Women in Rebel Organizations (1960-2020), under review
While several studies provide insight into women’s participation in rebellion, data collection efforts are limited by a focus on women combatants or reliance on dyadic measures of complex phenomena. This article introduces the Women in Rebel Organizations (WIRO) dataset, a cross-national dataset of women’s participation in 150 rebel organizations operating between 1960-2020. The dataset includes ordinal prevalence measures of women’s participation in non-combat, combat, and leadership roles. The WIRO dataset incorporates a broader prevalence scale than existing data, capturing important variation in women’s rebel activities. The dataset also includes detailed, qualitative assessments of women’s involvement in each sampled organization, making it uniquely useful for multi-methods research. After illustrating how the WIRO dataset differs from related efforts and discussing descriptive trends, this article shows how it can be used to deepen our understanding of gender and rebellion.
Race and Racial Exclusion in Security Studies: A Survey of Scholars, under review
(with Kelebogile Zvobgo, Arturo Sotomayor, Maria Rost Rublee, George Karavas, and Constance Duncombe)
Increased attention to racialized knowledge and methodological whiteness has swept the political science discipline, in particular International Relations (IR). Yet an important dimension of race and racism continues to be ignored: the presence and status of scholars of color. In contrast to other fields, there is little research on (under)representation of scholars of color in security studies, and no systematic studies of race and exclusion that center their voices and experiences. Building on scholarship that contends with the fundamental whiteness of academia and knowledge creation, we present results from a 2019 survey of members of the International Security Studies Section (ISSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA). The data show that scholars of color and white scholars experience the field in dramatically different ways: scholars of color were more likely to report feeling unwelcome, being excluded from networking and professional development opportunities, and outright harassment.
The Visual War: Militant Propaganda in Civil Conflicts
Violent non-state organizations appreciate that legitimacy is key to their survival and success. Most groups consequently undertake governance and provision programs designed to persuade others of their appropriateness in cause and tactics. But while militants’ quest for legitimacy is well documented, we know little about how organizations use visual propaganda to develop and maintain public support. This is despite the proliferation of non-state groups’ publicity wings and evidence that emotional, militarized images can shift opinions about violence. In this article, I demonstrate the widespread production and utility of militant propaganda as a legitimacy-seeking tool in civil conflicts. I use and introduce the Militant Visuals Project (MVP), an original database of approximately 2900 visuals produced by 34 organizations fighting in internal conflicts between 1960 and 2018.These data focus on content attributes to identify trends and idiosyncrasies among organizations fighting in diverse conflict, allowing for both cross-national analyses of image content and descriptive case study to assess the roles, purposes, and forms of visual messaging among violent organizations.
I also conducted field and archival research in Northern Ireland and research in 11 other professional and academic archives to collect militant visuals. The MVDP also includes case narratives of militant visual operations, which range from highly sophisticated efforts to amateur publications. These include, but are not limited to, the ANC, FRELIMO, the Provisional IRA, Hamas, MPLA, FSLN, Amal, Hizbollah, and Palestinian groups including the PLO and sub-organizations like Fatah. When publicly available, the MVDP will include a searchable website to accompany the dataset that includes corresponding images and the case narratives.
"Violence Against Gender and Sexual Minorities During Civil Conflict"
(with Jamie J. Hagen)
Research on armed conflict’s gender dynamics has expanded significantly in the past decade. Moving away from the singular conception of women as sexual violence victims, scholars broaden the theoretical and empirical scope of gender-based violence to include male victims, women perpetrators, and non-sexual harms. But research in this field and the international architecture established to prevent gender-based violence pay little attention to sexual orientation and gender identity. Where relevant scholarship and policy interventions exist, they are largely siloed from work on gender-based violence. We argue for the theoretical expansion of ‘gender-based violence’ as a conceptual, empirical, and analytic category informed by sexuality studies, concluding that this framework can contextualize and help explain targeted attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people during conflict. We support this argument with novel, descriptive data on rebel violence, identifying at least 31 organizations that committed targeted abuses since 1980. We use these data to demonstrate that this type of violence is gender-based, to identify cross-conflict trends and variation, and to motivate future research in this area.
Women, Gender, and Ideology in the Contemporary American Militia Movement
(with Kanisha D. Bond)
The contemporary militia movement is a relatively understudied yet significant element of the American radical right, which is experiencing a renaissance of attention and political retrenchment. While this new spotlight tends to highlight the complicated relationships between men and women in this community, research on gender and militia mobilization rarely extends beyond examining the role of masculinity in this process. To explore how gender dynamics inform the movement’s ideology and activities more broadly, we focus in this paper on the ways that militia ideology is both constructed and communicated through groups' staging of sex, sexuality, and gender in their iconography. Using an original database of 341 U.S.-based militia organizations, we analyze a representative images disseminated by these groups for evidence of how they use sex, sexuality, and gender to legitimize their actions, normalize ideology, recruit new members, and consolidate cross-group platforms. We conclude that militia iconography--thus, militia ideology--relies heavily on gendered representations of paramilitary activity, duty to country, family, and citizenry, rule by the people, and nostalgic political superiority . We further suggest that images depicting women’s participation in and affiliation with militias provides particularly critical infrastructure and is a key vehicle for legitimizing and normalizing this ideology.