Carol Cohn

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Dr. Carol Cohn is the founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, and a leader in the scholarly community addressing issues of gender in global politics, armed conflict and security.  

Dr. Cohn’s research and writing has focused on gender and security issues ranging from work on the discourse of civilian nuclear defense intellectuals and U.S. national security elites to gender integration issues in the US military, feminist approaches to thinking about weapons of mass destruction, the gender dimensions of contemporary armed conflicts, the concept of “vulnerability” in security and humanitarian discourse, and gender mainstreaming in international peace and security institutions, including the passage of UN Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security  and the on-going efforts to ensure its implementation at the international, national, and grassroots levels. 

Dr. Cohn’s work has been published in a number of arenas in both the academic and policy world. Representative publications include:

  • Women and Wars (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013).

  • "Sex and Death in the Rational World of Defense Intellectuals," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 12, no. 4 (Summer 1987).

  • "Slick ‘ems, Glick ‘ems, Christmas Trees, and Cookie Cutters: Nuclear Language and How We Learned to Pat the Bomb," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, June 1987.

  • "Wars, Wimps, and Women: Talking Gender and Thinking War" in Gendering War Talk, edited by Miriam Cooke and Angela Woollacott (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).

  • A paper for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission head by Dr. Hans Blix, “The Relevance of Gender for Eliminating Weapons of Mass Destruction” (with Felicity Hill and Sara Ruddick), also published in Disarmament Diplomacy, issue no. 80, Autumn 2005.

  • "A Conversation with Cynthia Enloe: Feminists Look at Masculinity and Men Who Wage War," Signs vol. 28, no.4, p.1187-1207 (2003).

  • “A Feminist Ethical Perspective on Weapons of Mass Destruction,” (with Sara Ruddick) In Ethics and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Religious and Secular Perspectives, eds. Sohail H. Hashmi and Steven P. Lee (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)

  • “Motives and Methods: Using Multi-Cited Ethnography to Study National Security Discourses,” in Feminist Methodologies for International Relations, eds. Brooke Ackerly and Jacqui True, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).

  • "‘How can She Claim Equal Rights When She Doesn’t Have to Do as Many Pushups as I Do?’: The Framing of Men’s Opposition to Women’s Equality in the Military," Men and Masculinities, vol. 3, no.2 (October 2000).

  • "Gays in the Military: Texts and Subtexts," in The "Man Question" in International Relationsedited by Marysia Zalewski and Jane Parpart (Boulder, CO: Westview Press).

  • Women, Peace and Security: Resolution 1325," (with Helen Kinsella and Sheri Gibbings) International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 6, no. 1 (March 2004).

  • Feminist Peacemaking,” The Women’s Review of Books, vol. XXI, no.5 (February 2004), pp. 8-9.

  • "Mainstreaming Gender in UN Security Policy: A Path to Political Transformation?" in Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives, eds. Shirin M. Rai and Georgina Waylen (London: Palgrave, 2008).

In addition to her research, Dr. Cohn conducts training and workshops on 1325 and consults on gender mainstreaming and gender and organizational change. This work includes including a series of workshops at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), designed to help DPKO headquarters staff develop an Action Plan for implementing 1325 and mainstreaming gender in peacekeeping operations. Dr. Cohn has led other workshops on implementing 1325 for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; with women leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Melanesia, and Kosovo/a; and with the Iraqi Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights.

In addition to her research and policy consulting, Dr. Cohn is deeply committed to teaching in the area of gender and global security. She came to the position as Director of the Consortium after twenty years of teaching at the college and university level.  Most recently, she has offered a course at the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica on “Gender Mainstreaming in Peacekeeping Operations and Humanitarian Assistance.”

Dr. Cohn’s vision of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is as a go-to location for scholars, policy-makers, and practitioners interested in learning and teaching about gender and security. Dr. Cohn can be reached at

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