1st Edition

Gender, Agency and War The Maternalized Body in US Foreign Policy

By Tina Managhan Copyright 2012
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    184 Pages
    by Routledge

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    This book traces practices of militarization and resistance that have emerged under the sign of motherhood in US Foreign Policy.

    Gender, Agency and War examines this discourse against the background of three key moments of American foreign policy formation: the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s, the Gulf War of the early 1990s, and the recent invasion of Iraq. For each of these moments the author explores the emergence of a historically specific and emblematic maternalized mode of female embodiment (ranging from the ‘hysterical’ antinuclear protester to the figure of ‘Supermom’), in order to shed light onto the various practices which define and enable expressions of American sovereignty. In so doing, the text argues that the emergence of particular raced, gendered, and maternalized bodies ought not to be read as merely tangential to affairs of state, but as instantiations of global politics. This work urges an approach that rereads the body as an ‘event’ – with significant implications for the ways in which international politics and gender are currently understood.

    This book will be of much interest to students of gender politics, critical security studies, US foreign policy and IR in general.


    Introduction: Reading International Relations through Bodies, Reading the Maternal Body as Political Event  1. The Vicissitudes of Life: Women’s Complex Entanglement with Peace and War  2. Shifting the Gaze from Hysterical Mothers to ‘Deadly Dads’:  Spectacle and the Antinuclear Movement  3. (M)others, Biopolitics and the Gulf War  4. Grieving Dead Soldiers, Disavowing Loss: Cindy Sheehan and the Im/possibility of the American Antiwar Movement  Conclusion: The Maternal Body as Alibi: Understanding the Centrality of the Maternal Body to Sovereign Representation


    Tina Managhan is senior lecturer in International Relations at Oxford Brookes University, and has a Ph.D. in International Relations from York University, Canada.