Political Participation

Emasculating America’s Linguistic Deterrent

Citation:

Cohn, Carol. 2019. “Emasculating America’s Linguistic Deterrent.” In Rocking the Ship of State: Toward a Feminist Peace Politics, edited by Adrienne Harris and Ynestra King, 153–70. New York: Routledge.

Author: Carol Cohn

Annotation:

Excerpts:

“I have three primary objectives in this project. The first is to describe, analyze, and explore the effects of technostrategic discourse – the language and ways of thinking that defense intellectuals have developed to speak about nuclear weapons, strategy, and warfare” (Cohn 2019, 154).

“My second objective goes beyond describing and understanding this discourse. Stated in the strongest possible terms, I wish to render this discourse 'impotent and obsolete' (to borrow a phrase from Ronald Reagan). I wish to expose its limits and distortions, its underlying assumptions and values, and the vast gaps between what it claims to do and what it actually does, so as to break its stranglehold on our scholarship, our policy decisions, our national political processes, and our imaginations” (Cohn 2019, 155).

“My third objective is to foster the development of more truly realistic, effective, and humane ways of thinking about international security and cooperation” (Cohn 2019, 155).

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Masculinity/ies, Peace and Security, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United States of America

Year: 2019

The Dead, the Living, and the Sacred: Patsy Mink, Antimilitarism, and Reimagining the Pacific World

Citation:

Wu, Judy Tzu-Chun. 2019. “The Dead, the Living, and the Sacred: Patsy Mink, Antimilitarism, and Reimagining the Pacific World.” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 18 (2): 304–31.

Author: Judy Tzu-Chun Wu

Abstract:

This article focuses on the antinuclear and antimilitarism politics of Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927–2002), the first Japanese American female lawyer in Hawai'i, the first woman of color to become a U.S. congressional representative, and the namesake for Title IX. During the late 1960s and 1970s, Mink challenged the use of the Pacific lands, waters, and peoples as sites of military experimentation, subject to nuclear and chemical testing as well as war games. Mink's political worldview, shaped by her experiences and understanding of the interconnectedness between human and nonhuman life as well as water and land, reflected a Pacific World sensibility. She worked with, but also articulated political priorities that differed from, indigenous peoples of the Pacific. Focusing on these connected yet divergent Pacific imaginaries provides an opportunity to explore the significance of these antimilitarism campaigns for the study of transnational feminisms as well as Asian American and Pacific Islander studies. First, the protests of Mink and Native Hawaiian activists against U.S. militarism in the Pacific represented gendered critiques of U.S. empire, although in different ways. Second, Mink's advocacy via political liberalism provided opportunities for coalition formation yet also constrained the range of her gendered arguments and limited possible solutions beyond the U.S. polity. Third, the coalitional possibilities and incommensurabilities reveal the points of convergence and divergence between Asian American demands for full inclusion and Pacific Islander calls for decolonization and sovereignty. (Abstract from original source)

Keywords: Patsy Takemoto Mink, Cold War militarism, Pacific World, liberalism, settler colonialism

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Environment, Gender, Gender Analysis, Women, Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Regions: Oceania Countries: United States of America

Year: 2019

Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960s

Citation:

Swerdlow, Amy. 1993. Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and Radical Politics in the 1960s. Women in Culture and Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Author: Amy Swerdlow

Annotation:

Summary:

Women Strike for Peace is the only historical account of this ground-breaking women’s movement. Amy Swerdlow, a founding member of WSP, restores to the historical record a significant chapter on American politics and women’s studies. Weaving together narrative and analysis, she traces WSP’s triumphs, problems, and legacy for the women’s movement and American society.

Women Strike for Peace began on November 1, 1961, when thousands of white, middle-class women walked out of their kitchens and off their jobs in a one-day protest against Soviet and American nuclear policies. The protest led to a national organization of women who fought against nuclear arms and U.S. intervention in Vietnam. While maintaining traditional maternal and feminine roles, members of WSP effectively challenged national policies—defeating a proposal for a NATO nuclear fleet, withstanding an investigation by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and sending one of its leaders to Congress as a peace candidate.

