Gendering War Talk

TitleGendering War Talk
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1993
Series EditorCooke, Miriam, and Angela Woollacott
Number of Pages352
PublisherPrinceton University Press
CityPrinceton, NJ

In a century torn by violent civil uprisings, civilian bombings, and genocides, war has been an immediate experience for both soldiers and civilians, for both women and men. But has this reality changed our long-held images of the roles women and men play in war, or the emotions we attach to violence, or what we think war can accomplish? This provocative collection addresses such questions in exploring male and female experiences of war—from World War I, to Vietnam, to wars in Latin America and the Middle East—and how this experience has been articulated in literature, film and drama, history, psychology, and philosophy. Together these essays reveal a myth of war that has been upheld throughout history and that depends on the exclusion of "the feminine" in order to survive. The discussions reconsider various existing gender images: Do women really tend to be either pacifists or patriotic mothers? Are men essentially aggressive or are they threatened by their lack of aggression? Essays explore how cultural conceptions of gender as well as discursive and iconographic representation reshape the experience and meaning of war. The volume shows war as a terrain in which gender is negotiated. As to whether war produces change for women, some contributors contend that the fluidity of war allows for linguistic and social renegotiations; others find no lasting, positive changes. In an interpretive essay Klaus Theweleit suggests that the only good war is the lost war that is embraced as a lost war.

Full Text


Pt. I Presenting the Unpresentable
Ch. 1 Gendered Translations: Claude Lanzmann's Shoah
Ch. 2 Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Terror, and Argentina's "Dirty War"
Pt. II War Mythopoeia
Ch. 3 The Threshold of Thrill: Life Stories in the Skies over Southeast Asia
Ch. 4 Techno-Muscularity and the "Boy Eternal": From the Quagmire to the Gulf
Pt. III Home/Front?
Ch. 5 Notes toward a Feminist Peace Politics
Ch. 6 Sisters and Brothers in Arms: Family, Class, and Gendering in World War I Britain
Ch. 7 Daughtering in War: Two "Case Studies" from Mexico and Guatemala
Pt. IV Engendering Language
Ch. 8 [WO]-man, Retelling the War Myth
Ch. 9 Not So Quiet in No-Woman's-Land
Ch. 10 Wars, Wimps, and Women: Talking Gender and Thinking War
Pt. V The Politics of Representation
Ch. 11 Sexual Fantasies and War Memories: Claude Simon's Narratology
Ch. 12 Danger on the Home Front: Motherhood, Sexuality, and Disabled Veterans in American Postwar Films
Pt. VI Interpretive Essay
Ch. 13 The Bomb's Womb and the Genders of War (War Goes on Preventing Women from Becoming the Mothers of Invention)

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