“Gender and knowledge of terrorism: some ideas from fieldwork in Palestine” 1pm, 14/01 G09 at the Graduate School

Happy New Year everybody! We hope you enjoyed the Christmas break.

Carl Gibson from the Politics and International Relations department will be launching our spring term programme at 1-2pm on Thursday 14th January in G09 atthe Graduate School. He will be presenting to us the fieldwork he has undertaken in Palestine on the subject of terrorism. We look forward to seeing you there whether you be politics students or from other departments. We have a feeling it will be a very exciting talk indeed seeing that Carl has been conducting his fieldwork in what is presently a very dangerous part of the world.

Carl’s Abstract: 

Terrorism is a discourse of legitimacy: what violence is acceptable and what is not? Critical approaches to terrorism see it as a particular discourse brought about and sustained by structures and relations of power. This raises the crucial question: who gets to decide what terrorism is?

Several biases exist in the formation of dominant discourse(s) on terrorism, including the state, the ‘West’, and the Patriarchy. If politics is an infamously male space, counter-terrorism, Terrorism Studies, and the realm of emergency politics are even more so.  Yet, while (white) men overwhelmingly have the privilege of framing terrorism in line with their own narratives and agendas, gender is certainly not absent from those narratives.

In my research, I look at how Palestinian communities (come to) understand the concept of terrorism. I will argue that gender – of course – plays a role in the construction of Palestinian narrative(s), both in terms of the females voices within a discursive competition to say ‘what terrorism is’ and in terms of gender as object within male-driven narratives of terrorism.

In my talk, I will introduce some (preliminary) ways in which conceptions of and narratives about gender have helped frame discussions of which violence is legitimate and which is terrorism. Specifically, I will present some ideas that are emerging from my own fieldwork in Palestine.

Finally – as much of the ethnographic data generation remains in progress – I will address some issues of methodology and, thinking reflexively, the challenges of undertaking a gendered analysis of terrorism (especially as a Western male researcher)


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