the national will-to-war. Lembcke shows that the expression “Hanoi Jane” did not reach the eyes and ears of most Americans until five or six years after the end of the war in Vietnam. By then, anxieties about America’s declining global status and deteriorating economy were fueling a populist reaction that pointed to the loss of the war as the taproot of those problems. Blaming the antiwar movement for undermining the military’s resolve, many found in the imaginary Hanoi Jane the personification of their stab-in-the- back theories.
Ground zero of the myth was the city of Hanoi itself, which Jane Fonda had visited as a peace activist in July 1972. Rumors surrounding Fonda’s visits with U.S. POWs and radio broadcasts to troops combined to conjure allegations of treason that had cost American lives. That such tales were more imagined than real did not prevent them from insinuating themselves into public memory, where they have continued to infect American politics and culture.
Hanoi Jane is a book about the making of Hanoi Jane by those who saw a formidable threat in the Jane Fonda who supported soldiers and veterans opposed to the war they fought, in the postcolonial struggle of the Vietnamese people to make their own future, and in the movements of women everywhere for gender equality.
Sayre P. Sheldon chose the twentieth century for this collection of women's war writing because women's roles in war have changed dramatically in this century. The twentieth century has redefined the meaning of combat and expanded the territory of war to include women in larger numbers than ever before. When the technological advances of modern war began to target civilians, the home front became the front line. Women took an active part in war whether or not by choice, often by moving into occupations previously closed to them. Women covered wars for their newspapers, wrote war propaganda for their governments, published their wartime diaries, described fighting alongside men, and used wartime experience for their fiction and poetry.
Women writers also chose the right to imagine war, just as men for centuries had written about war without actually experiencing it. Women writers anthologized here include Anna Akhmatova, Vera Brittain, Gwendolyn Brooks, Willa Cather, Colette, Martha Gellhorn, H.D., Etty Hillesum, Käthe Kollwitz, Doris Lessing, Amy Lowell, Katherine Mansfield, Mary McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Dorothy Parker, Mary Lee Settle, Gertrude Stein, Huong Tram, Edith Wharton, Virginia Woolf, and Mitsuye Yamada.
How a Century of War Changed the Lives of Women looks at the remarkable impact of war on women in Britain. It shows how conflict has changed women’s lives and how those changes have put women at the centre of peace campaigning.
Lindsey German, one of the UK's leading anti-war activists and commentators, shows how women have played a central role in anti-war and peace movements, including the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The women themselves talk about how they overcame prejudice and difficulty to become active. The book integrates this experience with a historical overview, analysing the two world wars as catalysts of social change for women. It looks at how the changing nature of war, especially the involvement of civilians, increasingly involves significant numbers of women.
As well as providing an inspiring account of women's opposition to war, the book also tackles key contemporary developments, challenging negative assumptions about Muslim women and showing how anti-war movements are feeding into a broader desire to change society.
As warriors, freedom fighters and victims, as mothers, wives and prostitutes, and as creators and members of peace movements, women are inevitably caught up in the net of war. Yet women’s participation in warfare and peace campaigns has often been underestimated or ignored. Images of Women in Peace and War explores women’s relationships to war, peace, and revolution, from the Amazons, Inka and Boadicea, to women soldiers in South Africa, Mau Mau freedom fighters and the protestors at Greenham Common. The contributors consider not only the reality of women’s participation but also look at how their actions have been perceived and represented across cultures and through history. They examine how sexual imagery is constructed, how it is used to delineate women’s relation to warfare and how these images have sometimes been subverted in order to challenge the status quo. The book raises important questions about whether women have a special prerogative to promote peace and considers whether the experience of motherhood leads to a distinctive women’s position on war. The authors find that their analyses lead them to deal with arguments on the basic nature of the sexes and to reevaluate our concepts of “peace,” “war,” and “gender.”
In Idi Amin’s Shadow is a rich social history examining Ugandan women’s complex and sometimes paradoxical relationship to Amin’s military state. Based on more than one hundred interviews with women who survived the regime, as well as a wide range of primary sources, this book reveals how the violence of Amin’s militarism resulted in both opportunities and challenges for women. Some assumed positions of political power or became successful entrepreneurs, while others endured sexual assault or experienced the trauma of watching their brothers, husbands, or sons “disappeared” by the state’s security forces. In Idi Amin’s Shadow considers the crucial ways that gender informed and was informed by the ideology and practice of militarism in this period. By exploring this relationship, Alicia C. Decker offers a nuanced interpretation of Amin’s Uganda and the lives of the women who experienced and survived its violence.
Each chapter begins with the story of one woman whose experience illuminates some larger theme of the book. In this way, it becomes clear that the politics of military rule were highly relevant to women and gender relations, just as the politics of gender were central to militarism. By drawing upon critical security studies, feminist studies, and violence studies, Decker demonstrates that Amin’s dictatorship was far more complex and his rule much more strategic than most observers have ever imagined.
Arguably the most brutal crime committed by the Japanese military during the Asia-Pacific war was the forced mobilization of 50,000 to 200,000 Asian women to military brothels to sexually serve Japanese soldiers. The majority of these women died, unable to survive the ordeal. Those survivors who came back home kept silent about their brutal experiences for about fifty years. In the late 1980s, the women’s movement in South Korea helped start the redress movement for the victims, encouraging many survivors to come forward to tell what happened to them. With these testimonies, the redress movement gained strong support from the UN, the United States, and other Western countries.
