Twelve Feminist Lessons of War
by Cynthia Enloe
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Pub Date 7 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 6 Nov 2023
‘Cynthia Enloe is a force to be reckoned with and utterly tireless. Her work has long spanned intersectional analyses of gender, race and class…she repeatedly questions which things society pays attention to and which we consider insignificant. She is an inspiration.’ Laura Bates
Twelve Feminist Lessons of War draws on sharp insights of women as survivors, activists and scholars from Ukraine to Sudan and Myanmar to show how diverse women’s experiences of war must be taken seriously if we are to prevent and shorten wars and make gender justice central to recovering from wars.
Women’s wars are not men’s wars. Wartime shapes the gendered politics of marriage, prostitution, journalism, economics, childcare, domestic violence and rape. Enloe’s razor-sharp analysis highlights how understanding this can prevent wars and even end them.
With fresh, fierce and vital thinking, she shows that by paying more attention to the wounded and the women who care for them, we will be more realistic about the long ‘post-war’; and that by listening to feminists on the ground, in Ukraine and elsewhere, we will better understand what is happening to our world.
Cynthia is one of only 100 women named on the Gender Justice Wall in The Hague.
”This book’s lessons are not about waging war better. This is a book about holding accountable those who rape, exploit and abuse women in wartime. It’s about the pain of losing lovers, family and home. It is also about creating societies where peace can be sustained and where men and women can flourish without the plague of old patriarchal ways of exercising power. Cynthia Enloe is one of most inspiring and brilliant feminist thinkers of our time. Her penetrating insights, humanity and wisdom make this book an essential tutorial for now – before we reduce the world to rubble.” – Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws KC, Member of the Legal Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine
”In difficult times we need to be reminded of how resilient, brave, creative and determined we are as feminists. Cynthia beautifully takes us through the lessons we have learnt, and are still learning, exposing, as she always does, the machinations of patriarchy and how we seek to undo it. Real solidarity, sustained curiosity – and stamina! She gives us hope that while there will be more lessons, if we believe strongly enough then the last one will be short and entitled: ‘We did it!’.” – Madeleine Rees
”Cynthia Enloe marshalls wide-ranging rigorous research with incisive insights and meticulous, astute analysis in her Twelve Feminist Lessons of War. This book distils decades of Professor Enloe’s research and thinking on war and militarism through a feminist lens and presents them in a compelling and accessible way. This is a book that is urgent and necessary for any and all of us concerned about the state of the world and the deep-rooted reasons that have led us here.” – Sunny Singh, author
”In her usual straightforward, thoughtful, and passionate way, Cynthia Enloe has once again reminded us about the importance of feminism to the study of war, violence and peacebuilding in today’s complex world. This is an unputdownable book for those who are concerned about the consequences of war and peace.” – Shirin M. Rai, Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS, University of London
”No-one has studied the subject of women and war with as much originality and scrupulous attention to detail as Cynthia Enloe. Examining every aspect of women’s engagement with combat – as soldiers, citizens, mothers, activists, diplomats – Enloe focuses relentlessly on women’s lived experience of some of the bloodiest conflicts of our time, including Russian’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Read this book and you will never think of war in the same way again.” – Melissa Benn, writer and campaigner
”Once again Cynthia Enloe makes plain as day what should, but isn’t, obvious to anyone who cares about war and conflict, namely that without a feminist lens we can never break out of the vicious cycles of violence that have held our culture in thrall for millennia. I am so grateful for Enloe’s clarity of vision and moral compass. We are all so much richer for her long and storied work.” – Abigail E. Disney, filmmaker, activist and philanthropist
”There is no one comparable to Cynthia Enloe when it comes to writing from the heart as she delves into the everyday survival of women affected by war. And no one covers this subject in the inimitable way that she does, documenting victimisation that women experience while also making space for enduring forms of resistance.” – Marsha Henry, Associate Professor, Department of Gender Studies, London School of Economics
”By methodically deconstructing the dominant narratives on war and by urging us to not forget what will come after, Cynthia Enloe draws out a powerful feminist framing of war, much needed at this time of history.” – Ruri Ito, Professor emerita, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
”This book is a testimony to Cynthia’s extraordinary ability to lovingly, carefully, and insightfully document some of the most difficult lessons feminists have learnt during countless struggles for peace, equality, and justice. She documents not to judge any of the choices made but to bring to light the importance of our collective body of feminist knowledge and experience so that, as we move forward, we know where we came from.” – Nela Porobic, feminist and peace activist, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
”With incredible historical breadth and depth of analysis – Cynthia Enloe takes us on a worldwide exploration of the gendered dynamics of militarisation and the gendered causes and consequences of war. As this inspirational book powerfully argues, staying curious about women’s (and men’s) lives means we are more realistic about war and the causes of war. And as Enloe concludes, feminist lessons are for everyone and ‘kindling to fuel a fire of thinking’.” – Daniel Conway, Reader in Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster
”If you had to choose one book from Cynthia Enloe’s vast collection, read Twelve Feminist Lessons of War. It’s comprehensive, probing and hard-hitting with the finest feminist analysis, and written in a thoughtful and accessible way to guide the reader at every stage of their understanding of militarism and war. As someone who is deeply embedded in feminist peacebuilding work, Enloe’s twelve lessons are worth reading and re-reading.” – Christine Ahn, Founder and Executive Director, Women Cross DMZ
‘Cynthia Enloe is an adventurer, an intellectual with a light touch and inveterate ‘feminist curiosity’. She shows how thinking about gender, the renewal of patriarchy and women’s resistance is vital to making sense of the world. It is a joy to travel with her.’ – Beatrix Campbell