Transforming Nationhood from within the Minefield: Arab Female Guerrilla Fighters and the Politics of Peace Poetics


Al-Samman, Hanadi. 2009. “Transforming Nationhood from within the Minefield: Arab Female Guerrilla Fighters and the Politics of Peace Poetics.” Women’s Studies International Forum 32 (5): 331–39. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2009.07.011.

Author: Hanadi Al-Samman


This research addresses the corpus of war narratives penned by Arab female authors in general, and Hamida Na'na', a Syrian writer in particular. In her novel The Homeland (1979), Na'na' examines the ways in which Arab female guerrilla fighters transform the concept of nationhood from a totalitarian “imagined community,” in Benedict Anderson's (1983) sense, to an all-encompassing, post-war, humanist rhetoric. The experience of the heroine as a former freedom fighter and highjacker convinces her to abandon organized patriarchal paradigms of violence that rely on the propagation of a sacred war myth, and to embrace a peace poetics model in the reconstruction of the national narrative. In the final analysis, the novel endorses post-modern, national definitions of citizenship that are built on the dialogue of words rather than guns—on the constant shifting and reshuffling of all centers of power so as to ensure equal participation of all fragmented and previously—excluded national selves including that of the feminine. The positionality, however, of this counter-feminine, national consciousness has to focus on centering itself in the homeland if it is to succeed in eliminating the hegemony of the essentialist, national narrative. Hence the insistence in this novel on homecoming, even if the first attempts are met with initial disappointments, and even if physical sacrifices leading to death have to be made. The only answer to transforming these essentialist dichotomies lies in deconstructing systematic, institutionalized patterns of violence from within, in advocating human love instead of sectarianism. This goal can only be accomplished if women act as active participants in the construction of a new, national, humanist, aural narrative, and not as voyeurs from the side-lines. Recent theories of location and nationhood such as those by Caren Kaplan (1996) are employed to frame the discussion of this novel and other related texts.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Women, Nationalism, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Peace Processes Regions: Asia, Middle East

Year: 2009

Palestinian Women in the Intifada: Fighting on Two Fronts


Kuttab, Eileen. 1993. “Palestinian Women in the Intifada: Fighting on Two Fronts.” Arab Studies Quarterly 15 (2): 1-69.

Author: Eileen Kuttab


"Focuses on the role of Palestinian women in the Intifada, the first Palestinian mass mobilization and culmination of resistance to the Israeli occupation. Historical overview of Palestinian women's participation in the national struggle; Democratization of the women's movement; Comparative perspective between the `old' and `new' women's movement; Platforms and agendas of the women's committees" (EBSCOhost).

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Occupation, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Nationalism Regions: Africa, MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 1993

Daughters of Palestine: Leading Women of the Palestinian National Movement


Kawar, Amal. 1996. Daughters of Palestine: Leading Women of the Palestinian National Movement. New York: SUNY Press.

Author: Amal Kawar



"Based on interviews of the PLO's top women leaders in the Palestinian diaspora and the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Daughters of Palestine provides the first examination of the full history of women's involvement in the Palestinian National Movement from the revolution in the mid-1960s to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in the early 1990s. Going beyond media imagery, Amal Kawar reviews the women's social and political backgrounds to explain how they overcame the traditional gender roles pervasive in Arab societies and became involved in politics. She then focuses on particular periods in the history of the Palestinian movement, as it moved from Jordan to Lebanon, Tunisia, and the Occupied Territories. Issues covered include women's nationalist activities, their relationship to the male leadership, the impact of crises, and the upsurge of the Islamist movement. A consistent theme of this investigation is how conflicts and crises, inside and outside the Palestinian arena, challenge and frame the success of women's nationalist work. Daughters of Palestine highlights the dilemma of national liberation struggles that both promote and co-opt women's liberation aspirations" (WorldCat). 


List of Figures



1. Three Generations of Women Leaders

2. AMMAN Early Years of Revolutionary Struggle

3. BEIRUT National Mobilization and Civil War

4. TUNIS Decline of Mobilization in the Palestinian Diaspora

5. JERUSALEM Women's Committees in the Occupied Territories


Appendix: Interview List




Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Occupation, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Nationalism, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories, Tunisia

Year: 1996

Algeria at a Crossroads: National Liberation, Islamization and Women


Cherifati-Merabtine, D. 1994. “Algeria at a Crossroads: National Liberation, Islamization and Women.” in Gender and National Identity, 192. London: Zed Books. 

