Revsd 8-3-06

Feminism and Militarism

342 Human Communication/ 350 Global Studies

Fall 2006

Dr. Ilene Feinman

Dr. Kathryn Poethig

Monday/ Wednesday 10:00-11:50am

Office Contacts:

Feinman, x 4147, bldg 2/ 112, office hours Mondays 3-5pm

Poethig, x 5040, bldg 86C/ 116 office hours Wednesday 12-3pm


This course brings to focus a set of feminist questions about:

US military and domestic debates about women as combatants

US military bases’ impact on women in Asia and the Middle East

US Feminist anti-militarist critique of US wars

Third world feminist anti-militarist critique of US war on terrorism

Working with gender theories of the body, nation, and militarized culture Poethig and Feinman will converse with you and each other across our collective expertise in US and international feminist perspectives on militarism and peace activism. We will look at analyses, histories, current debates, and activist strategies for peace including antiwar activism, efforts at globalizing women’s rights discourse through UN mechanisms relating to peace building, and international criminal tribunals, and a series of films that engage these questions from perspectives inside and outside the United States.


Ammu Joseph and Kalpana Sharma, eds. Terror, Counter-Terror, Women Speak Out. London: Zed Books, 2003. ISBN: 184277 3534 (PB)

Lorry Fenner and Marie DeYoung. Women in Combat: Civic Duty or Military Liability? Wash DC: Georgetown University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0878408630.

Frances Fox Piven, The War at Home. New York: The New Press, 2004. ISBN:1-56584-935-3.

Additional readings are on Blackboard (BB). Films and guest speakers will also be presented in class. You are responsible for all content.


Peace Studies Minor

Global Studies

MLO 4: Gender and Violence in Global Life

Ability to comprehend, analyze and evaluate the role of gender and violence in global life, especially in war, politics, crime, economic inequality, and environmental degradation as it pertains to ethical practices.

Human Communication

Concentration: Women’s Studies or Peace Studies

- OR -

MLO 5: Critical Cultural Analysis

Students will discover and explain the forces that have shaped and continue to shape the experiences, social relations, and identities of social/cultural groups based on comparative analysis of intersected identities of race/ethnicity AND class, gender, sexuality, and/or ability. For this course we will meet this outcome by study of these identities relative to the context of militarism.

Students will apply concepts and theories explaining the intersection of ethnicity, race, class, gender, sexuality and/or ability. We will meet this outcome by exploring how these intersected identities shape individual's responses to militarism.

Students will integrate knowledge of ethnicity, race, class, gender, sexuality, and/or ability with and within relations of power in their analyses of social/cultural identities, representations, practices, and movements. This knowledge will be applied to understanding relations and response to the power dynamics of militarism and peace movements.

Students will assess the prospects for meaningful alliances geared toward achieving equity and social justice within a local and/or global context. Through study of and engagement in activist projects students will gain hands on knowledge of the creation and productivity of alliances for peace and justice.

*In alignment with the ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries), HCOM courses meeting MLO 5, Critical Cultural Analysis, will assess students’ Information Competence (IC) through their abilities to: Express and critique the feelings, values, and assumptions they have regarding the research question or creative investigation (2); Make multiple and different determinations about the types of disciplinary and interdisciplinary sources necessary to complete the research (3); Interpret or creatively apply the retrieved material from a variety of perspectives (5), and Develop long-term, adaptable, cross-disciplinary research and/or creative application skills (10). This course will emphasize the determination of sources, interpretation of perspectives, and long-term adaptability of research skills. This course will also meet outcome 1 of the IC through providing students opportunities to articulate a humanities based research question. The research project will provide students an opportunity to develop these aspects of IC through development of a research question (s), the development and articulation of standpoint, identification and assessment of appropriate sources on women and militarism, the ability to interpret and report on the material, and develop appropriate interdisciplinary research skills.


Learning Outcome 1:

Students define and describe the concept of culture using insights from scholarly literatures of culture and compare their own culture with other cultures using their conceptual understanding.

The course will provide an opportunity for students to describe and analyze the various concepts of culture through the readings and integration of students’ gendered and racialized identities with these cultural frameworks

Learning Outcome 2:

Students define and describe the concept of cultural identity(s) using insights from scholarly literatures and compare their own cultural identity(s), within the context of their own culture(s), with the cultural identities of others.

The course will provide an opportunity for students to investigate their cultural identities (autobiography) and others’ identities (accounts of classmates and readings) with exposure to theoretical and narrative literatures on identities and the construction of cultural frameworks/concepts in relation to war.

Learning Outcome 3:

Analyze and describe the concepts of power relations, equity, and social justice and find examples of each concept in the U.S. society and other societies.

This course will provide an opportunity for students to describe and analyze gendered, classed, and racialized stratifications of power and struggles for social justice through the readings, films and discussion, which will describe the concepts and practices of power relations and present accounts of struggles for social justice.

