Women & War: A Feminist Podcast

Women & War

Women in regions affected by war and forced displacement are highly visible in media accounts. Yet, their resistance against different forms of violence – from so-called domestic abuse to large-scale state violence – often goes unrecognized. Women & War is a platform to learn about powerful women’s struggles for liberation, justice and peace. The podcast amplifies critical contemporary feminist work in the field of war, violence, colonialism, and forced migration. The invited guests – who are engaged feminist academics and activists - speak about legacies of genocide, femicide, occupation, and invasion in the context of places like Armenia, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Palestine, Pakistan and beyond. In addition to providing background and sharing knowledge, the guests reflect on their own scholarship and discuss contemporary knowledge production on women’s resistance. Together, guest and host counter Orientalist and patriarchal narratives and instead center women’s practices of resistance and collective struggle, past and present. While offering historical context to contemporary wars and conflicts in the region, Women & War seeks to be a space to build transnational feminist solidarity.The podcast is not detached from political events and developments. In fact, recent developments such as the 2021 handover of Afghanistan to the Taliban or the Turkish state’s military operations in three parts of Kurdistan over the last years were among the events that sparked the idea to launch this project. These and other experiences discussed in the episodes illustrate why it is crucial to view gender as a central, rather than secondary question in our understanding of political conflicts.This podcast is hosted by political sociologist Dr Dilar Dirik, Junior Research Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre and Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford. This project has been made possible through the University of Oxford's Public Engagement with Research Fund. read less

#6 State Violence, Militarism and Gender in Pakistan
Jul 1 2022
#6 State Violence, Militarism and Gender in Pakistan
The arms industry is widely known to be one of the most corrupt and deadly sectors in the world. Often exempt from transparency and accountability, this industry produces the weapons and technology necessary for the wars that kill, disappear or displace millions of people every year.Unfortunately, UK universities, too, are implicated in this business through their cooperation with arms manufacturing companies that supply weapons to war zones. This includes the University of Oxford, where this podcast is based. As calls for divestment from the fossil fuels industry are on the rise, so too are student and staff campaigns for divestment in the war and border industries. Anti-war and anti-militarism have historically been key causes of women’s liberation struggles arund the world. This is not least because zones of war, conflict and securitization often create climates of impunity for all sorts of violence and injustice, including gendered and sexualized violence. State violence and militarism create war-like conditions even during times of peace, especially for women and for communities at the margins of state power. In the name of national security, states mobilize their resources to control and govern populations through violence or threats of violence. Unsurprisingly, the language of security often gets applied to wider constituencies to render dissent, opposition and resistance impossible.In this episode, Dilar Dirik is in conversation with Mahvish Ahmad, who has researched and reported on state violence and militarism in Pakistan for many years. Among other things, they speak about the ways in which the lives of women, including women from oppressed and minoritized communities in Pakistan, get impacted by state violence and the ways in which state violence and patriarchal violence interact. What do women in Balochistan for example mean by patriarchy in uniform? What is it like to work and research on these topics as a woman? Mahvish talks about historical women’s struggles in the region and about contemporary feminist activism and women’s resistance in Pakistan. She further discusses the role of media in the representation of war and violence in Pakistan and the ways in which dynamics on the ground in warzones get framed according to dominant perspectives. In this conversation, we also learn about the value of learning from movements struggling for liberation, a major aspect of Mahvish’s work. What can we learn from the analyses put forward by social/political movements, especially in contexts of war, occupation, state violence, and militarism? In what ways has the US-led so-called war on terror shaped knowledge production on entire regions and countries? How are social movements and grassroots activists impacted by this?Mahvish Ahmad studies state violence and movements resisting militarism in Pakistan. She is the co-founder of Revolutionary Papers, a transnational research project investigating anticolonial movement texts in the 20th century (with Chana Morgenstern and Koni Benson), a co-convener of Archives of the Disappeared which investigates the problem of finding archives and evidence in sites of mass atrocity (with Yael Navaro, Mezna Qato and Chana Morgenstern), and a co-founder of Tanqeed, an English/Urdu bilingual magazine that primarily covered military violence in Pakistan until 2017 (with Madiha Tahir). She is an Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Politics at the London School of Economics.This project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund.Music: Hum Dekhenge - Iqbal Bano
