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Teaching and Research resources: books 

 

In addition to the journal, the texts listed below may be of use to those interested in critical military studies and who want to know more or draw on them for teaching. If you'd like your work added, please let us know by emailing: editor@criticalmilitarystudies.org

Women Soldiers and Citizenship in Israel: Gendered Encounters with the State by Edna Lomsky-Feder and Orna Sasson-Levy

Women’s military service in Israel presents a compelling case study to explore the meaning of gendered citizenship. Lomsky-Feder and Sasson-Levy compellingly argue that women’s mandatory military service during an active ongoing violent conflict, occurring at a formative age, becomes an initiation process into gendered citizenship, where the women learn their marginal place in relation to the state. By analyzing the life stories and testimonies of young women from varied social backgrounds, the authors ask: How do young women soldiers manage their expectations vis-à-vis the hyper-masculine military institution? How do women experience their gendered citizenship as daily embodied and emotional practices in different military roles? How do women soldiers understand and cope with daily sexual harassment? And finally, how do women cope with the gendered silencing mechanisms of the violence of war and occupation, and what can women soldiers know about this violence when they choose to speak out?

The book offers a new conceptualization of citizenship as gendered encounters with the state. These encounters can be analyzed through three interrelated concepts: Multi-level contracts; Contrasting gendered experiences; Dis/acknowledging the military’s (external and internal) violence. Applying these three thought-provoking concepts, the authors depict the intricate, non-deterministic relationships between citizenship, military service and multiple gendered experiences.

The Palgrave International Handbook of Gender and the Military edited by Rachel Woodward and Claire Duncanson

The Palgrave International Handbook of Gender and the Military provides a comprehensive overview of the multiple ways in which gender and militaries connect.  International and multi-disciplinary in scope, this edited volume provides authoritative accounts of the many intersections through which militaries issues and military forces are shaped by gender.  The chapters provide detailed accounts of key issues, informed by examples from original research in a wealth of different national contexts.  This Handbook includes coverage of conceptual approaches to the study of gender and militaries, gender and the organisation of state military forces, gender as it pertains to military forces in action, transitions and transgressions within militaries, gender and non-state military forces, and gender in representations of military personnel and practices.  With contributions from a range of both established and early career scholars, The Palgrave International Handbook of Gender and the Military is an essential guide to current debates on gender and contemporary military issues.  

 

Soldiering under Occupation: Processes of Numbing among Israeli Soldiers in the Al-Aqsa Intifada by Erella Grassiani, 2013. 

Often, violent behavior or harassment from a soldier is dismissed by the military as unacceptable acts by individuals termed, “rotten apples.” In this study, Grassiani argues that this dismissal is unsatisfactory and that there is an urgent need to look at the (mis)behavior of soldiers from a structural point of view. When soldiers serve as an occupational force, they find themselves in a particular situation influenced by structural circumstances that heavily influence their behavior and moral decision-making. This study focuses on young Israeli men and their experiences as combat soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), particularly those who served in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories” (OPT) during the “Al Aqsa Intifada,” which broke out in 2000. In describing the soldiers’ circumstances, especially focusing on space, the study shows how processes of numbing on different levels influence the (moral) behavior of these soldiers.

 

War, Police and Assemblages of Intervention edited by Jan Bachmann, Colleen Bell and Caroline Holmqvist, 2014

This book reflects on the way in which war and police/policing intersect in contemporary Western-led interventions in the global South. The volume combines empirically oriented work with ground-breaking theoretical insights and aims to collect, for the first time, thoughts on how war and policing converge, amalgamate, diffuse and dissolve in the context both of actual international intervention and in understandings thereof.

 

War, Identity and the Liberal State: Everyday Experiences of the Geopolitical in the Armed Forces by Victoria M Basham, 2013

War, Identity and the Liberal State critically examines the significance of gender, race and sexuality to wars waged by liberal states and the soldiers who wage them. Drawing on original fieldwork research with British soldiers, it offers insights into how their lived experiences are shaped by, and shape, a politics of gender, race and sexuality that not only underpin power relations in the military, but a wider geopolitics of war. It explores how shared and collectively mediated knowledge on gender, race and sexuality facilitates certain claims about the nature of governing in liberal states and about why and how such states wage war against ‘illiberal’ ones in pursuit of global peace and security. In linking the politics of daily life to the international, this book insists that it is vital to explore how geopolitical events and practices are co-constituted, reinforced and contested in everyday experiences, practices and spaces. The book also urges scholars interested in the linguistic construction of geopolitics to consider the ways in which everyday objects, spaces and bodies also reinforce particular ideas about war, identity and statehood and some of their violent consequences. 

