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Outwhiting the White Guys: Men of Colour and Peacekeeping Violence


Razack, Sherene. 2002. "Outwhiting the White Guys: Men of Colour and Peacekeeping Violence." UMKC Law Review 71: 331-54.

Author: Sherene Razack


What can we know about men of colour who engage in acts of violence against lower status groups? Exploring this question in the context of the violence of Canadian peacekeepers who were on peacekeeping duties in Somalia in 1993, I critique Nancy Ehrenreich’s notion of “compensatory violence,” where men of colour are thought to compensate for their diminished status as men through engaging in acts of violence against lower status groups (in Ehrenreich’s examples, principally women, but also other men of colour). I offer some thoughts on how we might consider the violence of men of colour in the peacekeeping context without excusing, pathologising, or exceptionalizing their behaviour, and importantly, without obscuring the highly racial terms of the encounter between Candian peacekeepers and the Somali population. Instead of a compensatory framework, I propose an anti-colonial one. The terms and conditions of membership in a white nation include that men of colour must forget the racial violence that is done to them, as Abouli Farmanfarmaian observes. But passing as ‘ordinary’ men requires more than an act of forgetting. I suggest that joining the nation also requires that men actively perform a hegemonic masculinity in service of nation. Compensatory theorists suggest that men of colour have the most to gain from engaging in hegemonic practices such as violence. In this article, I argue that they have as much to gain as anyone else – no more and no less – and further, their investment in such hegemonic practices can also be undermined by their own experiences of violence. 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, International Organizations, Peacekeeping, Race, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, Americas, North America Countries: Canada, Somalia

Year: 2002

Adventurers, Foreign Women and Masculinity in the Colombian Wars of Independence


Brown, Matthew. 2005. “Adventurers, Foreign Women and Masculinity in the Colombian Wars of Independence.” Feminist Review, no. 79, 36-51.

Author: Matthew Brown


This paper examines changing conceptions of honour and masculinity during the Colombian Wars of Independence in the early 19th century. It explores the position of the foreign women who accompanied British and Irish expeditions to join the war against Spanish rule, and shows how colonial, imperial and republican conceptions of masculinity were affected by the role that women played in these volunteer expeditions and in the wars in general. The paper considers women's experiences during war and peace, and examines their experiences in the light of changing conceptions of masculinity at home, in the British empire and in Hispanic America in the early nineteenth century. The social mobility of the Wars of Independence shifted the ground on which these concepts rested for all groups involved. The participation of foreign women alongside male adventurers was a further ingredient in this disorientating period.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies Regions: Americas, South America Countries: Colombia

Year: 2005

Domesticity and Colonialism in Belgian Africa: Usumbura’s Foyer Social, 1946-1960


Hunt, Nancy Rose. 1990. “Domesticity and Colonialism in Belgian Africa: Usumbura’s Foyer Social, 1946-1960.” The Ideology of Mothering: Disruption and Reproduction of Patriarchy 15 (3): 447–74.

Author: Nancy Rose Hunt

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Governance, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa

Year: 1990

Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others


Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2002. “Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others.” American Anthropologist 104 (3): 783–90.

Author: Lila Abu-Lughod


This article explores the ethics of the current "War on Terrorism," asking whether anthropology, the discipline devoted to understanding and dealing with cultural difference, can provide us with critical purchase on the justifications made for American intervention in Afghanistan in terms of liberating, or saving, Afghan women. I look first at the dangers of reifying culture, apparent in the tendencies to plaster neat cultural icons like the Muslim woman over messy historical and political dynamics. Then, calling attention to the resonances of contemporary discourses on equality, freedom, and rights with earlier colonial and missionary rhetoric on Muslim women, I argue that we need to develop, instead, a serious appreciation of differences among women in the world—as products of different histories, expressions of different circumstances, and manifestations of differently structured desires. Further, I argue that rather than seeking to "save" others (with the superiority it implies and the violences it would entail) we might better think in terms of (1) working with them in situations that we recognize as always subject to historical transformation and (2) considering our own larger responsibilities to address the forms of global injustice that are powerful shapers of the worlds in which they find themselves. I develop many of these arguments about the limits of "cultural relativism" through a consideration of the burqa and the many meanings of veiling in the Muslim world.

