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Past Speaker Events

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Past Speaker Events

Global Norms and Local Action: The Campaigns to End Violence Against Women in Africa

Peace A. Medie

April 13, 2017

International organizations such as the United Nations have prioritized law reform in the campaign to end gender-based violence. This has resulted in the passage of progressive gender-based violence laws in many states that are recovering from conflict. With Liberia and CÔte d’Ivoire as case studies, this talk analyzes the role of international organizations and local women’s organizations in law enforcement at the domestic level. Drawing on over three hundred interviews conducted in both countries, Medie probes the relationship between international organizations and local women’s nongovernmental organizations and the influence that these two sets of actors have on police enforcement of gender-based violence laws. Medie argues that the engagement of the UN and of women’s organization has differed in both countries leading to variation in police responses at the street-level.

US Military Band of Brothers Culture and the Combat Exclusion for Women in a Trump Era

Megan MacKenzie

February 28, 2017

This presentation examines the band of brothers myth and how it informs US military policy. It also asks what a Trump presidency means for US military culture and for recent policy changes such as removing the combat exclusion for women and opening the military to transgender service members.

Gender Justice, Remedy and Reparation

Dyan Mazurana

April 27, 2016

Dyan Mazurana will discuss her research on the intersection of gender and women’s and children’s rights with processes of justice, remedy and reparation for serious crimes committed during armed conflict and under authoritarian regimes.  She’ll share findings from interviews with several hundred women and girl victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity and explore how their insights inform justice, remedy and reparation priorities and processes.
 

Demilitarizing Masculinities and Femininities: Reintegration of Former Combatants in Colombia

Roxanne Krystalli

April 6, 2016

While the ongoing Colombian peace talks are in the headlines, questions remain regarding the disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of former combatants. How can these processes better take into account the gendered experiences of militants during the conflict? In the political economy of conflict and peace-making, why might some of these fighters not want to demobilize and what makes some of them more vulnerable to recruitment by other armed groups?
 

Negotiating and Building Peace: What are the Consequences of Gendered Exclusions?

Claire Duncanson

March 23, 2016

Given the ways in which war is gendered - in its impacts and its drivers - it is unsurprising that the challenge of building peace also has many gendered aspects. Peace talks almost uniformly exclude the meaningful participation of women. And post-conflict reconstruction tends to be based on a set of economic prescriptions which are assumed to be gender-neutral but are anything but. Does it matter? This lecture will explore the causes and consequences of these gendered exclusions, examining their detrimental effects on both gender equality and sustainable peace.
 

Better Rhetoric, Less Resources: Gender Equality and the Sustainable Development Goals

Diane Elson

March 8, 2016

Sexual Violence in the Context of Armed Conflict’s Criminal, Corrupt and Violent Economies

Meredeth Turshen

February 24, 2016

Too often the literature on wartime violence against women emphasizes individualized violence in interpersonal contexts, neglecting the economic and political facts of the conflicts in which the attacks occur. Women's roles change in war zones; the informalisation of war economies offers women new opportunities but also exposes them to new dangers, repeated flight and relocation, capture and coerced labor. This talk reframes sexual violence using case studies of the extractive industries of Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which funded the regional conflicts.
 

Towards an Anti-Heroic History of Fiji Women Soldiers

Teresia Teaiwa

September 21, 2015

Fiji women have been enlisting in modern military forces since at least 1961; they first served in a colonial context with the British Army, and subsequently were admitted to the Fiji Military Forces in 1988. To date they have served in international operations in Sinai, Timor Leste, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. While Fiji women still constitute a very small minority in both the Fiji and British forces, Teresia Teaiwa’s research with them points to both the possibility and necessity of developing an anti-heroic account of their histories and experiences.  

 

Soap, Jeans, and Feminist Futures: “Corporate Social Responsibility” and Women’s Empowerment

Elisabeth Prügl

April 6, 2015

Over the last few years there has been a proliferation of women’s empowerment projects run by transnational consumer products companies, typically in partnership with public development actors. In this talk Elisabeth Prügl will argue that these projects are part of a broader process of neoliberalizing feminism. Under the label of ‘corporate social responsibility’ companies such as Unilever and Levi-Strauss invest in women in their supply and marketing chains, seeking to empower them within a neoliberal rationality of government, and finding benefits for both the women and the companies. Rather than dismissing such efforts as the cooptation of feminism, Prügl will propose that it is necessary to examine, in concrete contexts, the way in which select feminist movement ideas are being integrated into neoliberal rationales and logics, and to ask what is lost in the process and what is perhaps gained.

Occupations, Border­Crossings and Gender: Human Rights in Palestine, Kashmir and the U.S.-­Mexico Border

Isis Nusair, Deepti Misri and Luis F. Jiménez

March 3, 2015

This talk, presented by the Human Rights Minor in the College of Liberal Arts at UMass Boston, is co-sponsored with: the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights; Women's & Gender Studies; Asian Studies; Political Science; Economics; Philosophy; American Studies; History; Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance; William Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences; School of Global Inclusion and Social Development; Honors College; and Center for the Study of Humanities, Culture and Society.

The Political Economy of Displacement: Iraqi Women Refugees in Jordan and the USA Post-2003

Isis Nusair

March 2, 2015

This talk will focus on the political economy of displacement among Iraqi women refugees in Jordan and the USA since 2003, and the challenges they face as they transition from one country to the other to rebuild their lives. Isis Nusair will analyze the networks of support Iraqi women refugees employ to sustain their agency in this prolonged state of instability and displacement.