 

The Militarization of Childhood: Thinking Beyond the Global South edited by J. Marshall Beier, 2011

Thinking beyond the global South and recognizing that militarism circulates and interpenetrates childhood experience in ways that are much less conspicuous than child soldiering raises questions of critical relevance to but not yet taken up in the disciplinary study of international relations. The contributors to this volume inquire into the relationship between militarism and childhood in advanced (post)industrial societies and ask what can be learned about its sources and implications. Together they provide an important corrective to too narrow a focus on zones of conflict that might make it seem as though militarism operates through the lives of children only in distant and politically fraught places.

 

Bring Me Men: Military Masculinity and the Benign Façade of American Empire 1898-2001 by Aaron Belkin, 2012

The masculinity of those who serve in the American military would seem to be indisputable, yet it is full of contradictions. To become a warrior, one must renounce those things in life that are perceived to be unmasculine. Yet at the same time, the military has encouraged and even mandated warriors to do exactly the opposite. Bring Me Men explores these contradictions in great detail and shows that their invisibility has been central to the process of concealing the darkest secrets of American empire. By examining case studies that expose these contradictions - the phenomenon of male-on-male rape at the US Naval Academy, for example, as well as historical and contemporary attitudes toward cleanliness and filth - Belkin utterly upends our understanding of the relationship between warrior masculinity and American empire and the fragile processes sustaining it.

 

How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' by Aaron Belkin, 2011

Tuesday, Sept. 20 2010 marked a civil rights milestone for the United States. By order of Congress, the 17-year ban on gay men and lesbians serving in the military -- commonly known as "don't ask, don't tell" -- was overturned. But how did this historic change come about? And why did it take so long? In "How We Won," Aaron Belkin argues that the public needed to be persuaded that gay troops would not harm the military before Congress could be convinced to repeal the ban. Belkin, a scholar with more than a decade of hands-on experience in the repeal campaign, shares an insider's perspective on the strategies that he and others used to encourage this change of mind -- and change of heart -- in the American people and its Congress. His top strategy, a tactic which, surprisingly, progressives often fail to pursue, was targeting conservative lies. The implications of Belkin’s tactics extend far beyond the grass-roots movement to repeal "don't ask, don't tell". They challenge some of the left's most conventional wisdom about how to successfully set social policy. And the lessons that emerge could help progressives persuade the public about the merits of other big, liberal ideas, including the benefits of higher taxes and the dangers of an excessively strong military. But for now, as Belkin says, it's time to celebrate this one great victory.

 

Masculinities, militarisation and the End Conscription campaign: war resistance in Apartheid South Africa by Daniel Conway, 2012

Masculinities, militarisation and the End Conscription Campaign explores the gendered dynamics of apartheid-era South Africa’s militarisation and analyses the defiance of compulsory military service by individual white men, and the anti-apartheid activism of the white men and women in the End Conscription Campaign (ECC), the most significant white anti-apartheid movement to happen in South Africa. Military conscription and objection to it are conceptualised as gendered acts of citizenship and premised on and constitutive of masculinities.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Conway draws upon a range of materials and disciplines to produce this socio-political study. Sources include interviews with white men who objected to military service in the South African Defence Force (SADF); archival material, including military intelligence surveillance of the ECC; ECC campaigning material, press reports and other pro-state propaganda. The analysis is informed by perspectives in sociology, international relations, history and from work on contemporary militarised societies such as those in Israel and Turkey. This book also explores the interconnections between militarisation, sexuality, race, homophobia and political authoritarianism.

 

Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives by Cynthia Enloe, 2000

Maneuvers takes readers on a global tour of the sprawling process called "militarization." With her incisive verve and moxie, eminent feminist Cynthia Enloe shows that the people who become militarized are not just the obvious ones—executives and factory floor workers who make fighter planes, land mines, and intercontinental missiles. They are also the employees of food companies, toy companies, clothing companies, film studios, stock brokerages, and advertising agencies. Militarization is never gender-neutral, Enloe claims: It is a personal and political transformation that relies on ideas about femininity and masculinity. Films that equate action with war, condoms that are designed with a camouflage pattern, fashions that celebrate brass buttons and epaulettes, tomato soup that contains pasta shaped like Star Wars weapons—all of these contribute to militaristic values that mold our culture in both war and peace.</p> Enloe outlines the dilemmas feminists around the globe face in trying to craft theories and strategies that support militarized women, locally and internationally, without unwittingly being militarized themselves. She explores the complicated militarized experiences of women as prostitutes, as rape victims, as mothers, as wives, as nurses, and as feminist activists, and she uncovers the "maneuvers" that military officials and their civilian supporters have made in order to ensure that each of these groups of women feel special and separate.

