Book Release: Women and Wars

Monday, December 3, 2012 - 00:00

Women and Wars, edited by Carol Cohn (Polity Press, 2013) uses a feminist gender analytic framework to examine the diversity and complexity of women’s experiences of and agency in war and peacebuilding.  It aims to present the complex dynamics of contemporary warfare, of militarization and peace building, arguing that one can understand neither women’s relation to war nor war itself without understanding gender, and understanding the ways that war and gender are, in fact, mutually constitutive. Developing what Cynthia Enloe, in her Foreword, describes as a “sophisticated, up-to-date gender analytical tool kit,” the volume engages with the experiences of women and girls, men and boys, and more broadly, with constructions of masculinity in both peace and war; in so doing, it demonstrates that attention to the specificity of women’s and men’s lives helps us see that the familiar binary of “war and peace” obscures a far more complex reality. All the contributors have had first-hand experience of the challenges represented by a commitment to using their gender-analytical tool kit in conflict affected contexts, which informs their individual chapters.

The book includes a chapter developing an extensive conceptual framework for thinking about gender and armed conflict by Carol Cohn, followed by chapters on: Women and the Political Economy of War (Angela Raven-Roberts); Sexual Violence and Women's Health in War (Pamela DeLargy); Women as Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (Wenona Giles); Women’s Political Activism in the Face of War and Militarization (Carol Cohn & Ruth Jacobson); Women and State Military Forces (Jennifer G. Mathers); Women, Girls and Non-State Armed Opposition Groups (Dyan Mazurana); Women and Peace Processes (Malathi de Alwis, Julie Mertus & Tazreena Sajjad); Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (Dyan Mazurana & Linda Ekerbom Cole); and Women "After" Wars (Ruth Jacobson).

“To my mind, the very best academic work makes its reader sit up and take notice, either because the ideas are unfamiliar or because familiar ideas have been articulated in a new and engaging way. The individual chapters in this volume do both of these things, and as such it deserves to be well received and widely read.”

- Laura Shepherd, University of New South Wales


Reviews of Women and Wars

By Laura Shepherd:

By Christine Sylvester:

By Erika Cudworth:

By Katherine E. Brown:

By Jean Owen:

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