"This is a haunting work about the power of gender in organizing and transforming imperial violence. This book is an essential and enlightening read for anyone concerned with the long afterlives and contemporary refashioning of colonial violence and the politics of counterinsurgency and development." - Deborah Cowen, University of Toronto, author of Military Workfare
"At War with Women is a brilliant and original ethnographic and theoretical exploration of recent turns in the deployment of women as war labor and their deployment as ideological foils for a US military empire based in white masculinity." - Catherine Lutz, Brown University, author of Homefront
"At War with Women is an important critique of women's increasing involvement in US war fighting. Greenburg exposes a 'new imperial feminism' that helped whitewash the catastrophic 'war on terror' and advance deadly combat while perpetuating sexist stereotypes and racism." - David Vine, American University, author of The United States of War
"Jennifer Greenburg clearly shows not only why we need to pay more attention to women's military labor and the gendering and feminization of counterinsurgency but also how that labor and those gendering practices animate and sustain military power and global order." - Victoria Basham, Cardiff University, editor and co-founder of Critical Military Studies journal
"Excellent and eclectic, At War with Women weaves together ethnographic, archival, and historical sources to create a vivid picture of what post-9/11 military training looks like during a time of 'winning hearts and minds' and 'stability operations.'" - Roberto J. González, San Jose State University, author of War Virtually and coauthor of Militarization
At War with Women reveals how post-9/11 politics of gender and development have transformed US military power. In the mid-2000s, the US military used development as a weapon as it revived counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military assembled all-female teams to reach households and wage war through development projects in the battle for "hearts and minds." Despite women technically being banned from ground combat units, the all-female teams were drawn into combat nonetheless. Based on ethnographic fieldwork observing military trainings, this book challenges liberal feminist narratives that justified the Afghanistan War in the name of women's rights and celebrated women's integration into combat as a victory for gender equality. Jennifer Greenburg critically interrogates a new imperial feminism and its central role in securing US hegemony. Women's incorporation into combat through emotional labor has reinforced gender stereotypes, with counterinsurgency framing female soldiers as global ambassadors for women's rights. This book provides an analysis of US imperialism that keeps the present in tension with the past, clarifying where colonial ideologies of race, gender, and sexuality have resurfaced and how they are changing today.
Download a teaching resources document (PDF or google doc), including questions and classroom activities for At War with Women. Also includes materials to teach about the post-9/11 wars and US militarism more broadly.
At War with Women is freely available to you and your library as an open access e-book. Physical copies available with 30% discount from Cornell University Press. Use discount code 09BCARD at checkout. Also available via amazon, bookshop, etc.