Women on the Front Line: The Political Economy of Ebola in Postwar West Africa

Kade Finnoff

February 25, 2015

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the most dangerous outbreak of an infectious disease since HIV in the early 1980s. In this talk, Kade Finnoff will use World Health Organization data to examine the gendered impact of Ebola and will argue that the disease epidemiology can only be understood through gendered analysis. Further, Finnoff will explore some of the gendered effects of postwar international financial assistance which prioritized the demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of male combatants while failing to invest in rebuilding a resilient health sector of Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Imagined Peace, Gender Relations and Post­Conflict Transformation: Anti­Colonial and Post­Cold War Conflicts

Jane L. Parpart

February 4, 2015

The gap between promises of a more gender equal future and realities on the ground during and after conflicts has become a critical concern of feminist security scholars and many policy makers. In this talk, Jane Parpart will argue that gendered experiences and understandings of war, as well as gendered imaginings of peace, both influence the gendered nature of postconflict transformations after anti-colonial and post-Cold War conflicts.

War Crimes, Justice and the Politics of Memory

Bina D’Costa

November 10, 2014

“We should recognize honestly that after decades of complexities, secret deals, and depraved politics, justice, though necessary and urgent, will be limited. Such limited justice can be morally justified only by a long-term commitment to truth. To prioritize truth, we must de-prioritize capital punishment.”
- Jalal Alamgir, “Truth, Not Punishment,” 2010
 
A violent war raging in South Asia in 1971 resulted in the creation of Bangladesh as a sovereign nation-state. Four decades on, Bangladesh has re-initiated a domestic war crimes trial process that contains its own power dynamics, exclusions and silences. Based on Jalal Alamgir's observations, this presentation weaves through divergent layers of the complex politicization of memory by various actors to recapture certain aspects of the normative contestation that underpins assertions of justice and questions of accountability and transparency as Bangladesh reckons with its past. It provides a brief background of the current impasse, the fractured process and the hierarchical nature of various international discursive interventions de-legitimizing the trials and considers popular protests in Shahbagh, Dhaka through which collective remembrance becomes a distinct and disputed social and political practice.
This event is being cosponsored by the Departments of Political Science; Asian Studies; Women's and Gender Studies; The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights; Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance; The Joiner Institute; the University Honors College.

“You Cannot Hold Two Watermelons in One Hand”: Securitizing Gender in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Bina D’Costa

November 10, 2014

In conflict zones, women's security becomes a highly politicized issue, often in counter-productive ways.  The roles and religious rights of women are highly contested and unsettled issues.  Based on recent fieldwork, this presentation analyses some of these debates within the context of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s security dynamics.  D’Costa will argue that a deliberate focus on the exclusion and limitation of women in Muslim and traditional societies sustains and reinforces the stereotypes of women as silent and silenced actors.  However, while the control of women within and beyond the nexus of patriarchal family-society-state is central to extremist ideologies, women’s vulnerability and insecurity increase in times of conflicts not only from the actions of the religious forces but also from “progressive,” “secular” international “humanitarian” interventions.

Gender Knowledge in the World Bank: Revisiting Cooptation

Elisabeth Prügl

October 27, 2014

When feminist knowledge enters development institutions it is translated in ways that scholars and activists have described as "cooptation." In this presentation Prügl will interrogate "cooptation" in two ways. First, she will identify the kinds of cooptations that characterize gender knowledge in the World Bank today, taking into consideration changes that have followed the post-Washington consensus and the financial crisis. Second, she will explore the processes of cooptation, i.e. what are the mechanisms through which cooptation happen and what are the effects they produce?

Why Is It So Hard to Get Women to the Peace Table? And Why Is That Not Even the Right Question?

Carol Cohn

October 22, 2014

The current "Women, Peace and Security" agenda in international policy and activist communities tends to focus on conflict-related sexual violence and women's political representation. In this talk, Cohn will explore the genesis of this severely constricted agenda, and argue that as the 15 year anniversary of UNSCR 1325 approaches, we need to rethink the kinds of research, knowledge and activism required for a truly transformative gender, peace and security praxis.  This talk will frame this year's Consortium focus on gendered political economies of war and peacebuilding.

"Women, Peace and Security" Policy's Skewed Focus on Sexual Violence: The Failure of a "Successful" Feminist Intervention?

Sam Cook

April 24, 2014

In recent years a plethora of UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security have been adopted, most of which focus on sexual violence in conflict. A view has emerged that this focus has undermined - and even been antithetical to - the intent of feminists who initially lobbied for Security Council resolution 1325.  Are there ways of thinking about how such "failures" or crises of feminist policy interventions emerge that go beyond claims of cooptation or "lack of political will"?  Is there something that can be learned from looking at the micro-practices of policymaking?

 

Carving out Space for Women in the Naga-Indian Peace Process: A Firsthand Account

Singmila Shimrah

April 17, 2014

Singmila Shimrah will report on her current work facilitating the ceasefire agreements and negotiations of Naga armed groups with the governments of India and Myanmar. Her talk will focus on Naga women's grassroots efforts to end six decades of occupation and armed conflict, and will emphasize the importance of carving out space for women's inclusion and leadership in ongoing Naga peace processes. 

Why Civil Resistance Works and Women's Catalytic Role: The Case of Syria and Beyond

Maria Stephan

March 12, 2014

Dr. Maria Stephan will discuss key findings from her co-authored book, Why Civil Resistance Works, while focusing on the unique and often seminal roles women play in nonviolent struggles.  She will share observations from her work with the Syrian opposition and facilitate a conversation about the role women can play in transforming violent conflicts – including the challenges they face, and the tactics and strategies they have used with varying results.

Rule of Law and Democracy in Russia

Sergey Golubok and Anton Burkov

March 10, 2014

Two courageous and prominent Russian human rights lawyers, Sergei Golubok and Anton Burkov, will be discussing their complementary strategies for transforming human rights practice and law in Russia. Mr. Golubok and Mr. Burkov will be sharing their experiences as front line human rights advocates in the currently deteriorating situation in Russia.

Cosponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, and the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development

Paternalism & Women's Political Participation in Sri Lanka

Malathi de Alwis

March 5, 2014

Feminist activism with regard to women's political participation in Sri Lanka has primarily focused on quotas to increase their numerical strength within political institutions. This emphasis on “bodies” has however precluded a deeper discussion on the lack of “voice.”

Photo Credit: AP/Eranga Jayawardena

Women's Economic Activities in Eastern DRC: Livelihoods Under Duress

Meredeth Turshen

February 20, 2014

Protracted conflict over three decades in eastern Congo has profoundly altered livelihoods—-not just the ways in which women and men earn their living, but also the social, community, legal, political, security, and economic environments in which people work. Congolese women cannot avoid putting themselves in dangerous situations if they are to earn money and feed their families, and their work in markets and mining exposes them to violence and sexual exploitation.

Military Engagement with Women, Peace and Security Issues: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?

Charlotte Isaksson

January 28, 2014

The United Nations Security Council first addressed the relation between women and war with its adoption of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security on October 31, 2000. In that resolution, and in international policy addressing women’s security ever since, the treatment of military actors is ambivalent.  UNSCR 1325 recognizes the harms women suffer at the hands of state militaries and non-state armed groups, but it also calls for greater participation of women in military peacekeeping forces.  Should advocates for women’s security, women’s political empowerment, and for sustainable peace see militaries as part of the problem, or part of the solution, or both?

 

Women's Economic Empowerment in Conflict and Post-Conflict Societies

Joy Ada Onyesoh

November 21, 2013

Women continue to face significant barriers to full participation in peace processes during and after conflict. Although the post-conflict moment creates a window of opportunity for redressing structural economic inequalities, the opportunity is often squandered.  Only a multi-sectoral approach that closely links women's economic empowerment to political and social empowerment can translate national and international policy frameworks into real change for women in conflict and post-conflict societies.

In the Town Where Youth Ruled Their Fathers: Experiments in Generational Time in Postwar Sierra Leone

Rosalind Shaw

September 24, 2013

In Magbonkani, a northern Sierra Leonean town under occupation during the civil war, young men were conscripted by troops from the former AFRC junta, stationed there, and placed in positions of authority over their own elders. I examine one such town, in which the generational, gendered spaces of family and community became a terrain in which authority was recast, hierarchies reconfigured, and young people desynchronized from the flow of lineage time and succession. Not only armed conflict but also the reconciliation practices promoted by the international community became vehicles for experimentation in rethinking generational relationships and crafting new life courses.

 

Restitución de Niños: A Conversation with Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo

Estela Barnes de Carlotto and Buscarita Roa

September 19, 2013

Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, one of Argentina’s most renowned human rights organizations, exposed the systematic abduction of children and falsification of their identities as a tactic of the “Dirty War.” Since the restoration of democracy in Argentina, the Grandmothers have continued to press to bring human rights abusers to justice. Their search has located scores of their missing grandchildren and restored their identities. The Grandmothers’ commitment to identity as a human right has inspired rights organizations throughout Latin America and the world.

Against All Odds: Naga Women’s Work to Transform Conflict and Build Peace through Seven Decades of Naga-India Conflict

Singmila Shimrah

April 10, 2013

Singmila Shimrah’s talk is based on her experiences as a Naga woman in military-occupied Nagalim of Northeast India. It focuses on the powerful ways that generations of Naga women have found to engage in peacebuilding, conflict prevention and transformation, despite the challenges of the ongoing, seven decade-long Naga-India conflict.

From Survival to Freedom: Evolving Strategies for the Reintegration of Women and Girls in the Aftermath of Sex Slavery

Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg

March 12, 2013

Sex slavery is very much in the media these days, often with an emphasis upon the spectacular moment of rescue.  While the moment of liberation is, of course, critical, this talk will explore the ongoing process of living into freedom for survivors of cross-border trafficking.  What political conditions create fertile ground for trafficking?  And what happens when survivors are repatriated to those very source regions-their homes-after having been "rescued"?  What options are available for reintegrating in a way that protects survivors from being re-trafficked or otherwise vulnerable to exploitation?  Reporting upon her work with the international NGO Made By Survivors, Elizabeth Goldberg explores the problems of poverty, political instability, and ongoing gender injustice that inform the current phenomenon of trafficking, while also sharing news from the field of long-term strategies for empowering survivors economically and socially to live fully into free, independent lives.

Gender and the Political Economy of Conflict: How Much do We Really Know?

Sonali Deraniyagala

February 21, 2013

The economic consequences of violent conflict typically differ for men and women. However, our understanding of how and why this differential impact arises is still limited, both at the conceptual and empirical level. Sonali Deraniyagala reviews what we do know about conflict and the political economy of gender, and argues that new research on war and women's economic position after conflict needs to be based on a better understanding of how conflict transforms entire economies in ways that are structural and long-term, and not just temporary “blips.”

Bring Me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Façade of American Empire, 1898 - 2001

Aaron Belkin

October 31, 2012

Reflecting on some of the unintended consequences of the successful campaign to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Aaron Belkin notes that the strategies he pursued required him to glorify both the military and American foreign policy more broadly, thus adding to the ever-increasing militarization of American culture and politics. He wrote the book Bring Me Men in an effort to have a countervailing effect. In it, he exposes the complex contradictory masculinities required by the American military, their profound effects on American culture, and their links to empire.

Inside UN Peacekeeping: Policy Changes that Work for Women

Nadine Puechguirbal and Cynthia Enloe

October 4, 2012

Nadine Puechguirbal, drawing on over a decade of experience working inside UN peacekeeping missions - and Cynthia Enloe, reflecting on her experience of trying to forge feminist questions about militarized politics - will candidly discuss the continuing impact of "gender blindness" on even well-meaning international organizations, as well as the daily challenges feminists face in keeping their integrity in peacekeeping and humanitarian work.