As a study of a dissident group grounded in prescribed female culture, and the struggle of its members to avoid being trapped within that culture, this book adds a crucial new dimension to women’s studies. In addition, this account of WSP’s success as a grass roots, nonhierarchical movement will be of great interest to historians, political scientists, and anyone interested in peace studies or conflict resolution. (Summary from publisher)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Peace and Security, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United States of America

Year: 1993

Pure Milk, Not Poison: Women Strike for Peace and the Test Ban Treaty of 1963

Citation:

Swerdlow, Amy. 2019. “Pure Milk, Not Poison: Women Strike for Peace and the Test Ban Treaty of 1963.” In Rocking The Ship Of State: Toward A Feminist Peace Politics, edited by Adrienne Harris and Ynestra King, 115–30. New York: Routledge.

Author: Amy Swerdlow

Abstract:

This chapter will examine the motherist rhetoric and tactics of Women Strike for Peace (WSP), a grass-roots, middle-class women's peace movement of the 1960s, in the context of the contemporary debate among scholars and activists regarding the relationship of female culture to radical politics and to the empowerment of women. This debate, in its most polarized form, pits the concept of female difference against the feminist goal of sexual equality. For feminist peace activists, a crucial question today is whether separatist peace groups, which make their appeal to women on the basis of their special connection to life preservation and moral guardianship, do not in the end undermine women's political power and even the cause of peace by reinforcing a gender system that encourages male violence in the family and the state.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Year: 2019

Promise Her Everything: The Nuclear Power Industry’s Agenda for Women

Citation:

Nelson, Lin. 1984. “Promise Her Everything: The Nuclear Power Industry’s Agenda for Women.” Feminist Studies 10 (2): 291–314.

Author: Lin Nelson

Annotation:

Excerpt:
“The purpose of this article is to examine in detail he campaign to cultivate nuclear consciousness among women—particularly through an industry-sponsored group called Nuclear Energy Women. But firs we need to place that campaign in the larger context of the nuclear industry’s efforts to sell its product as essential to the American way of life” (Nelson 1984, 293).

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United States of America

Year: 1984

The Road to Greenham Common: Feminism and Anti-Militarism in Britain since 1820

Citation:

Liddington, Jill. 1991. The Road to Greenham Common: Feminism and Anti-Militarism in Britain since 1820. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Author: Jill Liddington

Abstract:

In this volume, Liddington examines the power of feminists in organizing peace movements in Britain from the aftermath of the Nepoleonic Wars to the end of the Cold War. Examining their criticisms of Britain's many conflics during more than 150 years, Liddington—among other things—provides an understanding of the "long road" that led to the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s. (Abstract from GWonline)

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 1991

Preemptive Strikes: Women Strike for Peace, Antinuclear Pacifism, and the Movement for a Biological Democracy, 1961–1963.

Citation:

Ross, Andrew J. 2021. “Preemptive Strikes: Women Strike for Peace, Antinuclear Pacifism, and the Movement for a Biological Democracy, 1961–1963.” Peace & Change 46 (2): 164–82.

 

Author: Andrew Ross

Abstract:

This article examines the social, political, and environmental features of the Women Strike for Peace (WSP) movement from its inception in 1961 to the passage of the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) in 1963. I offer the analytical framework of “biological democracy” as a conceptual bridge between environmental and sociopolitical approaches to WSP. The movement’s gendered critiques of US foreign policymaking, its organizational structure, and its participation in the production and distribution of scientific knowledge demonstrate how progressive women used maternalist discourse to oppose US Cold War policies in the early-1960s. WSP participants leveraged their social proximity to the biological condition of the family as “givers and guardians” of life to dissent against the nuclear arms race, heighten female voices within Cold War geopolitics, and increase public awareness of the hazards of radioactive fallout caused by ongoing atmospheric nuclear weapons testing. By coopting conventions of maternalism and domesticity as justification for their cause, WSP women effectively mollified patriarchal and anti-communist attacks as they organized against Cold War militarism and nuclear irradiation. In so doing, they offered a vision of US democracy that responded to individualized, feminine activism and prioritized public health over nuclear armament.

Topics: Gender, Femininity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United States of America

Year: 2021

‘Basically Feminist’: Women Strike for Peace, Maternal Peace Activism, and Memory of the Women’s Peace Movement

Citation:

Coburn, Jon. 2021. “‘Basically Feminist’: Women Strike for Peace, Maternal Peace Activism, and Memory of the Women’s Peace Movement.” Journal of Women’s History 33 (2): 136–62.

