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Seminar on Relations International: Feminist Revisioning of Dyadic-level War Theorising

Date: 3 October 2013 (Thurs)
Time: 10–11.30am
Venue: RSIS, Conference Room 1 (Level B4)

Speaker: Dr Laura Sjoberg, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Florida


About the Seminar:

This talk discusses accounting for dyadic-level (or between-states) causes of war through gendered lenses as both international and relational. In it, the speaker argues that, gender is a key feature of the relationships between states, and a key dyadic-level factor in the making of conflicts and the fighting of wars. In traditional war studies terms, this means looking at what properties of two actors make them more or less likely to make war(s) with each other through gendered lenses. The speaker begins by discussing feminist engagements with dyadic-level accounts of war that focus on particular properties of states (e.g., theories of democratic peace and capitalist peace). In this discussion, the speaker argues that trait-based accounts of dyadic relationships among states that identify problematic traits, do so in a way that takes insufficient account of relations between states, and do discursive violence in their silences. The speaker then looks to engage dyadic-level theories of war(s) that take account of and/or focus more on how states interact, contending that the assumptions of progressive interaction, unitary states, and rational actors are limiting and incomplete. The speaker suggests that the interactions these approaches observe are gendered, and observed in gendered ways. The bulk of the talk then outlines an approach to studying the dyadic-level causes of war in “relations international” through gendered lenses, suggesting it might be both empirically advantageous and normatively preferable. The talk concludes with a discussion of the implications of such a move for dyadic-level war theorising specifically and war theorising more generally. 


About the Speaker:

Laura Sjoberg is Associate Professor of Political Science with an affiliation with the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research at the University of Florida. She holds a BA from the University of Chicago, a PhD from the University of Southern California’s School of International Relations, and a JD from Boston College Law School. Dr Sjoberg's research is located at the intersection of gender and international security, where she asks both theoretical and empirical questions about gender, conflict and security. Her theoretical research focuses on the ways that gender influences and constitutes war and conflict. Her most recent work in that area is a book called Gendering Global Conflict: Toward a Feminist Theory of War (Columbia University Press, 2013). Her empirical research focuses on gender tropes in political violence, most frequently women’s violence. Her most recent work in that area is a book on the signification and jurisprudence surrounding women perpetrators of genocidal rape, Rape among Women (New York University Press, forthcoming). Dr Sjoberg has been the author or editor of eight books, and her work has been published in more than two dozen journals in International Relations, political science, and gender studies. She currently serves as President of the Sexuality and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, as homebase editor of the International Feminist Journal of Politics, and as Associate Editor of the International Studies Review

Click here to register for the seminar.


Posted on: 3/10/2013 10:00:00 AM  |  Topic: Internal and Cross-Border Conflict

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