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Virginia Woolf famously wrote 'as a woman I have no country', suggesting that women had little stake in defending countries where they are considered second-class citizens, and should instead be forces for peace. Yet women have been perpetrators as well as victims of violence in nationalist conflicts. This unique book generates insights into the role of gender in nationalist violence by examining feature films from a range of conflict zones. In The Battle of Algiers, female bombers destroy civilians while men dress in women's clothes to prevent the French army from capturing and torturing them. Prisoner of the Mountains shows a Chechen girl falling in love with her Russian captive as his mother tries to rescue him. Providing historical and political context to these and other films, Evangelista identifies the key role that economic decline plays in threatening masculine identity and provoking the misogynist violence that often accompanies nationalist wars.Read more
- Uses feature films as a source of insight into the relationship between gender and violent nationalist conflict – linking popular media to the study of politics
- Explores four cases of historical and contemporary relevance – Algeria, former Yugoslavia, Chechnya and Quebec – strengthening the plausibility of the book's findings
- Identifies an important link between economic decline, threats to masculine identity and misogynist violence – illustrated by the films, but also backed by recent empirical studies
Reviews & endorsements
“A genuinely innovative contribution to the currently intense discussion about the gendered militarization of nationalism. Matthew Evangelista reveals how even serious international filmmakers often unwittingly reinforce wartime patriarchal norms while breaking cinematic conventions.”
– Cynthia Enloe, Clark University and author of Nimo’s War, Emma’s War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War (2010)See more reviews
“Matthew Evangelista has written an extraordinary book that transcends disciplinary boundaries to explore and explain the role of gender in nationalist violence. His approach is a challenge to normal political science and demonstrates what can be learned when imagination is applied to unconventional sources like movies. Taking emblematic films that depict the anti-colonial, civil, and ethnic wars in Algeria, Yugoslavia, Chechnya, and Quebec, Evangelista relates violence to threats to masculinity, the inequalities experienced by women, and the ambitions of nationalists. As horrific as the events depicted are, the author does not despair but indicates possible ways to avoid such sanguinary occasions in the future.”
– Ronald Grigor Suny, Charles Tilly Collegiate Professor of Social and Political History and Director of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, The University of Michigan
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- Date Published: April 2011
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107001947
- length: 304 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 158 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.62kg
- contains: 42 b/w illus.
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. Virginia Woolf's purse
2. Algeria: a world constructed out of ruins
3. Yugoslavia: archetype or anomaly?
4. Chechnya: virgins, mothers, and terrorists
5. Québec: oui, no, or femme
6. 'To live to see better times': gender, nationalism, sovereignty, equality.
Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses
- Gender and Nationalism
- Gender studies
- Men and Masculinity
- Nationalism and ethnic politics
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