Women as Wartime Rapists (New York University Press, 2016)
This book explores specific historical case studies, such as Nazi Germany, Serbia, the contemporary case of ISIS, and others, to understand how and why women participate in rape during war and conflict. It examines the contrast between the visibility of female victims and the invisibility of female perpetrators, as well as the distinction between rape and genocidal rape, which is used as a weapon against a particular ethnic or national group. Further, it explores women’s engagement with genocidal rape and how some orchestrated the ethnic cleansing of entire regions. A provocative approach to a sensationalized topic, Women as Wartime Rapists offers important insights into not only the topic of female perpetrators of wartime sexual violence, but to larger notions of gender and violence with crucial cultural, legal, and political implications.
Interpretive Quantification (University of Michigan Press, 2017, with J. Samuel Barkin)
Countering the growing divide between positivists who embrace quantitative, numerical approaches and post-positivist scholars who favor qualitative, interpretive approaches, Interpretive Quantification argues that both methods are more widely adaptable than is commonly assumed by either camp. In Interpretive Quantification, ten authors apply quantitative methods and formal models to specific constructivist and critical research questions. In this way, each chapter serves not only as evidence that methods can productively be applied across paradigms, but also as a guide as to how this may be done. In sum, the contributors make a compelling case that when researchers cordon off particular methods for merely ideological reasons, they circumscribe their own paradigms and hinder their own research agenda.
The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Security (Routledge, 2018, with Caron E. Gentry and Laura J. Shepherd)
The volume is based on the core argument that gender is conceptually necessary to thinking about central questions of security; analytically important for thinking about cause and effect in security; and politically important for considering possibilities of making the world better in the future. Contributions to the volume look at various aspects of studying gender and security through diverse lenses that engage diverse feminisms, with diverse policy concerns, and working with diverse theoretical contributions from scholars of security more broadly. It is grouped into four thematic sections:
- Gendered approaches to security (including theoretical, conceptual, and methodological approaches);
- Gendered insecurities in global politics (including the ways insecurity in global politics is distributed and read on the basis of gender);
- Gendered practices of security (including how policy practice and theory work together, or do not);
- Gendered security institutions (across a wide variety of spaces and places in global politics).
With J. Samuel Barkin, International Relations’ Last Synthesis? Oxford University Press, 2019.
We argue that IR theory is currently stuck in a rut much like the neo-neo synthesis of the 1980s, built out of a similarly limiting alliance of the neo-neo synthesis’ opponents. Like the ‘wall’ of the neo-neo synthesis, we argue that the constructivist-critical theory synthesis is (intentionally or not) a political agreement which distracts attention from the ‘big questions’ about global politics which theorizing in IR could and should address. The underspecification and overreached application of genericized constructivisms and critical theorizing in IR make efforts to address these kinds of questions more fraught and less effective. We contend that these implications make it necessary to critically reevaluate figurations of constructivist/critical IR to correct for the failure of clarity in constructivist and critical IR.
With Jessica Peet, Gender and Civilian Victimization in War (Routledge, 2019)
Traditional narratives suggest that killing civilians intentionally in wars happens infrequently, and that the perpetration of civilian targeting is limited to aberrant actors. Recently, scholars have shown that both state and non-state actors target civilians, even while explicitly deferring to the civilian immunity principle. This book fills a gap in the accounts of how civilian targeting happens, and shows that these actors are in large part targeting women rather than some gender-neutral understanding of civilians. It presents a history of civilian victimization in wars and conflicts, and then lays out a feminist theoretical approach to understanding civilian victimization. It explores the British Blockade of Germany in World War I, the Soviet ‘Rape of Berlin’ in World War II, the Rwandan genocide, and the contemporary conflict in northeast Nigeria. Across these case studies, the authors lay out how gender is key to how war-fighting actors understand both themselves and their opponents, and therefore plays a role in shaping strategic and tactical choices. It makes the argument that seeing women in nationalist and war narratives is crucial to understanding when and how civilians come to be targeted in wars, and how that targeting can be reduced.
In this paper, we critique the subset of evolutionary theorizing in IR self-identified as Feminist Evolutionary Analytic (FEA) in four sections. First, we go over FEA’s main argument that reproductive interests are the original and key cause of violence in global politics. Second, we break down the definitions of gender, sex, and sexuality used in FEA, demonstrating a lack of complexity in this analysis which causes many problems, including but not limited to sex essentialist and heteronormative characterizations. Third, we argue that FEA’s failure to reflect on the history and context of evolutionary theorizing, much less contemporary feminist critiques, facilitates its mistaken endorsement of the state as a vehicle to stop male violence. We conclude by outlining the stakes of failure to correct for FEA’s mistakes for feminist, IR, and security research, as well as international security policy practice.
“The Invisible Structures of Anarchy,” Journal of International Political Theory
This article argues anarchy is undertheorized in international relations, and that the undertheorization of the concept of anarchy in international relations is rooted in Waltz’s original discussion of the concept as equal to the invisibility of structure, where the lack of exogenous authority is not just a feature of the international political system but the salient feature. This article recognizes the international system as anarchical but looks to theorize its contours—to see the invisible structures that are overlaid within international anarchy, and then to consider what those structures mean for theorizing anarchy itself. It uses as an example the various (invisible) ways that gender orders global political relations to suggest that anarchy in the international arena is a place of multiple orders rather than of disorder. It therefore begins by theorizing anarchy with orders in global politics, rather than anarchy as necessarily substantively lacking orders. It then argues that gender orders global politics in various ways. It concludes with a framework for theorizing order within anarchy in global politics.