Maternal Protest in Argentina: Transforming the Global Human Rights Landscape

Lisa Baldez

April 17, 2012

When a handful of women first gathered to protest the disappearance of their children at the hands of the Argentine military government, they could not have predicted that their actions would change the global landscape of human rights. Why did the mobilization of mothers and grandmothers spur the formation of a powerful human rights movement in Argentina? Under what conditions will an appeal to motherhood generate a powerful political response?

Gendering the Arab Spring: Egyptian Women & (Counter) Revolutionary Processes

Nadje Al-Ali

March 28, 2012

Women and gender contestations have been central to both revolutionary and counter-revolutionary processes in Egypt since the beginning of the protest movement in January 2011. However, Egyptian women have a long history of political participation in opposition parties, trade unions, social movements and feminist organizations. Nadje Al-Ali explores women's roles and involvement in the protest movements and political transition, and discusses the backlash against women's rights and the various ways gender and sexuality are being used by the old regime to reassert authority and control. She pays particular attention to the practices and policies of both the Egyptian military and Islamist political parties. 

Women and Peace-building: Reflecting on the 2005 Aceh Peace Talks

Shadia Marhaban

February 29, 2012

Drawing on her experiences as a negotiator in the 2005 Aceh peace processes, Shadia Marhaban explores the consequences of excluding women from peace-building efforts and highlights the broad spectrum of benefits of including women’s rights and needs in negotiated settlements. 

Between Gender and Ethnicity: Women’s Rights and Identity Politics in the Andes

Jane Jaquette

December 1, 2011

In the Andean region, indigenous groups have become an important political force, even participating in rewriting constitutions. On gender issues, indigenous demands raise important issues for feminists, as women’s rights are understood within a cultural context of gender complementarity rather than gender equality. Jane Jaquette discusses the content of these debates and explores their implications for women’s rights. 

Leapfrog Feminism: Learning about Human Rights Institution Building from Local Actors

Julie Mertus

November 8, 2011

Drawing on 25 years of experience working with a host of governmental and nongovernmental human rights organizations, Julie Mertus explores the mistakes and successes in over two decades of human rights advocacy. 

Meherjaan (FILM SCREENING)

Rubaiyat Hossain, Jyoti Puri, Rakshanda Saleem and Elora Chowdhury

November 3, 2011

Set in the background of Bangladesh's independence war with Pakistan in 1971, the film Meherjaan (2011) tells the story of Meher, a woman who fell in love with a soldier from the enemy side during Bangladesh's war of independence, and her reconciliation with Sarah, a "war child" and Meher's niece, who was given away for adoption. Bangladeshi filmmaker Rubaiyat Hossain has been accused of making an “unhealthy, misguided and ‘untrue’ feature based on a pro-Pakistan fantasy.” In the face of strong criticism, and violent threats against the film’s crew, the distributors pulled Meherjaan from circulation within a month of its release. Hossain sees her film as an attempt to present a counter-narrative of the war that does justice to the complexity of the times, calling into question the established heroic and masculinist nationalist narrative that has dominated discourse about and representation of the war - a women’s “feminine” re-visiting of the Bangladesh national liberation.  Following the film screening, Hossain and an expert panel from the region discuss this highly controversial film.

 

Women Essential for Sustainable Peace

Anwarul K. Chowdhury

September 28, 2011

During his term as United Nations Security Council President, Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury played a critical role in the adoption of the groundbreaking UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Throughout the years since, he has continued to campaign for the resolution's increased implementation in the United Nations and the global community.  In this talk Ambassador Chowdhury addresses the essential role of women in the international community’s efforts toward building sustainable peace.

 

How Liberian Women Ended the Liberian Civil War

Leymah Roberta Gbowee

April 21, 2011

Liberian peace activist Leymah Roberta Gbowee led Christian and Muslim women in nonviolent actions that eventually forced the Charles Taylor government to create a peace process. Gbowee discusses the strategies employed by the women in this successful movement, revealing much of the thinking behind the activities documented in the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”

Women in the Sri Lankan War and Peace-building Process

Champika Soysa

April 14, 2011

The war in Sri Lanka raged for 26 years spanning the regime of four heads of state, before ending in May 2009. The war was fought over the establishment of a separate Tamil State of Ealam in the North-East of the country. Champika Soysa briefly outlines the factors and opportunities that precipitated the war, and then examines the many roles of Sri Lankan women in both the war and in peace-making, including the female cadre of the LTTE, the peace initiatives of the female head of state President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the women’s movements in the war-torn North and the South, and the impact of war on civilian women across the country. Finally, the challenges of moving from post-war to post-conflict status are addressed.

Strangers within Our Borders: Human (In)security in South Asia

Bina D’Costa and Kabita Chakma

April 5, 2011

D'Costa and Chakma’s work focuses on Rohingya and Muslim refugees from Burma and the internally displaced people (IDPs) of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. This talk highlights some of D'Costa and Chakma’s work with indigenous communities on issues of gender, displacement and peacebuilding within and across nations in South Asia.

Women and the Uprising in Egypt: Analysis from an Eyewitness

Margot Badran

March 28, 2011

What role did women have in the uprising in Egypt? In what ways did they organize and participate? Mainstream media coverage gives us little way to know the answers to these questions. Dr. Margot Badran, a scholar and activist focusing on women, gender, and feminisms in Islam and Muslim societies, shares her reflections as an eyewitness to the uprising.