Keywords: freedom

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Religion, Rights, Terrorism

Year: 2002

Women, Law and Human Rights in Southern Africa


Banda, Fareda. 2006. “Women, Law and Human Rights in Southern Africa.” Journal of Southern African Studies 32 (1): 13–27.

Author: Fareda Banda


This article examines the development of human rights in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It looks at personal laws and the attempts of parties in postcolonial states to deal with conflicts that arise between the dictates of state customary law, which may be discriminatory towards women, and the move towards embracing human rights with their focus on the removal of sex and gender-based discrimination. While it is clear that there has been enormous progress made in enshrining women's rights, the article urges caution, noting that there are limits to the law's power to change behaviour. Law cannot always provide a solution to discrimination rooted in socio-economic and cultural dispossession. The article is divided into four parts. Part one introduces the legal systems of the region. Part two offers a discussion of the different constitutional models illustrated by case law relating to inheritance. Part three provides an overview of the African engagement with human rights before moving on to consider the two Declarations of the SADC in dealing with gender-based discrimination and violence against women. Part four focuses on the rights contained within the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women, adopted by the African Union in July 2003.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Governance, Constitutions, International Organizations, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa

Year: 2006

Korean "Comfort Women": The Intersection of Colonial Power, Gender, and Class


Min, Pyong Gap. 2003. “Korean ‘Comfort Women’: The Intersection of Colonial Power, Gender, and Class.” Gender & Society 17 (6): 938–57.

Author: Pyong Gap Min


During the Asian and Pacific War (1937-45), the Japanese government mobilized approximately 200,000 Asian women to military brothels to sexually serve Japanese soldiers. The majority of these victims were unmarried young women from Korea, Japan’s colony at that time. In the early 1990s, Korean feminist leaders helped more than 200 Korean survivors of Japanese military sexual slavery to come forward to tell the truth, which has further accelerated the redress movement for the women. One major issue in the redress movement and research relating to the so-called “comfort women” issue is whether Japan’s colonization of Korea or gender hierarchy was a more fundamental cause of the Korean women’s suffering. Using an intersectional perspective, this article analyzes how colonial power, gender hierarchy, and class were inseparably tied together to make the victims’ lives miserable. By doing so, it shows that a one-sided emphasis on colonization or gender hierarchy will misrepresent the feminist political issue and misinterpret the “comfort women’s” experiences.

Keywords: sexual violence against women, colonial power, gender, class

Topics: Armed Conflict, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Sexual Slavery, SV against women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan, North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2003

The Future of Gender and Development after 9/11: Insights from Postcolonial Feminism and Transnationalism


Marchand, Marianne H. 2009. “The Future of Gender and Development after 9/11: Insights from Postcolonial Feminism and Transnationalism.” Third World Quarterly 30 (5): 921-35.

Author: Marianne H. Marchand


The area of gender and development has been a site of critical contributions to the field of development studies and has been characterised as bridging practice, policy and theory. Since the policy of gender mainstreaming has been accepted, however, much of the originality and issues raise by the gender and development field have been marginalised and excluded from the development (policy) agenda. Some even argue that gender has been written out of the post- 9/11 development agenda thanks to the new global security regime. This article goes beyond these debates and suggests new ways of thinking about gender and development. Instead of arguing that it is 'dead', I argue that it is the site of innovative and critical thinking about development issues in a transformed and globalised world. The starting point for my argument is the insights provided by postcolonial feminism and transnationalism. While the former has contributed to feminist theorising through such concepts as representation, 'othering' and the silencing of Third World women's voices, the latter helps us understand new global realities resulting from migrations and the creation of transnational communities.

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Development, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Mainstreaming

Year: 2009

Theoretical Intersections: Implications of Postcolonial and Feminist Theory to Our Understanding of and Teaching on Sexualised Violence in Contemporary Post-Colonial Conflicts


Kirkegaard, Ane M. 2007. "Theoretical Intersections: Implications of Postcolonial and Feminist Theory to Our Understanding of and Teaching on Sexualised Violence in Contemporary Post-Colonial Conflicts." Paper presented at the International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention, Chicago, February 28-March 3.