“Jihadi Brides and Female Volunteers,” Conflict Management and Peace Science
Decades ago, Cynthia Enloe called for a research agenda looking for where women are in war and conflict. Enloe recognized that women play active roles in and are affected by wars and conflicts, but are often ignored in news coverage, policy analysis, and scholarship. The current conflict in Syria and Iraq appears as a counterexample: hundreds of millions of Google results mention women and the Islamic State (IS). Subjects vary widely: the stories cover female victims of Daesh, female recruits to Daesh, and women who fight Daesh. This article explores the hypervisibility of women in this conflict, looking for lessons about sex, gender, and conflict. The first part analyses discourses in sample of major news reports, evaluating how different women around IS are represented. It finds that agency is removed from both female victims and female IS partisans, while it is exaggerated for women who fight against IS. This corresponds with emphasis on different gendered traits for differently positioned women. After tracing how gendered representations, the article applies theories of gender and conflict to understand how women have become central to the fighting and coverage of the conflict in Syria and Iraq. It concludes that paying attention both to the empirical presence of women and to the co-constitution of gender, war, and conflict augment understanding for this war, and across conflicts.
“Reevaluating Gender and IR Scholarship: Moving Beyond Reiter’s Dichotomies to Effective Synergies,” (with Kelly Kadera and Cameron Thies), Journal of Conflict Resolution
We seek a more accurate review of, and reflection on the gender and international relations (IR) literature than that offered by Reiter. Our evaluation corrects misunderstandings related to key dichotomies (mis)used in analyzing scholarship: sex/gender, positivism/nonpositivism, and epistemology/ontology. It also underscores the comparative strengths and weaknesses of different types of research in order to identify more fruitful possibilities for synthesis. We make the pluralist case that gender and IR research is at its best when it is multimethod, epistemologically pluralist, multisited, and carefully navigates the differences between feminist analyses and large-n statistical studies. The potential payoff of careful, synergistic engagement is worth any risks.
“Centering Security Studies Around Felt, Gendered Insecurities,” Journal of Global Security Studies
This article draws on two decades of work in feminist security studies, which has argued that gender is necessary, conceptually, for understanding the concepts of war and security; important, empirically, for analyzing causes and predicting outcomes in the field of security; and essential to finding solutions to insecurity in global politics. The work of feminist security studies suggests that one of the most persistent features of the global political arena is gender hierarchy, which plays a role in defining and distributing security. The argument in this article moves from talking about the security of gender to discussing the gendered sources of insecurity across global politics. It then builds on existing work in Feminist Security Studies to suggest a felt, sensed, and experiential notion of the security/insecurity dichotomy as a new way to think about global security (studies). A (feminist) view of “security as felt” could transform the shape of a number of research programs in security studies.
“Revealing Hierarchies Through Gender Lenses,” in Hierarchies in World Politics, ed. Ayse Zarakol
This chapter explores the utility of the terminology of “gender hierarchy” for thinking about Daesh/ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while using that situation as an example to demonstrate the different ways in which it is important to use gender lenses to study hierarchy in global politics. The central contention of this chapter is that gender is implicated in and implicates all hierarchies in global politics. To substantiate that claim, the chapter explores three key relationships between gender and hierarchy in global politics. First, it explores gender hierarchies, which explicitly order actors on the basis of associations with sex and gender, which are hierarchies. Second, it engages hierarchies as gendered, which deploy associations with sex and gender to signify organization of actors along other distinctions, including but not limited to race, class, religion, culture, and nationality. Third, it investigates hierarchies in global politics as gendered institutions.
In deploying the typologies of gender hierarchies, hierarchies as gendered, and hierarchies as gendered institutions, the chapter looks to make the argument that a deep structure of gender stratification manifests and is manifest in other kinds of hierarchical systems in global politics. In so doing, it uses a broad but structural understanding of hierarchy to explore gender as a foundation for hierarchies in global politics, which are, through gendered power, productive of both outcomes and significations in the global political arena. The chapter looks to make this contribution through explicative sections dealing with gender hierarchies, hierarchies as gendered, and hierarchies as gendered institutions, concluding with an exploration of what a feminist approach to hierarchy in global politics might look like.
“Undisciplined IR: Thinking without a Net,” in What’s the Point of IR?, eds. Synne L. Dyvik, Jan Selby, Rorden Wilkinson
This piece, then, explores IR as an un-discipline – suggesting that the comparative advantage of IR, or the potential comparative advantage of IR – is its lack of disciplinarity, and the accompanying lack of foundation, which brings about a lack of clear rules for thought, knowledge production, and research. The disciplinary borrowing, or tool-shopping, that has become characteristic of IR would be impossible were IR a proper ‘discipline’ as such – and, with Hayward, I find that to be one of IR’s greatest strengths. The remainder of this piece looks to explore that attraction – the draw of undisciplined IR – and discuss some of the potential advantages of IR-as-undiscipline for the (loose) intellectual community of IR scholars and their corresponding body of scholarship. After a brief engagement of what undisciplined scholarship is/could be, this piece explores two potential draws of such work: putting exploration before coherence and diverse sampling of paths towards claiming contribution in IR.