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Feminism and War

Feminism and War

Robin Riley | Chandra Talpade Mohanty | Minnie Bruce Pratt | Judy Rohrer | Micere Mugo | Berta Joubert-Ceci | Shahnaz Khan | Zillah Eisenstein | Isis Nusair | Cynthia Enloe | Angela Davis | Jennifer Hyndman | Patricia McFadden | Linda Carty | Nadine Sinno | Huibin Amelia Chew | Leslie Cagan | Elizabether Philipose | Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz | Nellie Hester Bailey | Berenice Malka Fisher


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Book Details


Women across the globe are being dramatically affected by war as currently waged by the USA. But there has been little public space for dialogue about the complex relationship between feminism, women, and war. The editors of Feminism and War have brought together a diverse set of leading theorists and activists who examine the questions raised by ongoing American military initiatives, such as: What are the implications of an imperial nation/state laying claim to women's liberation? What is the relation between this claim and resulting American foreign policy and military action? Did American intervention and invasion in fact result in liberation for women in Afghanistan and Iraq? What multiple concepts are embedded in the phrase "women’s liberation"? How are these connected to the specifics of religion, culture, history, economics, and nation within current conflicts? What is the relation between the lives of Afghan and Iraqi women before and after invasion, and that of women living in the US? How do women who define themselves as feminists resist or acquiesce to this nation/state claim in current theory and organizing? Feminism and War reveals and critically analyzes the complicated ways in which America uses gender, race, class, nationalism, imperialism to justify, legitimate, and continue war. Each chapter builds on the next to develop an anti-racist, feminist politics that places imperialist power, and forms of resistance to it, central to its comprehensive analysis.
Robin Riley is Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Syracuse University. She is co-editor of Interrogating Imperialism: Conversations on Gender, Race & War (2006). Robin is currently working on a project on how US college students think and talk about the war on Iraq. Chandra Talpade Mohanty is Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Dean's Professor of the Humanities at Syracuse University. Mohanty is author of Feminism Without Borders (2003), co-editor of Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism (1991), and Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures (1997).She works with two grassroots community organizations, Grassroots Leadership of North Carolina, and the Center for Immigrant Families in New York City. Minnie Bruce Pratt is Professor of Women's & Gender Studies and Writing at Syracuse University, and a member of the editorial board of Feminist Studies. Her essay, Identity: Skin, Blood, Heart has become a feminist classic. She is the author of six books of poetry, including Walking Back Up Depot Street (1999) and The Dirt She Ate (2004); and the recipient of many awards, including the Lamont Poetry Selection by the Academy of American Poets, the American Library Association's Stonewall Award, and a Lambda Literary Award. Her book of creative nonfiction, S/HE explores the interconnections between women's liberation and transgender lives. Since coming out as a lesbian in 1975, Pratt has been active in women's issues, anti-racist work, and anti-imperialist initiatives.
'A cogent, passionate and damning anti-racist feminist exposè and dissection of the politics of contemporary US warmongering and its devastating impacts. An essential reference point for all those committed to mobilising against imperialist capitalism, war and globalisation.' Ailbhe Smyth, Women's Studies

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Acknowledgments vii
Introduction: feminism and US wars – mapping the ground 1
On anti-imperialist feminisms 3
Gendered bodies and US wars 5
Complicity, consequences, and claims 9
A call to thought … and action 13
Notes 14
References 15
ONE | Feminist geopolitics of war 17
1 | A vocabulary for feminist praxis: on war and radical critique 19
2 | Resexing militarism for the globe 27
Remilitarizing daily life 28
Militarizing gender 32
Rape as gendered war 37
Patriarchy, suicide bombers, and war 39
Women’s rights and the military police 42
Continuing onward 43
References 44
3 | Feminists and queers in the service of empire 47
References 55
4 | Interrogating Americana: an African feminist critique 56
Feminist critique and the US imperial state 57
Africa, the politics of ‘rescue,’ and US feminisms 62
References 66
In praise of Afrika’s children 68
5 | What’s left? After ‘imperial feminist’ hijackings 75
Whose lives are we looking at? Whose lives are we valuing? 75
The economics of patriarchy 75
The coercion of sexual commodification 76
Sexual violence, domestic violence, violence against women 77
Hetero-patriarchy and military effectiveness 79
Reproductive injustice 80
Occupation is not women’s liberation 80
Feminism in the belly of the beast 81
The cost of sexist bias in progressive organizing 84
The personal is systemic: putting the politics back into anti-violence work 85
Our struggles must inform each other 86
Community-based organizing 87
Conclusion 87
References 89
TWO | Feminists mobilizing critiques of war 91
6 | Women-of-color veterans on war, militarism, and feminism 93
Assimilation and (not) belonging 94
Abu Ghraib and US culture 97
Feminism and militarism 99
The cycle of genocide 101
References 102
7 | Decolonizing the racial grammar of international law 103
The alibi function of international law 104
Sovereign impulses of international law 107
The alibi function of torture 108
The colonial occupation of Iraq 109
The regulation and governance of sexuality 111
Mission accomplished: an agenda for transnational feminism 113
References 114
8 | The other v-word: the politics of victimhood fueling George W. Bush’s war machine 117
Victim is a woman and women are victims 118
The victimizer is a victimist 120
The nation as victim 122
Refusing victimhood 124
The body in pain 126
Refusing society 128
References 129
9 | Deconstructing the myth of liberation @ 131
References 142
10 | ‘Rallying public opinion’ and other misuses of feminism 143
Women, gender, and violence 143
Setting the stage: Afghan women and the US burqa fetish 145
Bombs do not distinguish by gender 148
Security, priority, and (re)construction in Afghanistan 152
References 155
THREE | Women’s struggles and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan 159
11 | Afghan women: the limits of colonial rescue 161
Afghanistan: history and geopolitics 163
Cold war politics and its aftermath 164
Current situation 166
The plight of ‘rescued’ women 168
The road ahead 170
Conclusion 172
References 175
12 | Gendered, racialized, and sexualized torture at Abu Ghraib 179
The war on terrorism and the representation of the other 179
Constructing the other at Abu Ghraib 180
Cultural difference: the Arab mind 181
Racial and sexual difference: the Arab body 182
Orientalizing the veil 185
Unveiling and penetrating bodies and minds at Abu Ghraib 186
Note 191
References 191
13 | Whose bodies count? Feminist geopolitics and lessons from Iraq 194
Feminist geopolitics 196
The two wars: from Afghanistan to Iraq 197
Making a difference? 200
The end of a trilogy: without closure 202
Note 205
References 205
14 | ‘Freedom for women’: stories of Baghdad and New York 207
First question: does freedom emerge through opportunity plus education? 207
Second question: do our desires lead us toward greater freedom? 210
The third question: is freedom made possible by our connections with others – and which others? 212
Acknowledgments 214
Main sources 215
The war on Iraq 216
FOUR | Feminists organizing against imperialism and war 217
15 | Violence against women: the US war on women 219
References 223
16 | ‘We say code pink’: feminist direct action and the ‘war on terror’ 224
Feminist direct action in the USA 225
Raging Grannies 226
Women in Black 227
Code Pink 228
Are they effective? 229
Conclusion 231
Reference 231
17 | Women, gentrification, and Harlem 232
References 237
18 | US economic wars and Latin America 238
References 242
19 | Feminist organizing in Israel 243
References 249
20 | Reflections on feminism, war, and the politics of dissent 250
21 | Feminism and war: stopping militarizers, critiquing power 258
Prosaic poem 264
Action: end US wars now! 266
Afterword 267
About the contributors 271