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Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorists


Bloom, Mia. 2011. Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorists. London: Hurst Publishers.

Author: Mia Bloom


The ultimate stealth weapon, female terrorists kill on average four times more people than their male counterparts. But why are more women drawn to terrorism than ever before? Do women volunteer to be terrorists, or are they coerced? Does women’s participation in terrorism have any positive impact on their place in society?

In Bombshell, Mia Bloom seeks to understand what motivates women and to redress the gap in our understanding of women’s roles by interviewing women previously involved in terrorist groups. Bloom provides a unique and rare first-hand glimpse into the psychology, culture and social networks of women who become terrorists. Bombshell takes an in-depth look at women involved in terrorism in Chechnya, Colombia, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, the UK, and the USA.

Drawing on primary research and secondary literature, Bloom examines the increasing role of women in terrorism, and considers what it means for the societies from which they come.

(Hurst Publishers)

Keywords: gender studies, terrorism

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Terrorism Regions: Africa, MENA, East Africa, Americas, North America, South America, Asia, Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe, Central Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe Countries: Colombia, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America

Year: 2011

Motherhood, Myth and Gendered Agency in Political Violence


Åhäll, Linda. 2012. “Motherhood, Myth and Gendered Agency in Political Violence.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 14 (1): 103–20. doi:10.1080/14616742.2011.619781.

Author: Linda Åhäll


By building on theoretical insights from poststructuralist feminism and Roland Barthes' mythology framework, this article is offering a nuanced understanding of female agency in political violence by engaging with the visual and the cultural, by using a broader definition of agency in political violence and by analysing what gendered representations of war mean at the domestic level. In the first part of the article, the Myth of Motherhood is conceptualized as a meta-discourse disciplining representations of female agency in political violence. The article then focuses on two specific discourses within the meta-discourse, the Vacant Womb and the Deviant Womb, that inform understandings of gender, agency and political violence in one particular cultural artefact: the British television drama, Britz. The main argument is that motherhood is ‘everywhere’ in representations of female agency in political violence and that it is useful to think about motherhood as a myth. Only this way can we confront underlying norms, values and ideas believed to be common sense and think differently about gender, agency and political violence.

Keywords: gender, agency, political violence, motherhood, feminism, popular culture

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Violence

Year: 2012

Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey


Randall, Amy E. 2015. Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Author: Amy E. Randall


Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century brings together a collection of some of the finest genocide studies scholars in North America and Europe to examine gendered discourses, practices and experiences of ethnic cleansing and genocide in the 20th century. It includes essays focusing on the genocide in Rwanda, the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing and genocide in the former Yugoslavia.
The book looks at how historically- and culturally-specific ideas about reproduction, biology, and ethnic, national, racial and religious identity contributed to the possibility for and the unfolding of genocidal sexual violence, including mass rape. The book also considers how these ideas, in conjunction with discourses of femininity and masculinity, and understandings of female and male identities, contributed to perpetrators' tools and strategies for ethnic cleansing and genocide, as well as victims' experiences of these processes. This is an ideal text for any student looking to further understand the crucial topic of gender in genocide studies.
(Bloomsbury Academic)

Topics: Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Genocide, Sexual Violence, Rape, SV against men Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, Europe, Balkans, South Caucasus Countries: Armenia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2015

Investigating Outcomes of a Limited Gender Analysis of Enslavement in Post-Conflict Justice Processes


Mibenge, Chiseche. 2010. “Investigating Outcomes of a Limited Gender Analysis of Enslavement in Post-Conflict Justice Processes.” Journal of Peacebuilding & Development 5 (3): 34–46. doi:10.1080/15423166.2010.213451362255.

Author: Chiseche Mibenge


The image of women sex slaves or sexually violated women in armed conflict has begun to dominate and shape international interventions, including justice, peacebuilding and development processes in post-conflict societies. Such interventions respond to women as 'rape victims' when in fact women have more complex narratives of their wartime experiences – experiences that may indeed include rape but also embrace community leadership, anti-war protest, military training and economic profit from wartime livelihoods. Furthermore, an exclusive focus on 'sex crimes' precludes an analysis of femininity(ies) and masculinity(ies) and the ways these gender identities shape modes of violence and victimisation. This article provides a comparative overview of interdisciplinary research representing both narrow and broad gender analyses of enslavement as well as emerging legal definitions of enslavement provided by the case law, indictments and statutes of contemporary international tribunals in The Hague, Tokyo and Freetown respectively.

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Justice, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Sexual Violence, Sexual Slavery, SV against women, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Africa, West Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Japan, Netherlands, Sierra Leone

Year: 2010

We Will Make Meaning Out of This: Women’s Cultural Responses to the Red River Valley Flood


Enarson, Elaine. 2000. “We Will Make Meaning Out of This: Women’s Cultural Responses to the Red River Valley Flood.” International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 18 (1).

Author: Elaine Enarson


Recent work on gender relations in disasters focuses largely on women’s material experiences and vulnerabilities. This paper draws on cultural studies theory to interrogate gender symbolically in the context of a major U.S. flood. Based on analysis of cultural artifacts and “as well as interviews conducted for a larger study of women’s work in the 1997 Red River Valley flood, the author argues that women particularly employ grassroots popular culture to interpret disastrous events. A close reading of two flood quilts illustrates how interpersonal networks and traditional quilting skills helped women express gender-specific experiences and feelings, and convey an otherwise neglected ecofeminist critique of disaster vulnerability. The author concludes that women’s cultural responses to disasters afford a neglected angle of vision on human responses to catastrophe.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Femininity/ies Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2000

The Beautiful "Other": A Critical Examination of ‘Western’ Representations of Afghan Feminine Corporeal Modernity.