Author: Jon Coburn

Abstract:

This article examines the varying historical expressions of activists in Women Strike for Peace (WSP) to assess how changing gender ideology and feminist beliefs influenced the memory of the women's peace movement. A transformation in collective identity occurred among WSPers in the late 1960s, causing the group to engage with the women's movement in a way that had not previously occurred. Exploring how activists understood their past, this article reveals that leaders revised their group's historical narrative to craft a collective memory that gave WSP a history of feminist activism. This is shown most prominently in the reappraisal of Bella Abzug and the histories produced by activist Amy Swerdlow. The article argues that interpretations of the history and memory of the women's peace movement must acknowledge how gender politics change over time. It asserts the significance of this transformation for historicizing feminist beliefs among women's peace activists.

Topics: Gender, Femininity/ies, Gender Roles, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United States of America

Year: 2021

Gender Perspective on Nuclear Weapons and Human Rights

Citation:

Venturini, Gabriella. 2018. “Gender Perspective on Nuclear Weapons and Human Rights.” Edited by Jonathan L. Black-Branch and Dieter Fleck. In Nuclear Non-Proliferation in International Law IV: 99–115. The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press.

Author: Gabriella Venturini

Abstract:

Gender perspective is currently being mainstreamed in the context of security, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. Since gender is not just about women and girls but also relates to men and boys, gender perspective must be balanced and take into account the broad socio-cultural context as a whole. The adverse effects of nuclear detonations may impinge on the right to life and encroach upon a number of other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights among which the right to family life, health, education, property and housing. It has become apparent that the use and testing of nuclear weapons affect differently men and boys, women and girls, both physically and in the context of society, hindering their ability to fully exercise their basic human rights. Gender-aware assistance is needed to contribute reducing the adverse consequences of nuclear detonations for the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Gender perspective may help redirect debates concerning nuclear weapons towards a greater consideration of human factors, and ultimately reshape the strategies for security, disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control. Women’s engagement in the struggle for peace and disarmament is extremely relevant and should gain more influence, while involving more women in nuclear issues, at both national and international level, could enhance the non-proliferation and disarmament agenda. However, only if women and men are able to work together within governments, international organisations and civil society with full awareness of, and respect for, their respective roles, diversities and needs, effective and sustainable solutions on issues of nuclear disarmament can be achieved.

Keywords: gender, women, human rights, nuclear weapons, nuclear disarmament, nuclear tests

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Discourses, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Peace and Security, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights, Property Rights, Women's Rights, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Year: 2018

A Continuum of Participation: Rethinking Tamil Women’s Political Participation and Agency in Post-War Sri Lanka

Citation:

Koens, Celeste, and Samanthi J. Gunawardana. 2021. “A Continuum of Participation: Rethinking Tamil Women’s Political Participation and Agency in Post-War Sri Lanka.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 23 (3): 463–84.

Authors: Celeste Koens, Samanthi J. Gunawardana

Abstract:

In post-war contexts, attention is given to women’s participation and barriers to their participation in formal processes (for example, peace talks, economic initiatives, and elections). Yet, women have engaged in various activities to exercise collective and individual agency to impact political participation. This article examines how Tamil women’s political participation in post-war Sri Lanka exists along a continuum, from formal participation within state structures and party politics to informal community participation. Scholarship about Tamil women’s political participation is framed within discourses of “militants,” “ex-combatants,” “political mothers,” or “victims.” Using narrative interviews, we argue that – based on their awareness of unequal gendered power relations, structures, and norms impacting their lives in post-war Sri Lanka – Tamil women in Mannar exercise agency to challenge these constraints and promote a broader transformative political arena. Some women attempt to expand the agency of others and to promote a collective voice through which women can be better represented in politics. Drawing on feminist international relations and gender and development knowledge, this study demonstrates how political agency is constituted within informal arenas, disrupting masculinist assumptions about who is considered a political actor and what counts as political agency by examining the spectrum of political participation in post-war contexts.

Keywords: political participation, Sri Lanka, post-war, gender, Tamil women

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Political Participation, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2021

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