Mass rape; sex-selected forced recruitment and mass killing; forced marriage and pregnancy; sexual mutilation; and, emasculation and humiliation. These are some of the forms of violence during wartime increasingly documented by human rights advocates and academics, and which are more recently recognized as war crimes and crimes against humanity. They are moral outrages and causes for action. Yet little is known about the causes and consequences. This course critically examines the inter-relationship between gender and the use of violence against civilians in intra-state conflicts, largely in sub-Sahara Africa. It examines the causes and impacts of violence on every-day men and women; in addition to their strategies to navigate, avoid or use violence to increase their status. In addition, it traces the interests and motivations of states, non-state armed groups and global actors in condoning and employing gender related violence. In doing so, it challenges the idea that African conflicts are chaotic and primitive and reveals the local/global logic of violence to date. We critically examine methodological, theoretical and ethical puzzles in the study of gender and violence in armed conflict, including the challenge of documenting and witnessing violence; as well as representing, knowing and writing about violence.
Photo: Seamus Murphy