Chapter 23: Abstract

Gender, Peace, and the New Politics of Humanitarianism in the First Half of the Twentieth Century

Glenda Sluga (University of Sydney, Department of History)

In Oxford Handbook of Gender, War, and the Western World since 1600, ed. by Karen Hagemann et al. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 561-84.


This chapter examines the changing ideas of peace and their connections with the longer history of humanitarianism in the first half of the twentieth century, using gender as an analytical focus. In particular, it explores the international and internationalist contexts of the emerging peace movement and international humanitarianism and their changing character; the gender dimensions of peace-thinking and policies, especially in the context the League of Nations (found 1919) and the United Nations (founded 1945); and the ways in which feminism was a significant influence on the development of these two international bodies, even as women were sidelined in their operations. In the first half of the twentieth century, these international (inter-governmental) organizations had as their central rationale the taming of warfare. The chapter analyzes the extent to which, in each case, they contributed to institutionalization of new gendered international norms of pacifist and humanitarian activism.


World War I and  II; League of Nations; United Nations; humanitarianism; human rights; internationalism; pacifism; peace; feminism; gender.

In Part III: "The Age of the World Wars" of the Oxford Handbook of Gender, War and the Western World since 1600.

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