Transcript - "State Violence as Gender Violence"

Transcript - "State Violence as Gender Violence"

September 14, 2023 -- CRG Forum Series 

Listen to "State Violence as Gender Violence" with authors of "The Cunning of Gender Violence."

LETI VOLPP:  Good afternoon and welcome to today's Center for Race and Gender Forum, which is also the West Coast book launch for this book (Leti shows the book.),  The Cunning of Gender Violence: Geopolitics and Feminism.

I want to begin with the land acknowledgment. We take a moment to recognize that Berkeley sits on the territory of xučyun (Huichin (Hoo-Choon), the ancestral and unseated land of the Chochenyo (Cho-chen-yo) speaking Ohlone people the successors of the historic and sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County. This land was and continues to be of great importance to the Muwekma (Muh-wek-muh) Ohlone Tribe and other familial descendants of the Verona band. We recognize that every member of the Berkeley Community has and continues to benefit from the use and occupation of this land since the institution's founding in 1868. Consistent with our values of community and diversity, we have a responsibility to acknowledge and make visible the university's relationship to Native peoples by offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm Indigenous sovereignty and will work to hold the University of California, Berkeley more accountable to the needs of Indigenous peoples.

And since merely reading a land acknowledgment does not necessarily do very much, it does something, but it should, one should do more. I just want to acknowledge that the Center for Race and Gender pays the Shumi Land Tax.

My name is Leti Volpp and I'm the Robert D and Leslie Kay Raven Professor of Law and Access to Social Justice and also Director of the Center for Race and Gender here at UC Berkeley.

We are thrilled that you can be with us for today's event, which will showcase. This important new book because. We have limited time I will not do the lengthy biographies that each of our speakers so much deserves, but I will just share with you the title of one of their books.

We're going to begin with an introduction to the book project by Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian, the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), and Professor and Global Chair in Law, Queen Mary University of London (United Kingdom)). Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian is the author of Security, Theology, Surveillance, and the Politics of Fear. I had to decide which of many books to name. Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian along with Lila Abu-Lughod and Rema Hammami edited this wonderful volume.

We're going to then hear from authors of four of the chapters, and we're going to go in this order. We'll. Begin with Inderpal Grewal who is Professor Emeritus of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and of American Studies at Yale University. Inderpal Grewal is the author of Saving the Security State: Exceptional Citizens and Twenty-First-Century America. We will then hear from Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian talking about her chapter. We will then hear from Shahla Talebi, Associate Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University, and author of Ghosts of Revolution: Rekindled Memories of Imprisonment in Iran.  And then I will present. Something from the chapter that I wrote which is in this volume. Then we will hear from Sherene H. Razack, Distinguished Professor and the Penny Kanner Endowed Chair in Women’s Studies at the Department of Gender Studies at UCLA and the author of Nothing Has to Make Sense: Upholding White Supremacy through Anti-Muslim Racism. And Sherene will serve as our discussant.

We're then going to open it up for discussion with the audience and we will end at 5:30. I know there's some students who may need to run out before them.

Okay, so without further ado, I'm going to turn this over now to Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian.

NADERA SHALHOUB- KEVORKIAN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I think. I will. I will introduce the book and then go to my chapter. So I want to jump from one and to the other.

But I first want really want to thank you all for joining us this evening. I'm so honored to be here. Thank you. Really Leti for organizing the event. Thank you Interpal and Shahla for your amazing contributions. And Sherene for being in conversation with us on the book, actually from its start. And I'm really missing my partners. I'm missing Lila Abu-Lughod and I'm missing Rema for the incredible intellectual journey that we had working on our edited volume.

Our project was inspired by the observation that feminists has seemed to gain so much success over the past decades in global institutions as colors, as ethnographers, but our practitioners, activists to focus on the everyday lives of people and the politics of gender, religion and colonial or imperial violence, especially in the Middle East and South Asia. We were troubled by the particular ways some feminist visions and ways of addressing gender violence were being codified in state and foreign policies, international development, humanitarian intervention, while forgetting violence. Yeah.

As you all know, at the turn of the 20th century, 21st-century international support for women's rights coalesced around the figure of the oppressed Muslim women with the Laura Bush famously announcing that the fight against terrorism is also the fight for the rights and dignity of women. The harnessing of the feminist agenda to legitimize violent military intervention in the name of protecting women against violence seen at the beginning, an exceptional instance of political instrumentalism, yet we have continued to see religion involved as a diagnostic of gender-based violence (GBV) and violence against women (VAW). The agenda to combat these ill has in fact become central to global security and governance.

And our question really in our edited volume, How did this happen? With what consequences? Yeah. So those were our questions. Our project brought together and interdisciplinary collective of feminists, scholars with deep regional knowledges and critical perspective on Imperial politics. We wanted to think together about the implications of the sexist feminists who walk the whole of power and When? How? Where feminists ended up as bedfellows with the hegemon, and whether it happened? We started asking, How does the agenda to combat gender violence play itself out in cases brought to the International Criminal Court? Or in humanitarian intervention in Gaza, for example? How has the Hindu Nationalism fueled gender violence in India with impunity? Interpal’s piece. How is the international campaign against child marriages violence displacing other women's rights issues in Bangladesh? Dina Siddiqi’s piece. And how is it connected to the need for factory labor? Why are Iranian queer (Shahla piece.) and trans asylum seekers in Turkey forced to perform expected scripts about their gender and sexuality? And to frame their complex experience in Iran, including gender, gender-affirming surgeries as torture? Why are some feminists and feminist organization clamoring for inclusion in campaigns to counter violent extremism? That an undefined and undefinable pattern because mass media disseminates the presentation of gender violence that become the popular common sense. And the question is, what is why it became common sense?  

