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Woman-as-nation: Reassessing wartime rape and the reproductive body

Woman-as-nation: Reassessing wartime rape and the reproductive body

Banwell, Stacy ORCID: 0000-0001-7395-2617 (2014) Woman-as-nation: Reassessing wartime rape and the reproductive body. In: 70th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology: Criminology at the Intersections of Oppression, 19-22 November 2014, San Francisco, CA, US. (Unpublished)

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Rape has been used in warfare throughout history. Despite being treated as a crime against humanity, the systematic rape of girls and women continues to be used as a weapon of war against civilian populations. During the Holocaust, as well as the genocides in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, women’s bodies were treated as the ‘repository and reproducers of national, racial, ethnic, tribal [and] religious identity’ (Cohn, 2013:14). Once coded in this way, rape and other forms of sexualized genocidal violence (forced abortion and forced sterilization) became logical tools of ethnic cleansing. In order to provide a more nuanced account than is provided by the dehumanization thesis (Fogelman 2012; Waller, 2012), this paper will draw upon the concept of ‘essentialization’ (Chirot and McCauley, 2006) - the reduction and denigration of a diverse group into a single, redundant category - to demonstrate that women during these genocides were targeted precisely because of their ethnic identity and their reproductive capabilities. To better understand the political and racial dynamics (intersubjective), as well as the meanings and motivations (degradation/humiliation) behind wartime rape, it is important that we move beyond the ‘denial of the victim’ narrative.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Law & Criminology Research Group
Last Modified: 14 Dec 2016 10:51
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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