Korean “Comfort Women” synthesizes the previous major findings about Japanese military sexual slavery and legal recommendations, and provides new findings about the issues “comfort women” faced for an English-language audience. It also examines the transnational redress movement, revealing that the Japanese government has tried to conceal the crime of sexual slavery and to resolve the women’s human rights issue with diplomacy and economic power.
American women did more than pursue roles as soldiers, doctors, and nurses during World War I. Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War reveals women’s motivations for fighting for full citizenship rights both on and off the battlefield. The war provided chances for women to participate in the military, but also in other male-dominated career paths.
Intense discussions of rape, methods of protecting women, and proper gender roles abound as Kimberly Jensen draws from rich case studies to show how female thinkers and activists wove wartime choices into long-standing debates about woman suffrage and economic parity. The war created new urgency in these debates, and Jensen forcefully presents the case of women participants and activists: women’s involvement in the obligation of citizens to defend the state validated their right of full female citizenship.
Somalia came to the world's attention in 1992 when television and newspapers began to report on the terrifyingly violent war and the famine that resulted. Half a million Somalis died that year, and over a million fled the country. Cameras followed US troops as they landed on the beaches at Mogadishu to lead what became an ill-fated UN intervention to end hunger and restore peace.
In this book, Somali women write and talk about the war, their experiences and the unacceptable choices they often faced. They explain clearly, in their own words, the changes, challenges – and sometimes the opportunities – that war brought, and how they coped with them.
Key themes include the slaughter and loss of men, who were the prime target for killings; rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war; changing roles in the family and within the pastoralist economy; women mobilising for peace; and leading social recovery in a war-torn society.
This book is not only an important record of women's experience of war, but also provides researchers and students of gender and conflict with rare first hand accounts highlighting the impact of war on gender relations, and women's struggle for equal political rights in a situation of state collapse.
In Traffic in Asian Women Laura Hyun Yi Kang demonstrates that the figure of "Asian women" functions as an analytic with which to understand the emergence, decline, and permutation of U.S. power/knowledge at the nexus of capitalism, state power, global governance, and knowledge production throughout the twentieth century. Kang analyzes the establishment, suppression, forgetting, and illegibility of the Japanese military "comfort system" (1932–1945) within that broader geohistorical arc. Although many have upheld the "comfort women" case as exemplary of both the past violation and the contemporary empowerment of Asian women, Kang argues that it has profoundly destabilized the imaginary unity and conceptual demarcation of the category. Kang traces how "Asian women" have been alternately distinguished and effaced as subjects of the traffic in women, sexual slavery, and violence against women. She also explores how specific modes of redress and justice were determined by several overlapping geopolitical and economic changes ranging from U.S.-guided movements of capital across Asia and the end of the Cold War to the emergence of new media technologies that facilitated the global circulation of "comfort women" stories.
War & Terror: Feminist Perspectives
Edited by Karen Alexander and Mary Hawkesworth University of Chicago Press, 2008 Library of Congress UB416.W37 2008 | Dewey Decimal 355.0201
Traditional academic investigations of war seldom link armed conflict to practices of racialization or gendering. War and Terror: Feminist Perspectives provides a deeper understanding of the raced-gendered logics, practices, and effects of war. Consisting of essays originally published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, this volume offers new insights into the complex dynamics of violent conflict and terror by investigating changing racial and gender formations within war zones and the collateral effects of war on race and gender dynamics in the context of two dozen armed struggles. Seldom-studied subjects such as the experiences of girl soldiers in Sierra Leone, female suicide bombers, and Pakistani mothers who recruit their sons for death missions are examined; women’s agency even under conditions of dire constraint is highlighted; and the complex interplay of gender, race, nation, culture, and religion is illuminated in this wide-ranging collection.
Women and War
Jean Bethke Elshtain University of Chicago Press, 1995 Library of Congress U21.5.E45 1995 | Dewey Decimal 303.6608042
Jean Elshtain examines how the myths of Man as "Just Warrior" and Woman as "Beautiful Soul" serve to recreate and secure women's social position as noncombatants and men's identity as warriors. Elshtain demonstrates how these myths are undermined by the reality of female bellicosity and sacrificial male love, as well as the moral imperatives of just wars.
Fought between India and what was then East and West Pakistan, the war of 1971 led to the creation of Bangladesh, where it is remembered as the War of Liberation. For India, the war represents a triumphant settling of scores with Pakistan. If the war is acknowledged in Pakistan, it is cast as an act of betrayal by the Bengalis. None of these nationalist histories convey the human cost of the war. Pakistani and Indian soldiers and Bengali militiamen raped and tortured women on a mass scale. In Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh, survivors tell their stories, revealing the power of speaking that deemed unspeakable. They talk of victimization—of rape, loss of status and citizenship, and the “war babies” born after 1971. The women also speak as agents of change, as social workers, caregivers, and wartime fighters. In the conclusion, men who terrorized women during the war recollect their wartime brutality and their postwar efforts to achieve a sense of humanity. Women, War, and the Making of Bangladesh sheds new light on the relationship among nation, history, and gender in postcolonial South Asia.