 

 

Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War by Cynthia Enloe, 2011

Nimo, Maha, Safah, Shatha, Emma, Danielle, Kim, Charlene. In a book that once again blends her distinctive flair for capturing the texture of everyday life with shrewd political insights, Cynthia Enloe looks closely at the lives of eight ordinary women, four Iraqis and four Americans, during the Iraq War. Among others, Enloe profiles a Baghdad beauty parlor owner, a teenage girl who survived a massacre, an elected member of Parliament, the young wife of an Army sergeant, and an African American woman soldier. Each chapter begins with a close-up look at one woman’s experiences and widens into a dazzling examination of the larger canvas of war’s gendered dimensions. Bringing to light hidden and unexpected theaters of operation—prostitution, sexual assault, marriage, ethnic politics, sexist economies—these stories are a brilliant entryway into an eye-opening exploration of the actual causes, costs, and long-range consequences of war. This unique comparison of American and Iraqi women’s diverse and complex experiences sheds a powerful light on the different realities that together we call, perhaps too easily, “the Iraq war".

 

Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link by Cynthia Enloe, 2016 

Militarism is being globalized today, not only because weapons are being traded worldwide, but because certain ideas about "femininity" and "masculinity" are being promoted and absorbed globally. Who is presumed to be the "protector"? Who is taught to be grateful to be the "protected"? Written by one of the world's leading feminist scholars, this masterful and provocative book considers how women's desires to be patriotic yet feminine and men's fears of being feminized have been exploited to globalize militarism—and thus what it will take to roll back militarization anywhere. Through explorations of how governments think so narrowly about "national security," of how postwar reconstruction efforts have marginalized women, of how ideas about feminization were used to humiliate male prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and of why "camo" has become a fashion statement, Cynthia Enloe unravels militarism's both blatant and subtle workings. Focusing her lens on the "big picture" of international politics and on the small picture of women's and men's complex everyday lives, Enloe challenges us to recognize militarism in all its forms.

 

Breaking Ranks: Iraq Veterans Speak Out Against the War by Matthew C. Gutmann and Catherine Anne Lutz, 2010

Breaking Ranks brings a new and deeply personal perspective to the war in Iraq by looking into the lives of six veterans who turned against the war they helped to fight. Based on extensive interviews with each of the six, the book relates why they enlisted, their experiences in training and in early missions, their tours of combat, and what has happened to them since returning home. The compelling stories of this diverse cross-section of the military recount how each journey to Iraq began with the sincere desire to do good. Matthew Gutmann and Catherine Anne Lutz show how each individual's experiences led to new moral and political understandings and ultimately to opposing the war

 

Politics of Violence: Militancy, International Politics, Killing in the Name by Charlotte Heath-Kelly, 2013

Critical thinkers like Foucault, Benjamin, Derrida and Žižek have long challenged the liberal separation of violence and politics by highlighting the implicit violence within political and economic structures. But in an era of international terrorism and counter-terrorism, should we not also reverse the question to ask ‘what is political about violence?’ Using interviews with ex-militants from Italian leftist struggle of the 1970s and the Cypriot anti-colonial militancy of the 1950s, Heath-Kelly explores the political utility of violence. Studies of conflict and international politics rarely address how killing and injuring function to win wars or overturn regimes. But by rejecting conceptions of violence as a means-to-an-end found in the works of Clausewitz and Arendt, this book draws upon studies of pain to explore the ways in which armed struggle produces new political subjects and regimes, and discredits others, through experiences of violence. Using Elaine Scarry’s conception of pain as ‘world-destroying’ and Walter Benjamin’s delineation of violence as either lawmaking or law-preserving to frame ex-militant discussions of participation in armed struggle, the book contributes a pathbreaking empirical exploration of violence to international politics literatures - moving the study of political violence away from an understanding of violence as just a means-to-an-end.