Author: Ane M. Kirkegaard


During the post-colonial India-Pakistan war of partition somewhere between 80.000 and 100.000 women were abducted and raped. That women were abducted and raped was not particular to the conflict. What was particular was the large number of victimised women and the subsequent official acknowledgement of the violence. Half a century later the world faced the consequences of two other post-colonial conflicts during which women were specifically targeted through organised abductions and rape on a mass scale. This time, however the world reacted by defining rape as a weapon of war and as a war crime for which organisers and executors of rape during war and conflict could be accused and sentenced at international courts of justice. Also, research on sexualised violence during war increased, in particular studies mapping sexualised violence against women during war and conflict. However, theoretical explanations are lacking in precision and clarity with the result that we are still badly equipped to understand the complexities of organised sexualised violence, as explanations for such violence are often grounded in outdated andro- and/or ethnocentric theories about male and female roles and behaviour. In this paper I will argue that we need to bring peace and conflict theory up to date through the introduction of contemporary postcolonial and feminist theory. Applied to the examples above the theoretical explanations for the massive abductions and rapes, in particular in the case of India/Pakistan in the late 1940s and Rwanda in 1994, must include an analysis of the colonial and post-colonial context and the sexualisation of the Other as part of colonial and post-colonial identity formation and the consequent image of the Others? Selves. Reading contemporary post-colonial conflicts at the intersection of peace, conflict, feminist and postcolonial theory has academic implications both in terms of research and teaching within the field of peace and conflict studies. The rather conservative androcentrism of traditional peace and conflict studies will through the introduction of feminist and postcolonial theory have to approach both gender and the consequences of colonialism as fundamental to contemporary conflicts and the new wars. The demands from students on the inclusion of such perspectives on teachers and researchers are growing but few are willing to take on the task of renewing the subject. My contribution to the ISA 2007 annual conference is hence focused on the exploration of the implications of the theoretical intersection of peace, conflict, feminist and postcolonial theory, and should be read both as academic politics?i.e. a reaction against the too slow awakening of researchers in this field? and as an engagement with demands from students of peace and conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence

Year: 2007

Noise Over Camouflaged Polygamy, Colonial Morality Taxation, and a Woman-Naming Crisis in Belgian Africa


Hunt, Nancy Rose. 1991. “Noise Over Camouflaged Polygamy, Colonial Morality Taxation, and a Woman-Naming Crisis in Belgian Africa.” The Journal of African History 32 (3): 471-94.

Author: Nancy Rose Hunt


This essay concerns the peculiarities and contradictions of colonial morality taxation and legislation in Belgian Africa, and especially highlights analytical and historical commonalities between anti-polygamy measures and the unusual Belgian practice of taxing urban unmarried women. More generally, it is about colonialism and moral crisis, historical evidence and camouflage, popular memory and silence, colonial name-giving, and name-calling. I cannot be the first to notice that where women most often appear in the colonial record is where moral panic surfaced, settled and festered. Prostitution, polygamy, adultery, concubinage and infertility are the loci of such angst throughout the historical record of Belgian African colonial regimes, and one sometimes feels hard pressed to find women anywhere else. Yet moral crises did not always emerge due to the (perceived) customs and actions of the colonized. They also erupted from colonial policy and law itself, from the insight (or hindsight) that colonial policy was misconcerived or bred dangerous contradictory consequences. I begin in the midst of one kind of colonial noise: an historically shifting crisis in Belgian Africa over plural wives, and loud colonial debates over moral taxation and how best to preserve 'custom' while eradicating polygamy. This will serve as the context for considering another related, though temporally and geographically more confined crisis: the rebellion in the 1950s of Swahili women against the single women's tax in colonial Bujumbura. This local crisis also became noisy. Yet here the noise erupted as volatile African outrage, and its contrast betrays the embarassed silence and muted debates among colonial authorities over the contradictions and failings of moral taxation and policing measues. 

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Governance, Livelihoods, Sexual livelihoods, Political Economies, Political Participation, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 1991

‘Le Bebe En Brousse’: European Women, African Birth Spacing and Colonial Intervention in Breast Feeding in the Belgian Congo


Hunt, Nancy Rose. 1988. “‘Le Bebe En Brousse’: European Women, African Birth Spacing and Colonial Intervention in Breast Feeding in the Belgian Congo.” The International Journal of African Historical Studies 21 (3): 401-32.

Author: Nancy Rose Hunt

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Health, Reproductive Health Regions: Africa, Central Africa, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Year: 1988


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