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“Unsound” Minds and Broken Bodies: the Detention of “Hardcore” Mau Mau Women at Kamiti and Gitamayu Detention Camps in Kenya, 1954–1960


Bruce-Lockhart, Katherine. 2014. “‘Unsound’ Minds and Broken Bodies: The Detention of ‘Hardcore’ Mau Mau Women at Kamiti and Gitamayu Detention Camps in Kenya, 1954–1960.” Journal of Eastern African Studies 8 (4): 590–608. doi:10.1080/17531055.2014.948148.

Author: Katherine Bruce-Lockhart


From 1954 to 1960, the British detained approximately 8000 women under the Emergency Powers imposed to combat the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya. Kamiti Detention Camp was the main site of women's incarceration, and its importance has been widely acknowledged by scholars. However, new documentary evidence released from the Hanslope Park Archive since 2011 has revealed the existence of a second camp established for women at Gitamayu, created in 1958 explicitly to deal with the remaining “hardcore” female detainees. This article examines the British struggle to contend with the hardcore Mau Mau women in the final years of the Emergency Period, one that was marked by uncertainty, violence, and an increasing reliance on ethno-psychiatry. Debates about how to deal with this group of women engaged and perplexed the highest levels of the colonial administration, generating tensions between legal, political, and medical officials. At the center of these debates was the question of the female detainees' sanity, with some officials pressing for these women to be classified as insane. The charge that hardcore women were “of unsound mind” was used for a variety of purposes in the late 1950s, including covering up the abuses in the camps. Examining the British approach to these detainees illuminates how ideas about gender, deviancy, and mental health shaped colonial practices of punishment.

Keywords: Mau Mau Rebellion, Kenya, colonial rule, violence, deviancy, ethnopsychiatry, detention, women

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2014

African Women's Movements in the Twentieth Century: A Hidden History


Berger, Iris. 2014. “African Women’s Movements in the Twentieth Century: A Hidden History.” African Studies Review 57 (3): 1–19. 


Author: Iris Berger


This article begins by exploring the efforts of African women’s movements from the 1990s onward to end violent civil conflicts and to insist on guarantees of gender equity in newly formed governments. It attempts to explain these recent successes first by examining the complex relationships between international women’s movements and African women’s groups from the Second World War onward, particularly from the era of the U.N. Decade for Women beginning in 1975. The article then turns to a broader problem: exploring the connections between contemporary women’s activism and deeper currents in African history that link the precolonial period with the more recent past. By examining a variety of twentieth-century women’s protests, it argues that cloaked in the language of political, economic, and environmental grievances, these movements also reflect a hidden history of women’s influence as public healers, empowered not only to cure individuals, but also to mend broader relationships in the community.

Keywords: women, empowerment, protest movements, healing, international women's movements, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Conflict Prevention, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Post-Conflict, Rights, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa, West Africa Countries: Kenya, Nigeria

Year: 2014

Gender, Globalization, and Violence: Postcolonial Conflict Zones


Ponzanesi, Sandra. 2014. Gender, Globalization, and Violence: Postcolonial Conflict Zones. Routledge.


Author: Sandra Ponzanesi


"This wide-ranging collection of essays elaborates on some of the most pressing issues in contemporary postcolonial society in their transition from conflict and contestation to dialogue and resolution. It explores from new angles questions of violent conflict, forced migration, trafficking and deportation, human rights, citizenship, transitional justice and cosmopolitanism. The volume focuses more specifically on the gendering of violence from a postcolonial perspective as it analyses unique cases that disrupt traditional visions of violence by including the history of empire and colony, and its legacies that continue to influence present-day configurations of gender, race, nationality, class and sexuality. Part One maps out the gendered and racialized contours of conflict zones, from war zones, prisons and refugee camps to peacekeeping missions and humanitarian aid, reframing the field and establishing connections between colonial legacies and postcolonial dynamics. Part Two explores how these conflict zones are played out not just outside but also within Europe, demonstrating that multicultural Europe is fraught with different legacies of violence and postcolonial melancholia. Part Three gives an idea of the kind of future that can be offered to post-conflict societies, defined as contact zones, by exploring opportunities for dialogue, restoration and reconciliation that can be envisaged from a gendered and postcolonial perspective through alternative feminist practices and the work of art and their redemptive power in mobilizing social change or increasing national healing processes. Though strongly anchored in postcolonial critique, the chapters draw from a range of traditions and expertise, including conflict studies, gender theory, visual studies, (new) media theory, sociology, race theory, international security studies and religion studies." (From WorldCat)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Citizenship, Class, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Globalization, Humanitarian Assistance, Justice, Transitional Justice, Peacekeeping, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Race, Religion, Sexuality, Trafficking, Violence Regions: Europe