Learning Outcome 4:

Analyze historical and contemporary cross-cultural scenarios of discrimination, inequity, and social injustice in the United States and other societies.

This course will provide an opportunity for students to analyze the historical and contemporary conditions of equity and inequity among and between communities of women and men in the United States and internationally through readings, film and discussion.

Learning Outcome 5:

Define and describe various personal and institutional strategies/processes that could create equity and social justice in the United States and other societies.

This course will provide students with an opportunity to define and describe projects for social justice and equity through the materials studied in class and the research and writing/presentations students do for the class.



NOTE: Meeting of the outcomes in this learning experience is an ongoing process of discovery. Your final portfolio will most fully represent the evidence of achieving these outcomes. In conjunction with the assignments below we have indicated where you will be most focused on component parts of the outcomes as stated above.

The following information details the outcomes that we will work toward in the learning experience.

It is our responsibility to provide you with materials and guide our discussions to facilitate your achievement of these outcomes. To that end, it is our responsibility to be prepared with you in class, in our office hours, and in our responses, written or verbal, to your work. We will respect you each and all as learners and as teachers no matter what your political views.

It is your responsibility to enter our learning community with respect for yourself and one another as learners and teachers, to come prepared by having read or viewed the materials we provide, and to thoughtfully participate in our learning community. While this is also detailed in the “participation” requirement below, care in this regard will take you a far way toward success in the general outcomes of the course.

To satisfy these learning outcomes you must meet the course assessments at a level “C” or higher.


A. Participation (20% of final grade)

Description: This learning experience is a seminar co-created by all of us. It will require regular attendance, preparedness, and participation. We will work collectively to investigate and practice critical cultural analysis of militarism using the theories and frameworks of women’s studies and cultural studies. This means that the process of the classroom is a critical component of the learning experience. Students will be required to participate to their fullest ability. This participation includes reading the materials as assigned, coming prepared with questions and issues to discuss from the readings, being willing to ask the seemingly obvious.

Process: This class addresses many issues that are close to home and challenge our perceptions of Others elsewhere. Our location in American cultural life (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and economic class) and our experience and understanding of militarized life here and abroad are all part of the experience hinted at, drawn upon, and examined in this course. Students are invited to think out loud, to present their ideas as “works in progress,” to challenge themselves and each other to our collective best understandings of the concerns of global and women’s studies. In order to make this a safe space for such exploration we require that we respect one another’s process and one another’s opinions. Disagreements are part of learning; personal attacks are not.

Attendance: No more than two absences are acceptable; each absence after this will constitute a point drop in your final grade. Students must notify us before class of their intention to be absent (in order to protect the first two absences from counting against you). Class notes are your responsibility; if you miss a class, please arrange to get notes from your classmates.

  1. Short Projects (40% of final grade)

Week 2, Wed Sept 6: Our Histories and Militarism 10

Week 3, Sun Sept 10: Feminism after 9/11 10

Week 6, Mon Sept 25: US military bases overseas 10

Week 8, Wed Oct 18: Responding to Muslim women 10

C. Acting against Violence: Final Research Paper/ Group Project Presentation

(20 pts project and presentation, 20 points research paper).

  1. We will co-create a list of possible issues and groups will convene by interest. Time will be created both in class and on your own to meet for planning and development of project.

  2. Address the issue: identifying and contextualizing it historically and internationally.

  3. As a group, identify what you can do about this issue and create a project that moves in that direction (i.e write a letter; you may also get others to write letters as well, make posters, raise money, organize a public event, etc).

  4. 10 page RESEARCH ESSAY: (each group member choose a subtopic to work on). Write a research paper on your issue engaging these overarching questions: What factors contribute to this particular case? Research the background of the issue. Identify what steps national, regional or international women’s groups have taken to address the issue. Reflect on your positionality in advocacy and what impact this has on your approach to the issue.

This essay must include 10 citations (minimum of 5 books and max of 5 academic press articles) from outside the class readings. It would be developed around a question or questions that you choose and include: explicit use of feminist standpoint - as you define it - and a clear sense of audience.

CLASS REPORT: Be prepared to offer a 10-15 minute report on your advocacy that will stimulate your classmates. It can be very creative.

Course Schedule

Week 1: Coming to Terms: How we relate to Feminism and Militarism

August 28: Introductions to each other and class

August 30: SPEAKER/GUEST: Beth Pettingill Riley

Week 2: Our Histories and Militarism

Sept 4: labor day no class

Sept 6: How did militarism affect your family’s history?

