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Accepted Paper:

The Gendered Ramifications of Postwar: An Intersectional Analysis of Gender Violence and Survivor Advocacy in Guatemala and Democratic Republic of Congo  
Serena Cosgrove (Seattle University)

Paper short abstract:

What happens after peace accords are signed? For those marginalized by gender, race, ethnicity, and poverty, life can be even dangerous than during wartime. This paper examines the vulnerability and agency of women survivors of gender violence in the postwar settings of Guatemala and the DR Congo.

Paper long abstract:

Disproportionately affected by wartime violence and ongoing gender violence, women and the local organizations serving them are directly engaging these gendered challenges (Anderlini 2007; Lake 2018) in Guatemala and the Democratic Republic of Congo. To illuminate the dual phenomenon of women’s vulnerability and agency in postconflict settings, I use Kimberlé Crenshaw’s global adaptation of intersectionality, which she presented to the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on “Gender and Racial Discrimination” in 2000. This framework serves two purposes: 1) It describes how social difference can exacerbate vulnerability for people who experience exclusion due to gender, race, and other identities. 2) It explains how survivor agency—the oppositional knowledge of historically excluded groups (Collins 2002)—can motivate people to transform the very exclusions that jeopardize their capabilities (Cosgrove 2019 and 2021; Grzanka 2014). Intersectionality isn’t just a theory: it’s a path for those who have been oppressed to turn their exclusion into action (Collins and Bilge 2016). Rather than becoming immobilized by a state of victimhood, my research participants begin healing with medical, psychological, legal, and often vocational services provided by NGOs, while demonstrating “relations of care” (Fanon 2018; Mbembe 2019) towards each other. Together, they then educate their communities about women’s rights and hold officials and nascent public institutions accountable, especially when institutionalized forms of sexism and racism deny justice to marginalized people in court rooms and other state offices.

Panel P016b
Proposed Title: Promises, Performativity, and Precarious Futures after Mass Violence II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -