chapter  4
15 Pages

(Gendered) war

ByCAROLYN NORDSTROM

Barbara Ehrenreich (1997, 1) observed in her book Blood Rites: “Some years ago I had occasion to need a theory of war. The occasion, fortunately, was only a literary one.” I, too, found that I needed a theory of war, but, unfortunately, mine was not a literary need, but one born of seeing war’s frontlines. The first time I discovered the need for a theory of war was in the early 1980s in Sri Lanka, when the island suffered wave after wave of escalating political violence. I had at my disposal numerous theories of war provided by scholarly and military treatises, but, upon seeing war firsthand, I found none fit. Most reflected the same view of war as the opening poem: silent women thronging roadways, never seen, while men fight and die.