1st Edition

Gendered Wars, Gendered Memories Feminist Conversations on War, Genocide and Political Violence

Edited By Ayşe Altınay, Andrea Pető Copyright 2016
    320 Pages
    by Routledge

    320 Pages
    by Routledge

    The twentieth century has been a century of wars, genocides and violent political conflict; a century of militarization and massive destruction. It has simultaneously been a century of feminist creativity and struggle worldwide, witnessing fundamental changes in the conceptions and everyday practices of gender and sexuality. What are some of the connections between these two seemingly disparate characteristics of the past century? And how do collective memories figure into these connections? Exploring the ways in which wars and their memories are gendered, this book contributes to the feminist search for new words and new methods in understanding the intricacies of war and memory. From the Italian and Spanish Civil Wars to military regimes in Turkey and Greece, from the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust to the wars in Abhazia, East Asia, Iraq, Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Israel and Palestine, the chapters in this book address a rare selection of contexts and geographies from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives. In recent years, feminist scholarship has fundamentally changed the ways in which pasts, particularly violent pasts, have been conceptualized and narrated. Discussing the participation of women in war, sexual violence in times of conflict, the use of visual and dramatic representations in memory research, and the creative challenges to research and writing posed by feminist scholarship, Gendered Wars, Gendered Memories will appeal to scholars working at the intersection of military/war, memory, and gender studies, seeking to chart this emerging territory with ’feminist curiosity’.

    List of Figures

    Notes on Contributors


    Foreword, (Cynthia Enloe)

    Introduction: ’Uncomfortable Connections: Gender, Memory, War’, (Ayşe Gül Altınay and Andrea Petö)

    Part I Sexual Violence: Silence, Narration, Resistance

    Commentary: ‘Disassemble the Unthinkable to the Unthought’: Sexual Violence Narrated, (Andrea Petö)

    1. The Historicity of Denial: Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women during the War of Annihilation, 1941-1945, (Regina Mühlhäuser)

    2. Between Silence and Narration: European and Asian Women on War Brutalities in Japanese-Occupied Territories, (Felicia Yap)

    3. The Female and Political Body in Pain: Sexual Torture and Gendered Trauma during the Greek Military Dictatorship (1967-1974), (Katherine Stefatos)

    4. Silencing Sexual Violence and Vulnerability: Women’s Narratives of Incarceration during the 1980-1983 Military Junta in Turkey, (Bürge Abiral)

    Part II Gendering Memories of War, Soldiering and Resistance

    Commentary: Women’s Memories of Soldiering: An Intersectionality Perspective, (Orna Sasson-Levy)

    5. Militarizing the Nation: Gender Politics of the Warsaw Uprising, (Weronika Grebalska)

    6. The Italian Civil War in the Memoirs of Female Fascist Soldiers, (Gianluca Schiavo)

    7. "We Left Our Skirts to Men as We Went to the Front": The Participation of Abkhazian Women from Turkey in the Abkhazian War, (Setenay Nil Doğan)

    8. Militarized US Women from the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: Citizenship, Homelessness, and the Construction of Public Memory in a Time of War, (Stephanie E. Yuhl)

    Part III Fictionalizing and Visualizing Gendered Memories

    Commentary: Unsettling Accounts: Fictionalizing and Visualizing Memories of War, (Banu Karaca)

    9. Women's Memory of the Spanish Civil War: The Power of Words, (Sophie Milquet)

    10. Forgotten Perpetrators: Photographs of Female Perpetrators After World War II, (Andrea Petö)

    11. Testimonies of War and Love: The Work of Witnessing Imagination in Eve Ensler’s Play Necessary Targets and Jasmila Žbanić’s Film Grbavica, (Kornelia Slavova)

    12. Conversations in Silence: Ceramic Installations Shaping the Visual and Political Imagination of Gendered Tsunami and Conflict Reconstruction Landscapes in Aceh, (Marjaana Jauhola)

    Part IV Feminist Reimaginings

    Commentary: Interrogating Memory and Evidence: An Intersectional Feminist Perspective, (Arlene Avakian)

    13. Narrating Women’s Bodies: Storying Silences and Secrets in the Aftermath of Genocide, (Hourig Attarian)

    14. Women Living and Re-Living Armed Conflict: Exploring a Methodology for Spanning Time and Place, (Cynthia Cockburn)


    Ayşe Gül Altınay is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sabancı University and author of The Myth of the Military-Nation and co-author of The Grandchildren: The Hidden Legacy of Lost Armenians in Turkey.

    Andrea Pető is a professor in the Department of Gender Studies at the Central European University, Hungary and author of Women in Hungarian Politics, 1945-1951.

    ’For decades feminist historians have listened to stories of women narrating their experiences of war. This volume brilliantly shows us these narratives are part of a volatile memory, which forces us to reconsider any information that is narrated and to interrogate further meanings and possibilities. It is a major step in a field where truth has become a particular and subjective truth.’ Selma Leydesdorff, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands ’With international scope and scholarship, this volume documents - pointedly, painfully, perceptively - how modern war and genocide assault women and, at times, implicate them as perpetrators of atrocity. Never minimizing the wreckage, the contributors salvage what remains - archival records, crucial memories, insistent responses - the ingredients necessary to press men as well as women to advance the protest and resistance demanded by the book’s tormenting and unforgettable findings.’ John K. Roth, Claremont McKenna College, USA ’This original and moving book pushes forward our current thinking and existing debates on the gendered memories of war and violence. Covering a range of different case studies and empirical contexts, the contributions offer timely and cutting-edge insights, creative methodologies and compelling analyses.’ Nadje Al-Ali, SOAS, University of London, UK ’In its transnational and interdisciplinary set of feminist engagements, this book fills a glaring gap in the study of how violent pasts are memorialized. It reorients the study of war, memory and gender by looking beyond lasting violence, to resistance, re-imagination and the future.’ Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University, USA