Looking for the ‘Post’ in ‘Post-Conflict’: Challenges to Feminist Analysis and Practice

Ruth Jacobson

March 24, 2011

The term ‘post-conflict’ is now commonplace in the lexicon of security studies and peace building. In its earlier stages, this term reflected the ways in which the previous standard use of ‘post war’ had become inadequate to reflect post-Cold War trajectories. To this extent, it has been a useful tool for a gender analysis; for example, it allows an examination of the fluidity of boundaries around what constitutes ‘war.’ Ruth Jacobson argues, however, that more recent usage has expanded so far beyond its earlier relevance that it now serves to obscure rather than clarify salient features of the ‘post-conflict’ period, particularly around models of state building and governance within the project of ‘liberal peace.’  She goes on to demonstrate the conceptual challenges for feminist security analysis, and the constraints on practitioners in operational agencies.

Reconstructing Female Soldiers: Sex, Security, and Conjugal Order in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

Megan MacKenzie

February 8, 2011

Drawing on her fieldwork with female combatants in Sierra Leone, Megan MacKenzie explores the ways in which post-conflict reconstruction is a highly gendered process defined and imposed largely from the outside of so-called war-torn communities. The phase of transition between war and the so-called post-war period provides a unique opportunity to examine how social order is literally reconstructed through intervening actors, particularly international organizations and NGOs. Looking specifically at the ways in which female soldiers are described, depicted, categorized, and reconstructed by government agencies and international actors reveals a great deal about how Western liberal forms of conjugal order were reconstructed in Sierra Leone.

Rwandan Women Parliamentarians & Women Strike for Peace: Instrumental Femininity & Power

Catia Confortini and Laura Sjoberg

November 2, 2010

Is it accurate or morally acceptable to essentialize women as more peaceful than men? Many scholars have pointed at women's vulnerability in militarized contexts to argue that women have a particular interest in peace. Among peace activists, there have been women who have intentionally associated themselves with femininity and the peacefulness that is perceived as paired with it. Catia Confortini and Laura Sjoberg look both at women who have gained political power by claiming that women are more suited for the making and keeping of peace, and at elites who have turned political power over to women for these reasons, a phenomenon they call "the power of peace."

Gendering War and International Security

J. Ann Tickner

October 4, 2010

Theories and policy practices associated with war and international security have, for the most part, been a masculine domain. Women have stereotypically been associated with peace, and Women’s Studies as an academic discipline has tended to stay away from these issues. Ann Tickner offers some explanations as to why this is the case, and suggests some ways in which feminists in the discipline of International Relations have begun to bridge this divide, offering us some new ways to understand war and international security and their gendered practices.

Really Inconvenient Truths: Gender, Climate Change, and Environmental Security

Joni Seager

September 16, 2010

Joni Seager maps out feminist approaches to climate change. She believes it is critically important for feminists to engage with climate change because it is one of the largest frameworks for understanding what is going on in the world today -- however, relatively few feminists do. Conversely, it is critically important for people who work on climate change to engage with feminist analysis, but that conversation doesn't happen much. In the first part of Seager’s talk, she makes an argument about a particular framework that has come to dominate policy discourse on climate change; she then steps back to map a larger framework for feminist analysis.

 

On Bodily Traces and the ‘Disappeared’ in Sri Lanka

Malathi de Alwis

April 26, 2010

Forced disappearance is one of the most insidious forms of violence as it seeks to obliterate the body and forestalls closure. The lack of an identifiable body of evidence, as it were, not only confounds the investigations of those who seek the “disappeared” and thwarts the assigning of accountability, but also makes “chronic mourners” of those left behind. In this talk, Malathi de Alwis explains how such chronic mourners “reinhabit the world” in the face of continuously deferring loss, and what might be its political outcomes.

Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict: From Innovative Research to Innovative Policy?

Jennifer Leaning, Elisabeth Wood, Pamela Delargy and Jennifer Klot

April 12, 2010

Sexual violence in armed conflict is finally commanding international activist, media and policy attention. While this recognition of the problem is crucial, we are still a long way from knowing the best ways to reduce the incidence of sexual violence and to mitigate its consequences. Four prominent experts who are engaged in ground-breaking work across the research–policy–practice spectrum explore questions such as:

  • Under what circumstances does sexual violence become a major part of an armed group’s repertoire of violence, and when does it not?  
  • Why is it that some men eject women survivors of wartime sexual violence from their households and communities, while others do not?  What are the long term consequences at the community level?
  • What is the impact of policies that treat wartime sexual violence as distinct from other forms of wartime violence, from other dimensions of health, and from the sexual violence which occurs before and after wars?  

They also explore the methodological challenges of answering questions such as these, as well as how to bridge the gap between research and policy response.

Gendered Spaces of Displacement, Im/mobility and Livelihood: Forced Migration into Cities and Refugee Camps

Wenona Giles

March 10, 2010

Wenona Giles discusses the gendered relations of forced displacement to urban spaces, and assesses the attitude of the international community toward the current plight of refugees worldwide. 

Becoming and Being a Maoist in Nepal People’s War

Dyan Mazurana

February 9, 2010

Dyan Mazurana explains the ways in which men and women in Nepal become Maoist insurgents, explores what that experience is like. She emphasizes that insurgents have pre-existing identities that need to be transformed and they have to have experiences that have to be militarized. Just as becoming a soldier is not something natural, there are processes through which insurgencies bring in men and women, and those experiences of becoming insurgents are different for men and women, because of gender relations and constructs.

Refusing to Identify as Obedient Wives, Sacrificing Mothers, and Proud Warriors: Women Conscientious Objectors in Turkey

Ayşe Gül Altınay

November 10, 2009

In  recent years, a group of Turkish women who define themselves as “conscientious objectors” have begun to question the conventional identities -- obedient wives, sacrificing mothers, and proud warriors - available to women within the gendered, heterosexualized and militarized conception of Turkish citizenship. Ayşe Gül Altınay looks closely at the ways in which women are positioned within the framework of the myth of the military-nation and then considers the refusal of all three articulations of female citizenship by women conscientious objectors.

