The military has never been an male-exclusive world (soldiers’ wives, canteen women, nurses, etc.), but the fact that women could bear arms and fight, in the army or other power structures, still remains controversial, calling into question gender roles and social evolution as a whole. In 2006, the Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies (PIPSS.ORG) dedicated one of its issue to the question of Women and/in the Military in Tsarist, Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia (http://pipss.revues.org/448). In this new PIPSS issue, we want to change the focus and tackle the question of women fighters, whether inside the army or in more or less formalized armed group.
While the specificity of the women experience as victims of war and especially sexual violence is increasingly recognized, a parallel tendency has developed among scholars to recognize that women can also be agents of violence. This body of research often draws on a gender approach to war and the military, including reflection on the notion of masculinity, with war being at the same time its ultimate manifestation and a formidable threat to it.
A basic historical overview points to several moments and contexts when women are compelled to, and socially and/or legally authorized to take arms: in radical left and revolutionary movements, where the gender role division is put into question; during revolutionary or decolonization moments, when these social and gender roles are shattered; in wars of resistance to an invader, total wars and wars of annihilation where armed resistance appears as the only option.
Recent publications cover several historical moments and geographical areas in a comparative perspective; the Spanish Civil War, the First and Second World wars, Asian and Latin American guerrillas, (Alison, Bucaille, Capdevila et alii, Cardi and Pruvost, Milquet and Frederic). But these scholarly works rarely include Russia or the post-Soviet States – a context where cases and experiences of women fighters can be traced through history: Nadezhda Durova who served during the 1812 “Patriotic war” against Napoleon ; the XIXth Century social-revolutionary and terrorist movements, where women terrorists like Sofia Perovskaya climbed onto the scaffold; the First World War, with the well-known figure of Yasha and her women regiment; women Red Guards during the civil war ; women snipers, machine gunners, aviators, tankists or anti-aircraft crew during the “Great Patriotic War" ; women in the local conflicts of the post-Soviet era (Nagorny-Karabakh, Abkhazia, Transdnistria, Chechnya) and women suicide bombers.
Apart from historical overview on women in arms throughout Russian history (Ivanova), or during the First World and subsequent Civil War (Stockdale, Stoff, Salnikova, Shcherbinin, etc) the bulk of publications are dedicated to women during the Second World War (Conze and Fieseler, Engel, Erickson, Harris, Jug, Krylova, Markwick and Cardona, Pennington, Budnitskii, Murmantseva).
Guidelines for submission
If you wish to submit an article, please first contact the Chief Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and send a 100-word abstract in English. For details about the guidelines for article submission please check http://pipss.revues.org/169. The deadline for article submission is end of April 2015 (extended deadline) with publication in Autumn 2015.