Author: Doria Cherifati-Merabtine


"Gender politics exist inevitably in all Islamist movements that expect women to assume the burden of a largely male-defined tradition. Even in secular political movements in the Muslim world - notably those anti-colonial national liberation movements where women were actively involved- women have experiences since independence a general reversal of the gains made. This collection written by women from the countries concerned explores the gender dynamics of a variety of political movements with very different trajectories to reveal how nationalism, revolution and Islamization are all gendered processes. The authors explore women's experiences in the Algerian national liberation movement and more recently the fundamentalist FIS; similarly their involvement in the struggle to construct a Bengali national identity and independent Bangladeshi state; the events leading to the overthrow of the Shah and subsequent Islamization of Iran; revolution and civil war in Afghanistan; and the Palestinian Intifada. This book argues that in periods of rapid political change, women in Muslim societies are in reality central to efforts to construct a national identity" (University of Chicago Press). 



List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Glossary Note on Transliteration

Preface and Acknowledgements

1. Introduction and overview - Valentine M Moghadam

2. Feminine Militancy: Moudjahidates during and after the Algerian War - Cherifa Bouatta

3. Algeria at a crossroads: national liberation, Islamization and women - Doria Cherifati - Merabtine

4. National identity, fundamentalism and the women's movement in Bangladesh - Salma Sobhan

5. Reform, revolution and reaction: the trajectory of the 'Woman Question' in Afghanistan - Valentine M Moghadam

6. Modernity, Islamization, and women in Iran - Nayereh Tohidi

7. Nationalism and feminism: Palestinian women and the Intifada - No Going Back? - Nahla Abdo

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Women, Nationalism, Political Participation Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Algeria

Year: 1994

Migrant Women’s Transnationalism: Family Patterns and Policies: Migrant Women’s Transnationalism


Pajnik, Mojca, and Veronika Bajt. 2012. “Migrant Women’s Transnationalism: Family Patterns and Policies: Migrant Women’s Transnationalism.” International Migration 50 (5): 153–68. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.2010.00613.x.

Authors: Mojca Pajnik, Veronika Bajt


Whereas current policies on migration and integration are beginning to recognise family reunion as one of the most legitimate reasons for acceptance by a host society, they in most cases still do not account for the growing trend of feminisation of migration, and even rarely do they address specific migrants’ needs. As currently constituted, the integration bills envision a one-way process that places migrants into a position where they cannot question, but only accept and fulfil the predetermined requirements of integration plans. But who are the women that migrate, what influence do their transnational experiences have on their families, and how do migration policies envision the reality of increasing transnationalism? This paper focuses on biographical interviews with migrant women in Slovenia as a valuable method to question current integration measurements, applied here to explore female migrants’ experiences in transnational family life and social networks. A gender sensitive approach is applied that critically evaluates the specificities of family reunification policies, which define women migrants as dependent family members. We discuss life trajectories of women migrants, focusing the debate on their own experiences in and with family life. This new empirical material is used to theorise gaps in contemporary migration research. Women migrants’ own reflections of transnational family ties show a great variety of experiences and their narratives are a unique window into motivational, political, as well as legal dimensions of migration.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Gender Balance, Gendered Power Relations, Nationalism

Year: 2012

Can Transnational Feminist Solidarity Accommodate Nationalism? Reflections from the Case Study of Korean “Comfort Women”


Herr, Ranjoo Seodu. 2015. “Can Transnational Feminist Solidarity Accommodate Nationalism? Reflections from the Case Study of Korean ‘Comfort Women.’” Hypatia 31 (1): 41–57.

Author: Ranjoo Seodu Herr


This article aims to refute the “incompatibility thesis” that nationalism is incompatible with transnational feminist solidarity, as it fosters exclusionary practices, xenophobia, and racism among feminists with conflicting nationalist aspirations. I examine the plausibility of the incompatibility thesis by focusing on the controversy regarding just reparation for SecondWorld War “comfort women,” which is still unresolved. The Korean Council at the center ofthis controversy, which advocates for the rights of Korean former comfort women, has been criticized for its strident nationalism and held responsible for the stalemate. Consequently, the case of comfort women has been thought to exemplify the incompatibility thesis. I argue against this common feminist perception in three ways: first, those who subscribe to the incom-patibility thesis have misinterpreted facts surrounding the issue; second, the Korean Council’s nationalism is a version of “polycentric nationalism,” which avoids the problems of essentialist nationalism at the center of feminist concerns; and, third, transnational feminist solidarity is predicated on the idea of oppressed/marginalized women’s epistemic privilege and enjoins that feminists respect oppressed/marginalized women’s epistemic privilege. To the extent that oppressed/marginalized women’s voices are expressed in nationalist terms, I argue that feminists committed to transnational feminist solidarity must accommodate their nationalism.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Nationalism, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Sexual Slavery, SV against Women Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: North Korea, South Korea

Year: 2015

Trans-Local Communities in the Age of Transnationalism: Bosnians in Diaspora


Halilovich, Hariz. 2012. “Trans-Local Communities in the Age of Transnationalism: Bosnians in Diaspora: Trans-Local Communities: Bosnians in Diaspora.” International Migration 50 (1): 162–78. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.2011.00721.x.