 

Death and security: Memory and mortality at the bombsite by Charlotte Heath-Kelly, 2016 

Making a bold intervention into critical security studies literature, this book explores the ontological relationship between mortality and security. It considers the mortality theories of Heidegger and Bauman alongside literature from the sociology of death, before undertaking a comparative exploration of the memorialisation of four prominent post-terrorist sites: the World Trade Centre in New York, the Bali bombsite, the London bombings and the Norwegian sites attacked by Anders Breivik. By interviewing the architects and designers of these reconstruction projects, the book shows that practices of memorialisation are a retrospective security endeavour - they conceal and re-narrate the traumatic incursion of death. Disaster recovery is replete with security practices that return mortality to its sublimated position and remove the disruption posed by mortality to political authority. The book will be of significant interest to academics and postgraduates working in the fields of critical security studies, memory studies and international politics.

 

Insecure Spaces: Peacekeeping, Power and Performance in Haiti, Kosovo and Liberia by Paul Higate and Marsha Henry, 2009

In recent times, the Blue Berets have become markers of peace and security around the globe. Yet, the iconoclastic symbol of both the Blue Beret and the Blue Helmet continue to engage the international political imagination in ways that downplay the inconsistent effects of peacekeeping missions on the security of local people. In this book, Paul Higate and Marsha Henry develop critical perspectives on UN and NATO peacekeeping, arguing that these forms of international intervention are framed by the exercise of power. Their analysis of peacekeeping, based on fieldwork conducted in Haiti, Liberia and Kosovo, suggests that peacekeeping reconfigures former conflict zones in ways that shape perceptions of security. This reconfiguration of space is enacted by peacekeeping personnel who 'perform' security through their daily professional and personal practices, sometimes with unanticipated effects. Insecure Spaces' interdisciplinary analysis sheds great light on the contradictory mix of security and insecurity that peace operations create.

 

Squaddies: Portrait of a Subculture by John Hockey, 2006 (1986)

This remarkable book is the first ever sociological study of an operational army unit. The author, himself a former regular soldier, observed a group of raw recruits to the British Army during their basic training, accompanied a unit on an exercise in Canada and also went with it to the dangerous bandit country of South Armagh. John Hockey paints a memorable picture of the subculture of private soldiers in today's regular infantry, and he shows vividly how this conforms and conflicts with the formal demands of the military organisation. Anyone who wants to know more about the working of the army at the grassroots level will find this book essential reading.

 

The Men We Loved: Male Friendship and Nationalism in Israeli Culture by Danny Kaplan, 2006

Some semi-public, exclusive male settings, most noticeably in the military, encourage the production of intimacy and desire. Yet whereas in most instances this desire is displaced through humour and aggressive gestures, it becomes acknowledged and outright declared once associated with sites of heroic death. In his provocative study of interrelations between friendship in everyday life and national sentiments in Israel, the author follows selected stories of friendship ranging over early childhood, school, the workplace, and some unique war experiences. He explores the symbolism of friendship in rituals for the fallen soldiers, the commemoration of Prime Minister Yzhak Rabin, and the national infatuation with recovering bodies of missing soldiers. He concludes that the Israeli case offers an extreme instance of a much broader cultural phenomenon: declaring the friendship for the dead epitomizes the political “blood pact” between men, taking precedence over the traditional blood ties of kinship and heterosexual unions. The book underscores nationalism as a homosocial-based emotion of commemorative desire

 

Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century by Catherine A. Lutz, 2002

A look at Fayetteville, North Carolina, home to Fort Bragg, that poses the question, 'Are we all military dependants?'  Fayetteville has earned the nicknames of Fatalville and Fayettenam. Unusual and not-so unusual features of the town include gross income inequalities, an extraordinarily high incidence of venereal disease, miles and miles of strip malls, and a history of racial violence. Through interviews with residents and historical research, Catherine Lutz immerses herself in the life of the town to discover how it has supported the military for over a century. From secret training operations that use civilians as mock enemies and allies to the satellite economy of the town, Lutz's history of Fayetteville reveals the burdens that military preparedness creates for all of us. 

 

The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts edited by Catherine Lutz, 2009

This book examines US military bases across the globe including those in Latin America, Europe, and Asia. It documents the massive political, economic and environmental impacts that these outposts have and studies the movements and campaigns against them. US Military bases form a huge global system but are poorly understood by those not directly involved in their operation. The Pentagon is currently relocating many bases to fit with the strategies of pre-emption and resource control and this has intensified existing conflicts between the military and local people. The authors of this volume show how these seemingly local disputes are crucial to the success and failure of the American imperial project, and attempt to bring together the geographically scattered opposition movements to form a coherent campaign against the harmful effects of bases.