Film: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Amani El-Jack

March 24, 2009

This film is the gripping account of a group of brave and visionary women who demanded an end to Liberia’s decades old civil war. Combining contemporary interviews, archival images, and scenes of present-day Liberia, the film recounts the experiences and memories of the women who stood up to their country's political leaders and warlords in order to bring peace to Liberia. Amani El-Jack situates their important accomplishments within the broader context of African women’s peace activism. 

Media, Narratives of War and Practices of Masculinities in an Intersectional Perspective

Dubravka Zarkov

February 12, 2009

Dubravka Zarkov analyzes the ways in which various forms of violence against men (including sexual violence) in contemporary wars increasingly challenge feminist dichotomies of omnipotent violent masculinities and vulnerable femininities. Multiple vulnerabilities of specific groups of men in wars seem to be both ever more visible, and carefully tucked away from public eyes.  This talk uses intersectional analysis to ask what the visibility means, under which conditions does it appear, and what remains in the dark when media lights turn on to some of the male bodies?

Feminist Conceptualizations of War

Dubravka Zarkov

February 11, 2009

Dubravka Zarkov looks at the shifts in contemporary feminist conceptualizations of war, tracing the assumptions informing the theoretical approaches and focus of the research. The main questions she asks are: how does feminist theorizing relate to the contemporary geopolitics of the west?; and what can be learned from transnational feminist theoretical exchange?

Challenges of Post-Conflict Peacebuilding: A Dialogue on Violence, Gender and Security in Liberia

Serif Turgut and Sharon Abramowitz

April 8, 2008

With the end of the Liberian Civil War in 2003 and the subsequent election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the presidency of Liberia in 2005, international observers are debating the status of women as fighters, victims, political actors, and civil society actors in Liberia and across Africa. Using a structured conversation format, Serif Turgut and Sharon Abramowitz contrast academic and practical reflections on gender, post-conflict reconstruction, and humanitarian intervention from two foreign observers of gender and security in Liberia's post-conflict reconstruction.

Conduct and Discipline in UN Peacekeeping Operations: Culture, Political Economy and Gender

Catherine Lutz and Matthew Guttman

March 11, 2008

Sexual exploitation and abuse, particularly of girls and women, continues to be a significant problem in UN peacekeeping missions. Catherine Lutz and Matthew Guttman report on research into the cultural and political economic roots of the problem in Haiti, Lebanon, and Kosovo, focusing on culturally varying notions about masculinity and sexuality, as well as reluctance within DPKO to talk about national and cultural issues in dealing with the problem of sexual exploitation.

Gentle Invasions: NGO Funding and the Manipulation of Civil Society within Transitional States

Denise Horn

February 19, 2008

Denise Horn discusses the development of a new international regime in which hegemonic states have used funding for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to manipulate the development of civil society in transitional states. Through an examination of US funding strategies for women's NGOs within a sample of transitional states (Estonia, Moldova, and Thailand), Horn assesses the power of such strategies and the long-term effects they have had on the development of democratic norms within these states and regions.

Consulting Perpetrators of Political Violence: Protestant Women Paramilitaries and the Northern Irish Conflict

Sandy McEvoy

January 28, 2008

Sandy McEvoy addresss the unexplored and often overlooked topic of women’s participation in Protestant paramilitary organizations in Northern Ireland during the country's thirty year ethnic and religious conflict. Her talk is based on empirical data that she collected in Northern Ireland in 2006, during eight months of field research engaging with women members and supporters of Protestant paramilitary groups. 

Mothers, Monsters, and Whores: Women’s Violence in Global Politics

Laura Sjoberg

October 31, 2007

A woman did that? The general reaction to women's political violence is still one of shock and incomprehension. In this talk, Laura Sjoberg provides an empirical study of women’s violence in global politics, focusing on women’s involvement in genocide and ethnic conflict. She explores the ways that biological, psychological and sexualized gender stereotypes shape political understandings of women’s participation in terrorism and other forms of political violence.  

Between Dictatorship, Sanctions, War and Occupation: A Historical Perspective on Iraqi Women and Gender Relations

Nadje Al-Ali

April 16, 2007

Nadje Al-Ali explores the various ways women and gender relations have been constructed in Iraq from the 1970s until present day post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Providing a historical background into evolving gender ideologies and relations, the presentation attempts to shed light on the relationship between conflict, gender regimes, and changing subjectivities. Notions of masculinity and femininity have been actively addressed and shaped in the context of initially secular modernist state project of Saddam Hussein’s regime, the militarization of society during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), the Gulf War (1990-1991), the subsequent economic sanctions regime (1990-2003), the recent war (2003), as well as ongoing occupation and resistance. Against this historical background, Al-Ali discusses recent developments with respect to gender policies by the US and the UK, the Iraqi government and the resistance as well as the mobilization of Iraqi women activists inside Iraq and in the diaspora.

Feminist Perspectives on Peacekeeping and Peace Building

Cynthia Enloe and Jennifer Klot

April 11, 2007

In the fourth year of the US war in Iraq, it seems crucial to explore again what it is that feminist attentiveness and investigation can bring to a more realistic assessment of war-waging and alleged reconstruction. Cynthia Enloe examines the question of whether the US war in Iraq has any wider implications for feminists thinking about war-waging, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Although new concepts of security and new approaches to peacebuilding have created new opportunities to strengthen women’s security, their translation into policy and practice is not clear. Jennifer Klot’s remarks explore how new international arrangements for peacebuilding interpret and respond to women’s security as a part of their greatly expanded mandates encompassing political, military, development, humanitarian and human rights objectives. She also looks at the “reinvention” of global politics in the form of peacebuilding and post-conflict recovery and assesses the extent to which these tools are shaped by both the political and security dicta of bilateral donors and the multilateral processes through which they are negotiated. 