#5 Violence and Resistance in the Lives of Kurdish Women: From Dêrsim to Rojava
Jul 1 2022
#5 Violence and Resistance in the Lives of Kurdish Women: From Dêrsim to Rojava
Historically, the Turkish state's relationship to women at the margins of its power has been characterized by violence and dispossession. Even as the Turkish Republic, founded in 1923, brought about progressive reforms in society, such as education and work opportunities for women, permissible femininity required compliance with the nationalist framework of the state. The first female pilot in Turkey, Sabiha Gökçen, adopted daughter of the republic’sfounder, Mustafa Kemal, took part in the devastating bombardment of civilians in the Alevi-Kurdish region of Dêrsim (renamed by the state as ‘Tunceli’) in the late 1930s and continues to be praised as a symbol for the ‘modern’ values of the republic. In this episode, Dilar Dirik speaks to Ozlem Goner on Kurdish women's experiences with state violence and their resistance against it.  Ozlem Goner talks in particular about her research on the  massacre in her hometown of Dêrsim. Ozlem Goner is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Staten Island, and Middle Eastern Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her book entitled, Turkish National Identity and its Outsiders: Memories of State Violence in Dersim, was published by Routledge in June 2017. She is a steering committee member of the Emergency Committee for Rojava.This episode was recorded at a time in which the Turkish state under Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened yet another military invasion and occupation of Rojava, while leading military operations in Başûr (Southern Kurdistan) within Iraqi borders and continuing repression against Kurds and oppositions inside Turkish borders. As activists and organizations under the umbrella of the Kurdish women's liberation movement have repeatedly pointed out, these campaigns of state violence have an explicitly feminicidal character. In recent years, politically active Kurdish women have become a strategic target of assassinations, drone strikes, and imprisonment. Thus, Ozlem and Dilar discuss the continuities between episodes of violence and resistance, past and present, as well as opportunities for common struggles beyond borders.  This project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund.Music: Daye Daye - Aynur Dogan
#4 Palestinian Women's Struggles against Colonization & Patriarchy
Jul 1 2022
#4 Palestinian Women's Struggles against Colonization & Patriarchy
Palestinian women have a long history of struggling on multiple fronts. Throughout the history of the Israeli occupation, women organized themselves politically, socially, culturally and also militarily in the national liberation struggle. They were involved in guerrilla actions, but they also resisted as political prisoners, as organizers, and as carers. They participated en masse in the popular uprisings known as the Intifadas. Today, too, Palestinian women engage in a variety of strategies and tactics, from educational work to protest actions to building bridges of struggle internationally. On a daily basis, Palestinians continue to defend their lands and homes from settler-colonial violence, as illustrated in what came to be known as the Unity Intifada in 2021.In this episode, Dr Yara Hawari, a Palestinian feminist scholar, writer, analyst and activist, walks us through the decades-old history Palestinian women’s resistance against settler colonialism, apartheid, and patriarchal violence. Gendered violence, as Yara describes, is part and parcel of the militaristic Israeli state, which not only rewards hypermasculinity inside Israeli society, but also activates patriarchy in Palestinian society to control populations, including women. All of these factors shape the lives of Palestinian women and their everyday struggles for a life in freedom and peace.Dr Yara Hawari is the Senior Analyst of Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. She completed her PhD in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, where she taught various undergraduate courses and continues to be an honorary research fellow. In addition to her academic work, which focused on indigenous studies and oral history, she is a frequent political commentator writing for various media outlets including The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and Al Jazeera English. Her debut novella, The Stone House, was published in December 2021.Music: Palestinian Freedom Medley - Aya HalafThis project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund.