 

Beyond the Bank of Brothers: The US Military and the Myth that Women Can't Fight by Megan MacKenzie, 2015

Women can't fight. This assumption lies at the heart of the combat exclusion, a policy that was fiercely defended as essential to national security, despite evidence that women have been contributing to hostile operations now and throughout history. This book examines the role of women in the US military and the key arguments used to justify the combat exclusion, in the light of the decision to reverse the policy in 2013. Megan MacKenzie considers the historic role of the combat exclusion in shaping American military identity and debunks claims that the recent policy change signals a new era for women in the military. MacKenzie shows how women's exclusion from combat reaffirms male supremacy in the military and sustains a key military myth, the myth of the band of brothers. This book will be welcomed by scholars and students of military studies, gender studies, social and military history, and foreign policy.

 

Making War at Fort Hood: Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community by Kenneth T. MacLeish, 2013

Making War at Fort Hood</i> offers an illuminating look at war through the daily lives of the people whose job it is to produce it. Kenneth MacLeish conducted a year of intensive fieldwork among soldiers and their families at and around the US Army's Fort Hood in central Texas. He shows how war's reach extends far beyond the battlefield into military communities where violence is as routine, boring, and normal as it is shocking and traumatic. Fort Hood is one of the largest military installations in the world, and many of the 55,000 personnel based there have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. MacLeish provides intimate portraits of Fort Hood's soldiers and those closest to them, drawing on numerous in-depth interviews and diverse ethnographic material. He explores the exceptional position that soldiers occupy in relation to violence--not only trained to fight and kill, but placed deliberately in harm's way and offered up to die. The death and destruction of war happen to soldiers on purpose. MacLeish interweaves gripping narrative with critical theory and anthropological analysis to vividly describe this unique condition of vulnerability. Along the way, he sheds new light on the dynamics of military family life, stereotypes of veterans, what it means for civilians to say "thank you" to soldiers, and other questions about the sometimes ordinary, sometimes agonizing labor of making war. Making War at Fort Hood is the first ethnography to examine the everyday lives of the soldiers, families, and communities who personally bear the burden of America's most recent wars.

 

Gender, War and Conflict by Laura Sjoberg, 2014

From Pakistan to Chechnya, Sri Lanka to Canada, pioneering women are taking their places in formal and informal military structures previously reserved for, and assumed appropriate only for men. Women have fought in wars, either as women or covertly dressed as men, throughout the history of warfare, but only recently have they been allowed to join state militaries, insurgent groups, and terrorist organizations in unprecedented numbers. This begs the question - how useful are traditional gendered categories in understanding the dynamics of war and conflict? And why are our stories of gender roles in war typically so narrow? Who benefits from them? In this illuminating book, Laura Sjoberg explores how gender matters in war-making and war-fighting today. Drawing on a rich range of examples from conflicts around the world, she shows that both women and men play many more diverse roles in wars than either media or scholarly accounts convey. Gender, she argues, can be found at every turn in the practice of war; it is crucial to understanding not only ‘what war is’, but equally how it is caused, fought and experienced.

 

Criminology and War: Transgressing the Borders edited by Sandra Walklate and Ross McGarry, 2015.

It is widely observed that the study of war has been paid limited attention within criminology. This is intellectually curious given that acts of war have occurred persistently throughout history and perpetuate criminal acts, victimisation and human rights violations on a scale unprecedented with domestic levels of crime. However, there are authoritative voices within criminology who have been studying war from the borders of the discipline. This book contains a selection of criminological authors who have been authoritatively engaged in studying criminology and war.

 

Military Migrants: Fighting for YOUR Country by Vron Ware, 2012

Military Migrants places questions of racism, national identity, diversity and multiculture at the heart of this study of the British Army. From 1998 to 2013 the organisation recruited heavily from Commonwealth countries, a strategy that simultaneously addressed a chronic labour shortage and the new legal obligations to diversify its workforce. The book documents the impact of equality and diversity legislation on the army as it listens to stories of men and women from Fiji, Ghana, St Vincent, South Africa, Nepal and many other countries represented within Britain’s multinational military. The recruitment of non-UK citizens to fight in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan effectively created a new category of migrant soldiers who have found themselves lauded as ‘heroes’ yet at the same time stigmatized as ‘immigrants’ and ‘foreigners'. 

