Welcome

Welcome to this site on Histories of the Militant Woman by an historian of gender, emotions, citizenship, as well as militancy and political violence.

Women have a long history of engaging in acts of political aggression – from using militant strategies to deploying violent tactics. Think, for example, of the silently confronting tactics of the American Silent Sentinels or the Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina or the Wednesday Demonstrtaors in Seoul. Think also of the hatchet-throwing and jiu jitsu-practicing British suffragettes, the women soldiers of the socialist Irish Citizen Army or the Irish nationalist Cumann na mBan, or the women of the German Red Army Faction who bombed, kidnapped, robbed. Women have been passionately militant for a range of causes, nationalist, socialist, imperialist, feminist. They have invoked emotional, often heated, even violent, response when doing so.

Yet scholars remain divided on the issue of the moral legitimacy and political efficacy of women exercising militancy. Feminists are also divided about how justified women in particular are when it comes to using violent tactics for political ends. For many dedicated feminists, the violent woman disrupts traditional belief in the female sex as the pacifist sex.

This site will explore how we have historically approached the contentious subject of the woman employing militant and/or violent tactics. It will open up new questions for those interested in this topic. It will pay attention to the emotions of politics and of political strategies and tactics.

You will also find links to my writing on this – and a few other related issues, including the wider history of emotions!