Feminist Theory and the Failures of Post-9/11 Freedom

Citation:

Anker, Elisabeth. 2012. “Feminist Theory and the Failures of Post-9/11 Freedom.” Politics & Gender 8 (02): 207–15. doi:10.1017/S1743923X12000177.

Author: Elisabeth Anker

Abstract:

After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, freedom was the dominant term used to describe the United States in national political discourse. It was articulated as sovereign power, unencumbered agency, and military triumph. “Freedom” eventually animated global violence, becoming a justification for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as for substantial increases in state surveillance. A significant body of feminist scholarship has interrogated the discourse of post-9/11 freedom, examining how the call to “free the women of Afghanistan and Iraq” legitimated the push for war (Bhattacharrya 2008; Marso 2007; Mohanty 2008). For these scholars, “freedom” transformed feminist concerns into tools of militarism and imperialism, while worsening living conditions of women across the globe. In this essay, I also examine the discourse of post-9/11 freedom from a feminist perspective, but I ask a different question: How can feminist political theory critique the discourse of American freedom and challenge its trajectory of sovereign and violent state power? In other words, I examine the discourse of Americans upholding their own freedom, rather than their quest to free others, and insist that feminist theoretical arguments are directly relevant to post-9/11 problematics.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Nationalism, Terrorism Regions: MENA, Americas, North America, Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, United States of America

Year: 2012

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