#3 Theoretically Speaking: Capitalist Patriarchy and the Gendered War
Jul 1 2022
#3 Theoretically Speaking: Capitalist Patriarchy and the Gendered War
This episode of Women & War does not focus on one particular context or region, but rather aims to give a sense of the ways in which feminists theorize war, violence, occupation, and colonization. How to connect everyday experiences and large-scale systems of oppression? How to make sense of resistance?  How to think through and beyond differences? What is the role of knowledge production for justice and liberation? What should be the responsibilities of feminism in the 21st century?In this episode, Dilar Dirik is joined by Professor Shahrzad Mojab, a scholar, teacher, and activist, internationally known for her work on the impact of war, displacement, and violence on women's learning and education; gender, state, migration and diaspora; Marxist feminism and anti-racism pedagogy. Shahrzad Mojab is professor of Adult Education and Community Development and Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto. She is the former Director of Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity and the Women and Gender Institute, University of Toronto. Shahrzad is the recipient of the 2020 Canadian Association of Studies in Adult Education Lifetime Achievement Award and the Royal Society of Canada Award in Gender Studies in 2010.  She is the editor of the book series with Peter Lang on Kurdish People, History and Politics and is on the editorial board of the Routledge Teresa L. Ebert and Mas’ud Zavarzadeh Books in Marxist Social and Cultural Theory and the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures, among others.  Her recent books include: Marxism and Migration (co-edited with Genevie Ritchie and Sara Carpenter, forthcoming); Women of Kurdistan: A Historical and Bibliographical Study (co-authored with Amir Hassanpour, 2021); Revolutionary Learning: Marxism, Feminism and Knowledge (co-authored with Sara Carpenter, 2017); Youth as/in Crisis: Young People, Public Policy, and the Politics of Learning (co-edited with Sara Carpenter, 2017); Marxism and Feminism (editor, 2015); Educating from Marx: Race, Gender and Learning (co-edited with Sara Carpenter, 2012); Women, War, Violence, and Learning (editor, 2010); Violence in the Name of Honour: Theoretical and Political Challenges (co-edited with Nahla Abdo, 2004); Of Property and Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism (co-edited with Himani Bannerji and Judith Whitehead, 2001); and Women of a Non-State Nation: The Kurds (editor, 2001).A unique feature of Shahrzad’s work is making knowledge accessible to public through the use of arts such as story-telling, dance, drama, painting and film. She has been the guest editor of the special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East Journal and International Journal of Lifelong Education. Her most recent Social Science and Humanities Research Council research projects are Youth in Transition: War, Migration, and ‘Regenerative Possibilities’ and The Pedagogy and Policy of Refugee Youth Resettlement. The Ontario Arts Council has funded her project with Roshanak Jaberi and Doris Rajan, No Woman’s Land, a dance project to capture the experience of refugee women of sexual violence. She has archived and curatted the experience of women in prison in the Middle East in the website, The Art of Resistance in the Middle East: http://www.womenpoliticalprisoners.com. Marx & I  is her recent radical pedagogy collective production: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npBPi4Ko9RoThis project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund. Music: Aşitî (Polyushka Polye) - Suna Alan
#2 Women and Genocide: Insights from the Armenian Case
Jul 1 2022
#2 Women and Genocide: Insights from the Armenian Case
Knowledge production on genocide has historically tended to downplay or ignore the gendered logics that underpin the phenomenon. This has been challenged by feminist scholarship on war and political violence. The Armenian Genocide was an episode of murder, violence, torture, and forced migration, ordered by Ottoman Turkish officials and enabled by a range of actors. Armenian women were specifically terrorized in this phase. During long, deadly deportation journeys, they were exposed to all sorts of gendered attacks. This gendered violence was not a by-product; it was a key characteristic of the genocide. Learning about the Armenian Genocide is not only important for ongoing efforts towards justice and truth-seeking about past historical episodes of large-scale violence and the ways in which these impact contemporary politics and social relations between communities. It also matters because history repeats itself. As podcast guest Dr Lerna Ekmekçioğlu explains, the genocide committed by ISIS on the Êzidî community in 2014 had shocking parallels to the Armenian genocide, especially when it comes to its gendered aspects. Dr Lerna Ekmekçioğlu is an Associate Professor of History at MIT where she is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Department. Her research focuses on the late Ottoman Empire, early Turkish Republic, and minorities, especially Armenians. Her first monograph, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey, came out from Stanford University Press in 2016.  In 2006 she co-edited a volume in Turkish on the first five Armenian Ottoman feminists (Bir Adalet Feryadı,, Aras Yayıncılık). Currently she is collaborating with Dr. Melissa Bilal (UCLA) for a book and digital humanities project titled “Feminism in Armenian: An Interpretive Anthology and Documentary Archive” (Stanford U. Press, 2024). "This project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund.Music: Gago Mare, Garke Zis— (Arrange My Marriage) · Zulal