Author: Hariz Halilovich


Today, Bosnians represent one of the newly emerging and the most widely dispersed diasporic communities from the Balkans. There are large communities of Bosnians living in almost every European country, as well as throughout North America and Australia. Most were displaced during the 1992–1995 Bosnian war, in which 2.2 million people were forced to leave their homes, 1.6 million of whom looked for refuge abroad. In contrast with, and in response to, the enforced displacement, many members of the Bosnian diaspora have retained strong family and other “informal” social ties with both Bosnians in other countries and those still living in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH, or Bosnia). Such ties – focused on preservation of cultural memory and performance of distinct local identities – form the basis of the global network of the Bosnian diaspora and its link with the original home (land). In this paper, I briefly outline the links and networks that constitute diaspora, and then go on to explore the extent to which recent scholarly literature is able to “capture” the uniqueness and complexity of the Bosnian diasporic communities in Australia, the United States (U.S.) and Europe. Finally, I attempt to define the concept of “trans-localism” and how it is (per)formed, and suggest that the predominantly “transnational” conceptual framework within the migration studies needs to be expanded to include “trans-local” diasporic identity formation among displaced Bosnians and similar diaspora groups.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Nationalism, Violence Regions: Europe, Balkans Countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina

Year: 2012

Gender, Culture and Work in Global Cities: Researching ‘Transnational’ Women


Joseph, Cynthia, and Catrin Lundström. 2013. “Gender, Culture and Work in Global Cities: Researching ‘Transnational’ Women.” Women’s Studies International Forum 36 (January): 1–4. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2012.10.009.

Authors: Cynthia Joseph, Catrin Lundström

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Nationalism

Year: 2013

No Permission to Cross: Cypriot Women’s Dialogue across the Divide


Hadjipavlou, Maria. 2006. “No Permission to Cross: Cypriot Women’s Dialogue across the Divide.” Gender, Place & Culture 13 (4): 329–51. doi:10.1080/09663690600808429.

Author: Maria Hadjipavlou


Much scholarly attention has been given to the study of the gendered aspect of ethno-national conflicts trying to understand the experiences of men and women in a conflict situation and to what extent these shape different types of intervention for peacemaking and peace-building. Are women's experiences of conflict different from men's? Do women have a different voice than the mainstream dominant discourses produced by patriarchal systems? Do women in conflict societies respond to militarism and the violation of human rights differently from men? Are women's needs for identity and peace different depending on which ethnic–religious group they belong to? Are their needs different from those of men? This article will try to answer the above questions focusing on a feminist understanding of conflict in Cyprus. The main contention put forward in the article is that gender is an important factor to take into account when conflict societies are engaging in peace processes. To this end, data are analysed from different inter-ethnic women's workshops in which the author was either a participant–observer, or a facilitator. This analysis of the data demonstrates that Greek and Turkish Cypriot women's voices and experiences are diverse and multiple. Both men and women are socialised in the same nationalist paradigms, a fact that can explain how in the initial phases of the dialogue processes both groups of women tended to reproduce official discourses. Their own experiences and differentiated voices began to emerge only after a gendered understanding of the conflict was introduced and trust and conflict resolution skills were instituted in the dialogue process. Drawing attention to the gradual shift of perspectives in the context of inter-ethnic workshops, the article concludes by arguing that women's dialogue can challenge the omnipotence of the state and may open up a new space whereby a diversity of perspectives and mutual trust can emerge.

Flying Away to the Other Side

Our birthplace is split in two and we

Are caught on barbed wire-hybrids

Turk and Greek alike

‘Is it December is it July

Choose your Side

Are you Turkish or Greek

There's no Purgatory in between’.

… … … … … … … … … … …

We cannot be from both Sides

Because we are two, one and the other

You refused to believe in

We are loneliness itself (M. Yashin 2000)

Topics: Civil Society, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Nationalism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Cyprus

Year: 2006

Between Memory and Desire: Gender and the Remembrance of War in Doi Moi Vietnam


Werner, Jayne S. 2006. “Between Memory and Desire: Gender and the Remembrance of War in Doi Moi Vietnam.” Gender, Place & Culture 13 (3): 303–15.

Author: Jayne S. Werner


This article explores how memory and desire narrate the remembrance of war in doi moi Vietnam through gendered representations. Based on a reading of texts, including fiction and a film shown on television, I argue that memory in wartime texts evokes a landscape of gendered desire and longing. Using Judith Butler's theory of gender melancholy, the article looks at how these texts serve a political project cultivated by the state to displace its own ideal authority.

Topics: Civil Society, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Discourses, Nationalism Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2006


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