The “Threat” of Masculinity: Youth, Security Policy, and the Case of Rwanda

Marc Sommers

March 27, 2007

Why are male youth frequently seen as threats to their own societies? This presentation explores policy implications arising from the youth bulge thesis, gaps in development practice and recent research findings about masculinity and Rwandan youth. 

One Mandate, Many Policies: Lessons on Gender Mainstreaming in the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Food Programme, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations

Ramina Johal

March 5, 2007

The UN is mandated to apply gender mainstreaming in its work. In late 2006, the UN Secretary-General released two reports calling for greater synergy on such efforts. One report, "Delivering as One" places mainstreaming in the context of broader UN reforms; the other "Report on Progress of Implementing Resolution 1325" considers the peace and security agenda. In this talk Ramina Johal compares the ways that gender mainstreaming is operationalised in the UN World Food Programme, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, and explores ways to enhance their synergy from the context of refugee and displaced populations.

Gendering the War in Iraq

Laura Sjoberg

February 13, 2007

How have men and women been represented in Iraqi war discourses?  Laura Sjoberg examines the discourses used by national leaders, the media, and individual soldiers. Identifying the appearance of gendered stereotypes of men and women, she interrogates the role of these stereotypes in public understandings of the war.

Movement on the Margins: Livelihoods and Security in Kitgum District, Northern Uganda

Elizabeth Stites, Dyan Mazurana and Khristopher Carlson

January 30, 2007

The protracted conflict in northern Uganda has created profound insecurity, resulted in the widespread loss of agrarian livelihoods, and pushed nearly two million people into internal displacement camps. With the current cessation of hostilities between the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army and the government of Uganda, people are increasingly on the move. This presentation discusses the findings of a newly released field-based study by the Feinstein International Center. The study examines the livelihoods of households in Kitgum district and the adaptation of livelihood strategies in response to insecurity. Discussion includes an analysis of the major threats facing populations in Kitgum and the protective mechanisms employed by individuals, households and communities to mitigate their vulnerability to these threats.

Working to Promote 1325 in Israel: Opportunities and Challenges Facing Activist Women and Isha L’Isha

Paula Mills

November 29, 2006

Paula Mills explores the strategies used by activist women from the Isha L'Isha Haifa Feminist Center in Israel to create an environment for the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. UNSCR 1325, which was passed in October 2000, specifically addressed the impact of war on women and women's contributions to conflict resolution and sustainable peace. Activists have faced complex challenges when working to promote changes in the government and its policies. Awareness-raising work on 1325 has also had an impact upon the delicate fabric of cooperation between feminist activists, privileged Jewish women, marginalized Palestinian women, and citizens of Israel.

Women and Political Participation in Post-Saddam Iraq: A Test Case for Democratic Transition?

Nicola Pratt

November 20, 2006

Policymakers and practitioners are often keen to ensure women’s political participation in post-conflict transition processes. In recognition that women are differentially placed within social and political systems, policymakers are more and more adopting specially-designed measures to ensure women’s participation. In the case of Iraq, women’s political participation has been held up as one of the most important symbols of the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. In this talk Nicola Pratt examines and evaluates the different activities and strategies pursued by both internal and external actors to increase women’s political participation in post-Saddam Iraq.

Sexual Violence in Darfur and Efforts to Prevent and Punish Rape in War

Susannah Sirkin

November 1, 2006

Susannah Sirkin explores the obstacles to stopping rape in war, and Physicians for Human Rights’ (PHR) efforts to address the needs of the survivors in Darfur. She discusses PHR’s research in Sudan, their training project with Sudanese partners (doctors, lawyers, social workers, psychologists) addressing widespread sexual violence in conflict, and international efforts to prevent and punish rape in war.

Making International Justice Work for Rape Victims: Experiences from the ICTR

Binaifer Nowrojee

October 4, 2006

 

Binaifer Nowrojee examines international justice from the perspective of rape survivors from the Rwandan genocide, and exposes the squandered opportunities that have characterized sexual violence prosecutions over the past decade at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). She argues that the record of the ICTR is dismal, and that full and fair justice for women victims of the Rwandan genocide appears increasingly unlikely. Nowrojee highlights some of the shortcomings in international judicial processes that are structured without regard to providing justice, care, or protection to rape victims. Looking at international justice through the eyes of rape victims points to an urgent need to better ensure, as a priority, that international criminal courts neither overlook sexual violence crimes nor allow a judicial process that marginalizes, dehumanizes or demeans rape victims.

Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Missions: The Continuing Challenge

Sarah Martin

September 13, 2006

As the UN prepares to send thousands more peacekeepers to East Timor, a new report commissioned by the UN reveals a “culture of cover-up” in which babies born to peacekeepers and sex crimes committed by UN staff in East Timor over the past seven years have been kept secret.  Sarah Martin, author of Refugees International’s 2005 report, Must Boys Be Boys? Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Missions, charges that the culture of UN peacekeeping missions breeds a tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, and argues that the misconduct of peacekeepers compromises the UN’s ability to transform conflict and bring about stable peace.

HIV/AIDS, Armed Conflict, and Humanitarian Intervention

Ruth Jacobson

May 16, 2006

Ruth Jacobson builds on the feminist interrogation of 'security' by examining institutional responses to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the context of armed conflict and related humanitarian interventions. Her broader analysis draws on her field work in Sub-Saharan Africa and on NGO programmes addressing male sexual conduct in that region.