Fluri, Jennifer L. 2009. “The Beautiful ‘Other’: A Critical Examination of ‘Western’ Representations of Afghan Feminine Corporeal Modernity.” Gender, Place & Culture 16 (3): 241–57. doi:10.1080/09663690902836292.

Author: Jennifer L. Fluri


This paper examines corporeal modernity as part of the larger ‘savior and liberation’ trope produced for Afghan women by US-led military, political and economic intervention post-9/11. This savior trope has been identified as a co-optation of women's rights discourses and activism (Hunt 2002), a misguided approach to security through gendered scripts of masculine aggressive protection and female submission (Young 2003; Dowler 2002), and as yet another example in a long history of gendered tropes devised by colonial and imperial powers to save Muslim women (Abu Lughod 2002). This study adds to existing feminist critiques of US intervention in Afghanistan by examining the Beauty Academy of Kabul and the participation of Miss Afghanistan in the 2003 Miss Earth Pageant as particular lenses through which the economic and corporeal ‘liberation’ of Afghan women was presented in the US. This economic approach occurs at the site and scale of the body in order to (re)define corporeal modernity through corporate driven, heteronormative, and hegemonic beauty standards.

Keywords: corporeal modernity, Afghanistan, gender, body politics, economic development

Topics: Armed Conflict, Development, Economies, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Religion, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2009

Women and Change in Cyprus: Feminisms and Gender in Conflict


Hadjipavlou, Maria. 2010. Women and Change in Cyprus : Feminisms and Gender in Conflict. London, US: I.B.Tauris.

Author: Maria Hadjipavlou


Following its entry into the EU in 2004, Cyprus has become a major migrant destination.  The influx of migrant workers has introduced a more complex ethnic dynamic into a country traditionally considered in light of its history of conflict between its Greek and Turkish ethnic nationals. Maria Hadjipavlou argues that the focus on the 'national problem' in the contemporary history of Cyprus has prevented the creation of a central space in which Cypriot women can pursue women's rights and public visibility in a society that is patriarchal and militaristic (WorldCat).


Table of Contents


  1. Gender, Feminisms and Conflict
  2. Transformative Methodology and Social Change
  3. The Cyprus Conflict: Multiple Divisions and Lines of Separation
  4. The Private and Public Domains: Contradictions and Desires
  5. The Self and Other: Discrimination, Domination and Hegemony
  6. The Crossings: Unofficial Her-Stories
  7. Trans-Border Crossings: Cypriot Women's Liberation and the Margins
  8. Conclusion: The Challenges and Beyond


Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Cyprus

Year: 2010

The Gender Politics of the Namibian Liberation Struggle


Akawa, Martha, and Bience Gawanas. 2014. The Gender Politics of the Namibian Liberation Struggle. Basel Namibia Studies Series 13. Basel, Switzerland: Basler Afrika Bibliographien.

Authors: Martha Akawa, Bience Gawanas



Preface by Advocate Bience Gawanas



1. "There can be no national liberation without the full participation of women": The role and position of women in the liberation struggle

2. Idealized struggle? Public and Visual Representations of Women

3. Women and the SWAPO Refugee Camps

4. Sexual Politics in the Camps

5. Education and Training

6. "All has not been won. Not everything has been lost": Women in post-independent Namibia



List of Illustrations and Maps



Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Femininity/ies, Political Participation, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexuality, Violence Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Namibia

Year: 2014

American Occidentalism and the Agential Muslim Woman


Allison, Katherine. 2013. “American Occidentalism and the Agential Muslim Woman.” Review of International Studies 39 (3): 665–84.

Author: Katherine Allison


Through the War on Terror the United States developed a seemingly enlightened understanding of Muslim women. In contrast to Orientalised representations of Muslim women's passivity and victimisation within brutal Islamic cultures these emerging representations posit Muslim women in terms of their modernity and liberation. The emergence of this new Muslim woman illuminates an attempt to secure an Occidental self through the negotiation of conflicting impulses towards Islam. Islam is recognised as the repository from which the US enemy other emerges yet the WoT also reflects a particular desire for a cosmopolitan inclusivity. The presence of the Muslim woman acts to assuage these tensions. Her oppression confirms the barbarity of the enemy yet the combination of her intrinsic agency and religiosity posits her as an acceptable Islamic other whose presence confirms the pluralistic tolerance of the US and the universal validity of its project.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Femininity/ies Regions: Asia, Middle East, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2012

Security Sector Reform, Gender and Local Narratives in Burundi


Wilén, Nina. “Security Sector Reform, Gender and Local Narratives in Burundi.” Conflict, Security & Development 14, no. 3 (May 27, 2014): 331–54. doi:10.1080/14678802.2014.923152.

Author: Nina Wilén


This paper maps the difficulties with operationalising the gender discourse described in the peace accord and post-conflict documents, which guide Burundi's peace-building process, through local women's narratives from the security forces. The author claims that due to limited international and local investment, the local women involved in the security forces initiate small practical changes by referring to their vision of femininity, while theoretically legitimising these demands by linking them to the international human rights discourse in order to survive in an overwhelmingly masculine arena. International organisations and donors’ focus on traditionally feminine and softer areas, such as reconciliation and reintegration programmes, together with local elites’ tendency to view gender as an ‘add-on’ contribute to this development.

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Peacebuilding, Security Sector Reform Regions: Africa, Central Africa, East Africa Countries: Burundi

Year: 2014


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