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Women on the Frontlines: Rethinking War Narrative Post 9/11

When Mar 18, 2005
from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
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LORRAINE DOWLER 

 

Associate Professor of Geography and Women's Studies, and Director of the Women's Studies Program, Penn State University

Dr. Lorraine Dowler is an associate professor of geography and women's studies at Penn State University. Her interests focus in the intersection of gender and war. Her previous research concentrated on issues of gender in the Northern Ireland conflict. She recently traveled to Cuba and China to investigate the gendering of the representations of their respective revolutions. Dr. Dowler is the co-investigator with Karen Kerr of the San Francisco Fire Department of a national study on the opportunities and challenges facing women firefighters in the 21st century.

Women's Studies Program

Department of Geography

Fieldwork Under the Gun: Feminist Dilemmas of Ethnography in War

This presentation is twofold. First it addresses the practical issues of doing fieldwork in a conflict area but more importantly it takes to task academic practices which ignore the experiences of those living in violent contexts. To this end, this presentation concentrates on how the everyday experiences of people are often ignored in favor of the romanticized accounts of agents of violence.

This lecture is part of the Difficulties of Ethical Life Conference.

April 2, 2005
10:45 a.m.
Nittany Lion Inn, Ballroom A

Women on the Frontlines: Rethinking War Narrative Post 9/11

The images of the attacks of September 11th are still vivid and will probably remain so in the minds of most individuals. These events have triggered a plethora of writings, both academic and popular, trying to make sense of this tragic event. Much of the discussion has focused on economic globalization, security, terrorism, U.S. foreign policy and the plight of women in Afghanistan. However, very little discussion has pointed to a gender backlash as a result of the attacks. This should not be a surprise, since historically, in a time of war, questions of gender are eclipsed in favor of projecting a unified national solidarity. For this reason, in the western world, war has been a conservative agent for the gendering of political identities. To this end, there is a tendency to perceive men as soldiers, warriors and heroes of war, while women are understood as the victims or icons of that war. Feminist academics argue that until recently women have been ignored in the recording of the events of war. More specifically, both the media and academics alike have written women's participation into warfare in roles more compatible to the domestic realm such as helpmate to the male warrior. This presentation will examine how the heroic actions of women firefighters, EMT and police officers at Ground Zero were eclipsed by the media's construction of women as mothers, widows and victims of the attack. This talk is an attempt to engender our understanding of the American Hero.

This lecture is part of the War and Ethics Lecture Series.

March 18, 2005
3:00 p.m.
Foster Auditorium, 101 Pattee Library

The Human Dimensions of Disaster

What are the human dimensions of disaster, whether natural (earthquakes), man-made (the attacks of 9/11), or result of Hollywood magic? Participants from a range of disciplines will discuss the impacts of disasters on people, particularly considering the ethical and social implications disasters raise for us as individuals and as a society. An interdisciplinary discussion will follow.

This lecture is part of the Science, Medicine and Technology in Culture Lecture Series.

November 18, 2004
3:00 p.m.
102 Weaver Building