‘We Have to Do All the Pushing’: UN Gender Adviser Strategies for Implementing Gender Mainstreaming Policy in Peacekeeping Missions

Colleen Keaney-Mischel

April 24, 2006

Drawing on in-depth interviews with full-time UN gender advisers responsible for implementing UN gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping missions, Colleen Keaney-Mischel, outlines the various approaches the advisers take to their task and explores how they interpret their role within the missions. The discussion focuses on how advisers negotiate their relative lack of power in this setting and the potential for success that their actions have on the gender mainstreaming mandate.

Competing Masculinities: Probing Political Disputes as Acts of Violence against Women from Southern Sudan and Darfur

Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf

April 17, 2006

In this talk Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf focuses on gender-based violence and its mobilization by various actors within the Darfur region.  She identifies and discusses the major forces militating against women's rights in the context of Sudan's political disputes and explores the effects of political violence on women's rights. She also addresses the influence of good governance and democratization as avenues for the promotion of women's rights and sustainable peace. 

Gender and Accountability: Challenges for Reform in Developing States

Anne-Marie Goetz

April 10, 2006

A Conversation with Women Peacebuilders: Leymah Gbowee and Shobha Gautam

Leymah Roberta Gbowee and Shobha Gautam

March 8, 2006

Women Leaders in Armed Opposition Groups on War, Protection, and Obligations under International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law

Dyan Mazurana

February 22, 2006

Drawing on interviews and discussions with 32 women leaders from 18 armed opposition groups, Dyan Mazurana discusses the ways in which women and girls enter into armed opposition groups and their active participation within the groups. She addresses and analyzes the ways women and girls experience empowerment in armed opposition groups, and the ways they are disempowered. The presentation  also covers key disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) issues raised by the women. It concludes with an investigation into the potential gains and obstacles facing women and girls within armed groups and those wishing to work with them in promoting and enforcing international humanitarian and human rights law within armed opposition groups.

Must Boys Be Boys? Ending Sexual Exploitation & Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Missions

Sarah Martin

February 1, 2006

On October 18, 2005, Refugees International released a new report, “Must Boys Be Boys? Ending Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in UN Peacekeeping Missions.” The report charges that a culture has evolved within UN peacekeeping missions that breeds a tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, and argues that the misconduct of peacekeepers compromises the UN’s ability to transform conflict and bring about stable peace. Sarah Martin, the report’s author, discusses the scope of this problem and what can be done to resolve it.

Israeli and Palestinian Women Together and Apart: Reflections on Strategies for Dealing with Conflict and Promoting Peace

Lucy Nusseibeh

April 18, 2005

Militarism and the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor: Consequences for Women

Vijaya Joshi

March 28, 2005

In August 1999, the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly to end 25 years of brutal Indonesian rule and to become an independent nation. For the next two and half years, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) functioned as the de facto government, overseeing reconstruction, governance and the building of institutional capacity. In this climate East Timorese women's groups found UNTAET both an ally and an adversary to their organizing around women's issues. Drawing on frameworks as diverse as feminist international relations, post-conflict studies, and social movement theory, this talk explores the consequences for women's organizing when the UN plays the role of government.

HIV/AIDS, Gender, and Armed Conflict

Jennifer Klot

March 14, 2005

Women’s Contributions to Peace Processes: What Does the New Research Tell Us?

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini

February 9, 2005

 

In 2002, Women Waging Peace launched an ambitious field-based research program with the goal of producing 10-15 stand alone case studies on women's contributions to peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction, drawing on key themes including conflict prevention, peacemaking, and post conflict reconstruction. The cases range from women's roles in peacemaking to their influence on the ICTY, their role in shaping security sector reform in South Africa, contributions to disarmament programs in Sierra Leone, and governance in Rwanda. Sanam Naraghi Anderlini will present an overview of this research project, including its goals, lessons learnt in developing and conducting the research, key findings from the thematic case studies, the advocacy objectives and achievements of the venture, and future steps. 

 

Failing to Secure the Peace: Practical Gendered Lessons from Haiti & Iraq

Nadine Puechguirbal and Cynthia Enloe

October 26, 2004

Nadine Puechguirbal – Senior Gender Advisor, UN Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti 
Nadine Peuchguirbal has worked in the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in New York, and as a Gender Affairs Officer to the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  She comes to us directly from Haiti to reflect on the challenges of mainstreaming a gender perspective in the Haiti peacekeeping mission.

Cynthia Enloe – Research Professor of Women's Studies and International Development at Clark University
Cynthia Enloe is the author of many ground-breaking books, including Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (2001), Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives (1999), and The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War (1993). She will explore gendered questions that have been absent from the public discussion of the Abu Ghraib scandal, and their impact on the US’s ability to secure the peace in Iraq.

Working in the Field: Practitioners Discuss UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security

Carol Cohn, Nadine Puechguirbal, Nathalie Gahunga and Angela Raven-Roberts

April 26, 2004

Feminist Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Malathi de Alwis

February 23, 2004

Malathi de Alwis discusses trends in feminist peace activism in Sri Lanka, commenting on the strategies used and the influence of international donor agencies on the agendas of local peace activists.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, Three Years On: Gender, Security and Organizational Change

Felicity Hill, Carol Cohn and Cynthia Enloe

January 20, 2004

Felicity Hill, Carol Cohn, and Cynthia Enloe discuss the impact of UNSC Resolution 1325. Recognizing that 1325 breaks new ground by putting women squarely in the center of efforts to end armed conflicts and create sustainable peace, the speakers address questions such as: to what degree is this merely a rhetorical shift? To what degree has it resulted in a transformation of United Nations' policies and practices? What are the barriers to institutional change at the United Nations? 

Women Organizing in Iraq

Lina Abood, Sawsan Al-Barak, Ala Talabani and Maha Muna

November 8, 2003

The Current Situation of Women in Afghanistan

Parvina Nadjibulla

October 20, 2003

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