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Feminists Under Fire

Exchanges Across War Zones

Editor-in-chief Wenona Giles  Edited by Malathi de Alwis, Edith Klein and Neluka Silva  Editorial board member Maja Korac  

Feminists Under Fire
  • Paperback / softback

Feminists Under Fire is about women living and working in conflict zones. Focusing on the civil wars in Sri Lanka and the former Yugoslavia, diverse authors face the problems of nationalism, ethnic conflict, and militarized violence. They explore commonalities and differences between the two regions, and consequences for women, their societies, and feminist politics.

Women are neither simply victimized nor empowered by war; their experiences are more complicated. While they suffer from war-related violence and upheaval, some women living in traditional societies find that war releases them from constricting hierarchies. Others find it reinforces conventional gender roles. This ambivalence needs to be examined and understood.

In addition to such concerns the collection addresses issues of domestic violence, rape, intermarriage, victimization, feminist organizing and anti-war activism, women’s self-help organization, and political resistance.

This vibrant collection emerges from The Women in Conflict Zones Network, an international collaboration of activists and scholars.

  • Paperback / softback, 256 pages
  • ISBN 9781896357782
  • Published May 2003


Through [the authors’] lucid overviews, engaging stories, and insightful analyses, even the most “complicated” conflicts start making sense–political sense, historical sense, and, most importantly, feminist sense! But this book is not just about making sense of what is/was going on in these conflict zones, it is also about finding hope and the right channels to do something about them.

– Ayse Gul Altinay, The Women’s Review of Books

Table of Contents

Introduction Feminist Exchanges and Comparative Perspectives Across Conflict ones
Wenona Giles
Chapter 1 Reflections on Gender and Ethnicity in Sri Lanka
Malathi de Alwis
Chapter 2 Women Organizing against Ethnic Nationalism and War in the Post-Yugoslav States
Maja Korač
Part I Ethnic Nationalism and the Militarization of Women
Introduction by Neluka Silva
Chapter 3 Women in Black Against War (Belgrade)
Lepa Mladjenovič
Chapter 4 "Bosnian, Albanian, and Roma Women Are Our Sisters": Feminist Politics in Serbia
Žarana Papič
Chapter 5 Agent or Victim? The Sri Lankan Woman Militant in the Interregnum
Neloufer de Mel
Chapter 6 Gender and Nationalism in the Croatian Media War
Djurdja Kneževič
Part II Gendered Violence in Times of Conflict
Introduction by Malathi de Alwis
Chapter 7 A Question of Honour: Women, Ethnicity, and Armed Conflict
Radhika Coomaraswamy
Chapter 8 War Rape and the Political Manipulation of Survivors
Duska Andrič-Ružičič
Chapter 9 Psychological Suffering, "Trauma," and PTSD: Implications for Women in Sri Lanka's Conflict Zones
Ananda Galappatti
Chapter 10 The Other Victims of Terror: Households in Chaos
Selvy Thiruchandran
Part III Politics and Cultures of Resistance
Introduction by Edith Klein
Chapter 11 The Politics of Intermarriage in Sri Lanka in an Era of Conflict
Neluka Silva
Chapter 12 Feminist Politics in the Anti-war Movement in Belgrade: To Shoot or Not To Shoot?
Lepa Mladjenovič
Chapter 13 Activism, Motherhood, and the State in Sri Lanka's Ethnic Conflict
Kumudini Samuel
Chapter 14 Gender Essentialisms and Women's Activism in Post-War Bosnia-Herzegovina
Elissa Helms
Chapter 15 The Women's Movement in Sri Lanka: An Interview with Kumari Jayawardena
Afterword Future Directions–Sri Lanka and the Post-Yugoslav States
Malathi de Alwis, Wenona Giles, and Edith Klein
Selected Bibliography

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