Year: 2014

Living with the Fence: Militarization and Military Spaces on Guahan/Guam


Alexander, Ronni. 2016. “Living with the Fence: Militarization and Military Spaces on Guahan/Guam.” Gender, Place & Culture 23 (6): 869–82. doi:10.1080/0966369X.2015.1073697.


Author: Ronni Alexander


The landscape of Guahan/Guam, an organized unincorporated territory of the USA and the largest and southernmost island of the Mariana Islands archipelago, is visibly marked by chain link fences that enclose land taken for use by the US military. This US military presence on Guam is evidence of a long military colonial history that has stressed, particularly under US rule, the importance of the island's strategic location. The ‘fence,’ a frequently used but rarely defined expression, refers to a multiplicity of lines, most of which recreate a dichotomous view of military/local relations, and help to make invisible the complex web of identities that go through, over, and beyond its real and imagined spaces. Working from an understanding that theory must be grounded in experience, this article draws on interviews to explore the multiple meanings of the fence. It focuses on the ways the colonized, militarized, and gendered spaces of the fence promote US values, interests, and security concerns but also mark points of resistance to militarization and colonization. Exploring the ways colonization and militarization are played out on the bodies of those who live and work on the island, the article concludes that tearing down the ‘fence’ must include both demilitarization and decolonization, but in ways that transcend, rather than reproduce its present gendered and dichotomous spaces.

Keywords: Guam, gender, militarization, colonization, Chamoru

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization Regions: Oceania Countries: United States of America

Year: 2016

Bengal Border Revisited


Banerjee, Paula. 2012. “Bengal Border Revisited.” Journal of Borderlands Studies 27 (1): 31–44. doi:10.1080/08865655.2012.687208.

Author: Paula Banerjee


This article deals with the notion of how borders have a penchant for becoming a marker of security. The moment borders become securitized the question of flows across them acquires particular importance. In the colonial period this was marked by concern over dacoits, thugees and hooligans who crossed the district border at will. In the post-colonial period concern remains over undocumented migrants and whether their arrival threatens the nation form. Against this background the article addresses the notion of flows and increasing violence at the borders, fencing as the most recent marker of such violence and how women and the evolution of their relationship to the border is shaped through the discourses of violence.

Topics: Citizenship, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Analysis, Nationalism, Security, Human Security, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh, India

Year: 2012

Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial (In)securities, and Gender(ed) Representations in South Asia's Nuclear Policies


Das, Runa. 2010. “Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial (In)securities, and Gender(ed) Representations in South Asia’s Nuclear Policies.” Social Identities 16 (6): 717–40.

Author: Runa Das


Through a comparative study of India and Pakistan's national security discourses, this article explores the linkages between post-colonial India and Pakistan's nationalist/communalist identities, configurations of masculinities, and gendered representations underpinning their nuclear (in)securities. This paper contends that the colonial politics of place-making in the sub-continent has not only inscribed a process of ‘othering’ between these states but has also facilitated the rise of divergent visions of post-colonial nationalisms, which, at each of their phases and with particular configurations of masculinities, have used women's bodies to re-map India-Pakistan's borders and national (in)securities. This article particularly draws attention to a new form of gendered manipulation in South Asian politics in the late 1990s, whereby both states, embedded in colonial notions of religious/cultural masculinities, have relied on discourses of Hindu/Indian and Muslim/Pakistani women's violence and protection from the ‘other’ to pursue aggressive policies of nuclearization. It is at this conjectural moment of a Hinduicized and Islamicized nationalism (flamed by the contestations of a Hindu versus an Islamic masculinity) that one needs to provide a feminist re-interpretation of India-Pakistan's nationalist identities, gendered imaginaries, and their re-articulation of national (in)securities – that represents a religious/gendered ‘otherness’ in South Asia's nuclear policies.