 

Conscientious Objectors in Israel: Citizenship, Sacrifice and Trials of Fealty by Erica Weiss, 2014

In Conscientious Objectors in Israel, Erica Weiss examines the lives of Israelis who have refused to perform military service for reasons of conscience. Based on long-term fieldwork, this ethnography chronicles the personal experiences of two generations of Jewish conscientious objectors as they grapple with the pressure of justifying their actions to the Israeli state and society—often suffering severe social and legal consequences, including imprisonment. While most scholarly work has considered the causes of animosity and violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Conscientious Objectors in Israel examines how and under what circumstances one is able to refuse to commit acts of violence in the midst of that conflict. By exploring the social life of conscientious dissent, Weiss exposes the tension within liberal citizenship between the protection of individual rights and obligations of self-sacrifice. While conscience is a strong cultural claim, military refusal directly challenges Israeli state sovereignty. Weiss explores conscience as a political entity that sits precariously outside the jurisdictional bounds of state power. Through the lens of Israeli conscientious objection, Weiss looks at the nature of contemporary citizenship, examining how the expectations of sacrifice shape the politics of both consent and dissent. In doing so, she exposes the sacrificial logic of the modern nation-state and demonstrates how personal crises of conscience can play out on the geopolitical stage.

 

Sudden Justice: America's Secret Drone Wars by Chris Woods 2015

An even-handed exposé of the little-understood yet extremely significant world of drone warfare. Comprehensive insights from many of those intimately involved — the pilots and analysts, Special Forces and intelligence officials, and Pentagon commanders who have fought America’s secret drone wars. Author is an award-winning journalist whose investigations for major news outlets have helped expose the hidden realities of drone warfare  

 

Military Geographies by Rachel Woodward, 2004

Military Geographies is about how local space, place, environment and landscape are shaped by military presence, and about how wider geographies are touched by militarism. It looks at how local space, place, environment and landscape are shaped by military presence, and about how wider geographies are touched by militarism. This book sets a new agenda for the study of military geography with its critical analysis of the ways in which military control over space is legitimized. It explores the ways in which militarism and military activities control development, the use of space and our understanding of place. Military Geographies focuses on military lands, establishments and personnel in contemporary peacetime settings and uses examples from Europe, North America and Australasia. It draws on original research into the mechanisms by which the British government manages the defence estate.

 

Sexing the Soldier: The Politics of Gender and the Contemporary British Army by Rachel Woodward and Trish Winter, 2007

Sexing the Soldier takes a critical look at how gender - what it means to be a man or a woman - is understood within the contemporary British Army, and the political and practical consequences of this. Drawing on original research, this informative volume looks at: the history and structure of the British Army as a masculine institution; personnel policies which deal with gender issues; the construction of ideas about military masculinities and femininities within the Army; and media representations of the figure of the soldier. Using case studies ranging from the exclusion of women from direct combat posts, to the issues surrounding bullying, this book argues that we need a fuller, more nuanced assessment of gender issues in the military that moves beyond the simplistic ideas about women's and men's 'natural' capacities for soldiering. 

 

Soldier Exposures and Technical Publics - a collaborative visual essay edited by Zoë Wool,

In this collaborative visual essay, we consider an idiosyncratic assemblage of pictures of American soldiers. These are not iconic images that “speak for themselves” but less conventional ones that suggest both the technical expertise involved in producing and managing war’s violence and the vulnerability of soldiers at the heart of war. In considering these images as technical, we highlight the many forms of war’s material and technical expertise, expertise that is often disarticulated from the social, political, and ethical fields on which war equally relies. The images range from grainy World War I–era photographs, recovered from cluttered archives, to digitally generated contemporary images that depict the results of war’s embrace of high technology. Their material qualities reflect something of their intended publics: the curled edges of a Vietnam War snapshot tucked away inside a shoebox (Jauregui); the high resolution of an advertisement that speaks to contemporary soldiers’ special knowledge of explosive force and special role as savvy gear consumers (MacLeish); the directed gaze of soldiers whose bodies bear the weight of innovations in prosthetics and weapons systems, both of which technologically extend the body (Serlin, Lawrie, Kaplan); and the precise composition of images used to display soldiers’ special prowess to medical or technical experts or else to cultivate such technical readings in a broader public (Linker, Masco, Wool).