#1 Women's Struggles in Afghanistan: Hazara Women and the Return of the Taliban
Jul 1 2022
#1 Women's Struggles in Afghanistan: Hazara Women and the Return of the Taliban
In August 2021, the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan after the US administration under Joe Biden decided to pull out of the country after two decades. As entire infrastructures for politics, civil society, and public services collapsed, the situation of women has been worsening on a daily basis under the Taliban's patriarchal regime of violence and domination.In this episode, podcast host Dilar Dirik is joined by outspoken activists Noshin Rad and Homira Rezai to speak about the situation of women in Afghanistan, with particular focus on the historically oppressed Hazara community, which is specifically targeted by the Taliban.  They discuss the history of war, violence, and occupation in Afghanistan as well as the latest developments on the ground. Noshin Rad is a social scientist with a Master's Degree in Migration and Diaspora Studies from SOAS, University of London. Dr Homira Rezai holds a PhD in Medical Research and is the chair of the Hazara Committee in the UK (HCUK), a non-profit organization working for the British-Hazara Community in the country and advocates for the rights of Hazaras in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Through her work at HCUK, she has written several reports and parliamentary briefs on the Hazaras providing information on the the situation on the ground.This project is made possible through the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research fund.Music: Gole Sadbarg - Elaha SoroorSarzamin-e Man - Dawood Sarkhosh
#0: Introduction to Women & War: A Feminist Podcast
Jun 30 2022
#0: Introduction to Women & War: A Feminist Podcast
Welcome to Women and War: a feminist podcast. This podcast is created by Dilar Dirik, a political sociologist at the University of Oxford (Refugee Studies Centre & Lady Margaret Hall) and has been made possible through funding from the University of Oxford’s Public Engagement with Research Fund. In this introduction episode, Dilar Dirik talks about the philosophy behind this podcast.Content warning: Several of the episodes have mentions (and, in some cases, graphic descriptions) of rape, sexual violence, misogyny, harassment, femi(ni)cide, homophobia, transphobia, racism, slavery, genocide, and settler-colonial violence. Please do skip this podcast, if staying away from such topic is something you need to do at this point. This podcast is not detached from current political events and developments. In fact, recent developments such as the 2021 handover of Afghanistan to the Taliban or the Turkish state’s military operations in three parts of Kurdistan over the last years were among the events that sparked the idea to launch this project. These and other experiences discussed in the six main episodes of this podcast illustrate why it is crucial to view gender as a central, rather than secondary question in our understanding of political violence. It is widely recognized that women are disproportionately vulnerable in contexts of war and forced displacement. Images of women from the regions covered in the episodes of this podcast are highly visible in media accounts. Yet, knowledge production on political conflict, from media to academia, often treats the dimension of gender as a side issue. What is more, women’s resistance against different forms of violence – from so-called domestic abuse to militarism and large-scale state violence – often goes unrecognized.Much fascinating feminist work is written by women who produce knowledge for a world without violence. Sadly, much of this work is kept behind institutional walls; most people don’t have access to the knowledge produced in academia. People need institutional affiliation to even browse these works. But this is not the only barrier. Often, academic language, including feminist theory is highly inaccessible. It is difficult to understand and, as many people would agree, unnecessarily so. This podcast's position is that knowledge must be free and accessible to everyone, without gates, barriers, or borders.  Women & War is a platform to learn about women’s experiences with war, violence, occupation, colonization and forced displacement, but also about their collective struggles for liberation, justice and peace. The invited guests – who are engaged, critical feminist academics and activists - speak about legacies of genocide, femicide, occupation, and invasion in the context of places like Armenia, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Palestine, Pakistan and beyond. In addition to providing background and sharing knowledge, the guests reflect on their own scholarship and discuss contemporary knowledge production on women’s resistance. Together, we counter Orientalist and patriarchal narratives and instead center women’s practices of resistance and collective struggle, past and present. The podcast treats gender as a central organizing principle that manifests in a variety of ways within different forms of violence. It also aims to amplify the diversity of experiences in the region. While offering historical context to contemporary wars and conflicts in the region, Women & War seeks to be a space to build transnational feminist solidarity.Music: Meryem Meryemti - Grup YorumSocial Media hashtag #WomenWarPodTwitter: @WomenWarPodcastInstagram: @women_war_podcast