Keywords: nationalism, communalism, gender, representations, nuclear insecurity, South Asian politics

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Pakistan

Year: 2010

Naga Women Making a Difference: Peace Building in Northeastern India


Manchanda, Rita. 2005. “Naga Women Making a Difference: Peace Building in Northeastern India.” Institute for Inclusive Security


Author: Rita Manchanda

Keywords: conflict prevention, negotiation, mediation

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Conflict Prevention, Gender, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Nonviolence, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes, Post-Conflict, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia

Year: 2005

The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, Citizenship in Postcolonial India


Sunder Rajan, Rajeswari. 2003. The Scandal of the State: Women, Law, Citizenship in Postcolonial India. Durham: Duke University Press.

Author: Rajeswari Sunder Rajan



"The Scandal of the State is a revealing study of the relationship between the postcolonial, democratic Indian nation-state and Indian women’s actual needs and lives. Well-known for her work combining feminist theory and postcolonial studies, Rajeswari Sunder Rajan shows how the state is central to understanding women’s identities and how, reciprocally, women and “women’s issues” affect the state’s role and function. She argues that in India law and citizenship define for women not only the scope of political rights but also cultural identity and everyday life. Sunder Rajan delineates the postcolonial state in implicit contrast with the “enlightened,” postfeminist neoliberal state in the West. Her analysis wrestles with complex social realities, taking into account the influence of age, ethnicity, religion, and class on individual and group identities as well as the shifting, heterogeneous nature of the state itself."


“The Scandal of the State develops through a series of compelling case studies, each of which centers around an incident exposing the contradictory position of the Indian state vis-à-vis its female citizens and, ultimately, the inadequacy of its commitment to women’s rights. Sunder Rajan focuses on the custody battle over a Muslim child bride, the compulsory sterilization of mentally retarded women in state institutional care, female infanticide in Tamilnadu, prostitution as labor rather than crime, and the surrender of the female outlaw Phoolan Devi. She also looks at the ways the Uniform Civil Code presented many women with a stark choice between allegiance to their religion and community or the secular assertion of individual rights. Rich with theoretical acumen and activist passion, The Scandal of the State is a powerful critique of the mutual dependence of women and the state on one another in the specific context of a postcolonial modernity.” (Duke University Press)


Perception, treatment, abuse, and exploitation of women are all described as effects of corruption.

Table of Contents:
Preface ix


Acknowledgments xiii


1. Introduction: Women, Citizenship, Law, and the Indian State 1


I. Women in Custody


2. The Ameena “Case”: The Female Citizen and Subject 41


3. Beyond the Hysterectomies Scandal: Women, the Institution, Family, and State 72


II. Women in Law 


4. The Prostitution Question(s): Female Agency, Sexuality, and Work 117


5. Women Between Community and State: Some Implications of the Uniform Civil Code Debates 147


III. Killing Women 


6. Children of the State?: Unwanted Girls in Rural Tamilnadu 177


7. Outlaw Woman: The Politics of Phoolan Devi’s Surrender, 1983 212


Notes 237


References 279


Index 301

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Corruption, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2003

Comfort Women During WWII: Are U.S. Courts a Final Resort for Justice?


Park, Byoungwook. 2002. “Comfort Women During WWII: Are U.S. Courts a Final Resort for Justice?” American University International Law Review 17 (2).

Author: Byoungwook Park

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Peacekeeping Regions: Africa Countries: Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda

Year: 2002

Reconsidering Women and Gender in Mining


Mercier, Laurie, and Jaclyn Gier. 2007. “Reconsidering Women and Gender in Mining.” History Compass 5 (3): 995–1001. doi:10.1111/j.1478-0542.2007.00398.x.

Authors: Laurie Mercier, Jaclyn Gier


This article examines the neglected role of women in mining, long believed to be the most ‘masculine’ of industries. The authors probe how the gendered nature of mining work evolved over time and in different parts of the world. Since the nineteenth century, colonialism, capitalism and cultural traditions have shaped gender roles for women and men in the world's mining communities. The article examines how even as men and women joined in militant protests against capital and the state, they struggled over appropriate roles in work, family and community.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Extractive Industries, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Livelihoods

Year: 2007


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