Gender and War

Elizabeth Mesok

RI-SP099 | Autumn | 3 ECTS

This course is grounded in the assumption that war is a highly gendered phenomenon reliant on socially constructed norms of masculinity and femininity. Students examine gender as a system of power that is both instrumental in, and constituted by, militarism and violent conflict. We will consider the differential effects of war on men and women, as well as the ways in which constructs of masculinity and femininity are mobilized in the service of perpetuating or supporting violent conflict and militarism. To this end, students will first be introduced to feminist international relations theory and security studies before engaging with contemporary issues such as the gendered dynamics of recruitment into armed groups; sexual violence as a tactic of war; the gendering of the "global war on terror"; and the importance yet potential limits of institutionalizing normative commitments to women's rights in peace and security agendas. The ultimate goal of this course is to demonstrate the importance of gender and feminist theory for the analysis of war and international relations, and to equip students with the tools to engage in such interdisciplinary theorizing and practice.