The University of Wisconsin Press

Women's Studies


Images of Women in Peace and War
Cross-cultural and Historical Perspectives
Edited by Sharon MacDonald, Pat Holden, and Shirley Ardener

Images of Women in Peace and War explores women's attempts to transform accepted images of their wartime experience. The essays range from a look at the impact of female guerrilla warriors in the Mau Mau on gender ideology in Kenya, to an exploration of the way that European women interned in the Far East used their femininity as a survival technique. . . . The far-reaching scope of the book is stretched thin in parts, and the contributions vary in quality, but overall it is a valuable and insightful collection that succeeds in exploring the ways in which images of women in peace and war are constructed and used in a wider social sphere.”Women's Review of Books

As warriors, freedom fighters and victims, as mothers, wives and prostitutes, and as creators and members of peace movements, women are inevitably caught up in the net of war. Yet women’s participation in warfare and peace campaigns has often been underestimated or ignored.

Images of Women in Peace and War explores women’s relationships to war, peace, and revolution, from the Amazons, Inka and Boadicea, to women soldiers in South Africa, Mau Mau freedom fighters and the protestors at Greenham Common. The contributors consider not only the reality of women’s participation but also look at how their actions have been perceived and represented across cultures and through history. They examine how sexual imagery is constructed, how it is used to delineate women’s relation to warfare and how these images have sometimes been subverted in order to challenge the status quo. The book raises important questions about whether women have a special prerogative to promote peace and considers whether the experience of motherhood leads to a distinctive women’s position on war. The authors find that their analyses lead them to deal with arguments on the basic nature of the sexes and to reevaluate our concepts of “peace,” “war,” and “gender.”

Sharon Macdonald is professor of social anthropology at the University of Manchester. She is the author of Difficult Heritage: Negotiating the Nazi Past in Nuremberg and Beyond. Pat Holden is an anthropologist who has taught women’s studies courses. Her publications include Anthropology and Nursing. Shirley Ardener is founding director of the International Gender Studies Centre, formerly the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, at the University of Oxford and editor of Women and Missions: Past and Present: Anthropological and Historical Perceptions.

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Images of Women in Peace and War

June 1988

LC: 91-026346 U
260 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

The 1988 cloth edition of this book, ISBN 978-0-299-11760-3, is out of print, but the paperback is still available.

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ISBN 978-0-299-11764-1
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