BB: Militarized Zones: Race Gender Immigration the Environment, “Introduction” and “New War against Immigrants”

See BB Assignment: Our Histories and Militarism

Week 3: US Military

Sept 11 Feminist readings on 911

TCT: R. Petchesky, “Phantom Towers,” 52, R. Saigol, “Ter-reign of Terror, 42,

BB “First Writing Since…”

BB Naber, So our History doesn’t become your future

See BB Assignment Feminism after 9/11

Sept 13 Our military: theoretical and practical constructions of US citizen soldiers (racialized and gendered)

Film clips Women and Military

BB Linda Kerber “ ‘May all our citizens be soldiers and all our soldiers citizens’:

BB Carol Burke “Dames at Sea: Life in the Naval Academy”

BB R. Claire Snyder, “The Citizen-Soldier Tradition and Gender Integration of the U.S. Military”

Week 4 US women as combatants

Sept 18 pro/con of women as combatants in US military, Fenner and de Young

Sept 20 Draft Resistance and Military Recruitment

RCNV Speaker

BB: Tod Ensign, “Filling the Ranks: Volunteers or the Draft”

Activity: come to class with advertisements of military/examples of recruitment

Week 5: FORT ORD

Sept 25 Ford Ord history and community resistance

Speaker: Mel Mason

- Group work for Oct 2- US bases

Sept 27 Kevin Miller tour the base

Week 6: Fort World: US bases overseas

Oct 2 US bases worldwide

BB Group Assignment: US bases around the world

Oct 4: S. Korea – Comfort women vs military prostitutes

BB UN Speech on Comfort Women

BB “Seeking Comfort”

BB K Moon, “South Korean Movements Against Militarized Sexual Labor”

Week 7: Fort World: US bases and transnational response

Oct 9: Sex Trafficking and US military prostitution

BB “Women from the Philippines and Former USSR Trafficked into South Korea for Sex”

BB: B Parsons, “Significant Steps or Empty Rhetoric?”

Oct 11: Transnational Anti-bases response

BB: Anti-Militarism Movements folder (read what you choose)

BB: East Asia-US-Puerto Rico Women’s Network against Militarism

BB: Response to US bases in Okinawa and Korea

BB: Subic Rape

BB: Anti-US base activism globally

Videos: Okinawa, Vieques

Week 8: Muslim women: victims or agents?

Oct 16 TCT: Nelofer Pazira, “War: violation of human life” 17,

TCT: Schulte, “Is the US fighting..” 158,

TCT: Khan, “Freedom, fashion..” 152,

BB: “Obscene undersides, Taliban, US”

Oct 18 BB: Haleh Afshar Women and wars: some trajectories towards a feminist peace

BB: Palestinian Suicide bomber

BB Assignment: Responding to Muslim women

Week 9: Abu Ghraib Sexualizing and racializing the enemy—and the troops

Oct 23 BB: Memory Hole, BBC, MSNBC pictures

BB: Linda Burnham, “Sexual Domination in Uniform: An American Value

BB: Susan Sontag, “Regarding the Torture of Others,

BB: Luke Harding, “The Other Prisoners,” The Guardian, (May 20, 2004).

Oct 25 Coco Fusco documentary on POW interrogation training Operation Atropo

Week 10: New wars and their effects

Oct 30: Group project confirmed

Resource wars, mass rapes

BB: Democratic Republic of Congo (See bb for instruction)

BB: Johann Hari: Congo's tragedy - the war the world forgot

BB: Stephanie Nolen: Not Women Any More

BB: Suffering in Congo. Behind the numbers

Nov 1 Girl soldiers, Refugees

BB: Democratic Republic of Congo (See bb for instruction)

BB: Girls and War

BB: Video game online: Darfur is Dying

TCT Suchita Vemuri, “The hidden costs of war,

Amira Hass, “Missing in Action”

Week 11: Women and the UN: peacebuilding and development

Nov 6 BB: Gender Equity and Peacebuilding

Nov 8: Rwanda, Out of Madness, a Matriarchy

BB: Photos:

BB: “Out of Madness, a Matriarchy” Video on Rwanda at CSUMB

BB: Human security and reconstruction efforts in Rwanda: impact on the lives of women - Myriam Gervais

Week 12: War at Home(s)

Nov 13:

Fran Piven book War at Home

Iris Marion Young’s "Feminist Reactions to the Contemporary Security Regime"

 Hypatia - Volume 18, Number 1, Winter 2003, pp. 223-231

Nov 15:

Fran Piven book War at Home

BB: Listen to “Doctors Go on Offensive Against Gun Wounds” and

“Battlefield Surgery”

Nov 20-24 Thanksgiving week

Week 13: Toward Justice and Peace: US Feminist contributions

Nov 27 Short clips: AFSC “Eyes Wide Open” and “Soldiers Speak Out”

On Reserve “Stop the next war now!”

TCT, Part 7: Women Against War

Nov 29 Feminist antimilitarisms in the US?

BB: Robin Riley “So few of us and so many of them: US Women resisting Desert storm (International Feminist Journal of Politics v 7#3 Sept 2005:341-357

Week 14

Dec 4 Group work

Dec 6 Group work

Week 15

Dec 11 Group Presentations

Dec 13 Group Presentations