In this talk, Kahalili will address the gendering of practices of counterinsurgency in the US War on Terror. Where Iraqi and Afghan populations are subjected to counterinsurgency and its attendant development policy, spaces are made legible in gendered ways, and people are targeted – for violence or ‘nation-building’ – on the basis of gender-categorization. Second, this gendering takes its most incendiary form in the seam of encounter between counterinsurgent foot-soldiers and the locals, where sexuality is weaponized and gender is most starkly cross-hatched with class and race. Finally, in the Metropole, new masculinities and femininities are forged in the domain of counterinsurgency policymaking: While new soldier-scholars represent a softened masculinity, counterinsurgent women increasingly become visible in policy circles, with both using ostensibly feminist justifications for their involvement. Kahalili will then connect these tropes -the gendered grammar of counterinsurgency- to the presentations and representations of violence in current wars and violence in the Middle East. 

 

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