So, we invite the journalists to join us to learn about the power and pressure of this apparatus. What we wanted to interrogate in particular was how prevailing assumptions and technologies for treating gender and violence might be affirming or sustaining dominant rationales of power. We were seeing these efforts as becoming really integral to border control, that policing women's bodies to legitimizing state violence, to securitizing regimes and surveillance and much more. By focusing on the Middle East and South Asia as analytical sites, we also have to come to terms with ways that religion and racialized ethnicities, particularly the Muslim question, seem to run deeply through the international governance structures dedicated to combating gender-based violence and violence against women. The GB violence, the BWA.

We found the Hegelian concept of cunning producted in capturing the way a well-meaning and even visionary feminist treatment to end or to address all forms of gender violence got folded into world affairs. Where, as I say in my chapter, the very intimate requires a global geopolitical analysis and unpacking. In using the Hegelian terms we follow the leads of Elizabeth Povinelli who is cunning of recognition focused on the double bind imposed on Indigenous Australians by the apparatus benign, liberal, multicultural policies of recognition. And Nancy Fraser, whose puzzle over the disturbing convergence between some of the second-wave, feminist ideals and the demands of an emerging new logic of capitalism, post-Fordist, transnational, and neoliberal.

So the cunning of history, Fraser argues, lay in the ways that women's movement, economic and cultural visions, were split such that their utopian. And I'm quoting utopian desires found a second life as feeling current, that legitimate that the transition. Yes. End of quote. A transition at odds with the movement vision of a just society.

What we came to see was that the political framing and the fusing of violence against women and later GBV, gender-based violence, as governments, categories that now claim to represent once marginalized feminist concern around women's and increasingly all gender, bodily integrity have produced them as elements of a very powerful normative agenda within institutions of global governance. Violation of women's bodies integrating out are now addressed by numerous security resolution, whether it's 1325, the UN Women, Peace and Security resolution, or the International Criminal Court in The Hague, as in sexual violence and war. With the legal scholar Karen Engle has analyzed it brilliantly when talking about how the global development imperative in looking for example at the convention for the elimination of all kind of discrimination against women. Forgot you know talking about women and war, but forgetting about fighting the real war. Yeah.

So we as we work together, we read each other's studies of different aspects and different places we began to see wider patterns. We saw how GBV traversing the sensitive connected circuits of power with different effects on the ground. We ended up really, actually organizing our book with four circuits of power, circuits of power to which the institutionalized feminist agenda has attached. First, we talk about the global security world order. You know, at Interpol and other works have addressed. What Lila Abu-Lughod called, The Secure Feminism. The second state and state institution that themselves perpetrated gender violence but are punished in international legal institutions only selectively, usually only failed or barbaric states are included. And this is where my work, Shahla’s work, Interpal’s work, come serve the civilizational industry that intervene in other parts of the world in the name of humanitarianism. Or a capitalist development and fourth the mass media, whose gatekeeping and representation supports these interventions. Something that we know today Minoo was also discussing in her talk.

Now my chapter went of course, because I study Palestine and I was, you know, only lately and then a couple of days ago there was a case of a man, of a Palestinian family that was attacked in the middle of the night by a group of soldiers. And if you look at the report that was published by B’tselem, soldiers entered their homes of extended family Jawani family with dogs, separate children from their parents and steal items, female soldiers strip search women. They asked them to take all their clothes off and to circle around so as to see and to touch them. So my chapter really goes into those cases that are invisible, unseen, unheard and not even defined or framed as gender violence. But my chapter examines the Nexus of state crime, settler colonialism and the dominant frameworks of gender violence to uncover invisible and sexualized state violence and expand our understanding of the geopolitics of gender violence.

So I introduced the violence against schoolgirls. I go to schoolgirls. Here we go into the invasion of homes and I talk about from 7:00 to 8:00 in the morning and the everyday spaces that schoolgirls and their peers and habit, to open up questions about the international invisibility and impunity of state violence. So to counter the dehumanization of these Palestinian schoolgirls, I center their voices and listen to their narratives based on schoolgirls' description of what they experienced on their way to school. I argue for the expansion of the standard definition of gender violence into two ways force the policing school children on route to school is a form of gender state gender violence. The ideological justification for these practices of othering, whether it's by security necessities or it's by the secularization of politics, where God gave them the land and they can do whatever they want against that Palestinian other requires that we look at this and frame it as gender violence.

Second, I argue that in the context of militarization, the regular and intimate invasion of schoolgirls and school children, and in this case of homes and intimate homes and bodily safety by armed soldiers and police are experienced as forms of sexual violence. And I really call the walk to school with the rifles that soldiers are carrying as like an extension of the penis as part of the rapeability of the Palestinian schoolgirls. So schoolgirls gave me insights into the intimate and commonplace forms of state violence that they endure at the hands of their colonial occupier. They forced me to reconsider the dominant framework of gender-based violence or violence against women and to consider the utility of non-normative conceptualization of state crime. When political violence is integrated into a gender state power and its structure, its legitimacy constitutes an important component for it intertwines system of power with beliefs and values that guarantee the validity of what goes on.

I end up using, you know, privileging the girls’ analysis of the violence directed against them, against Palestinian children, boys and girls. compelled me to recognize as state terror as sexualized violence, gender violence as a form of state criminality and calls for the urgent need to trace the silences and omissions of invisible categories of gender violence and its system of power.

To conclude what I say in in in my contribution is that using the critical lens of gender violence enabled us to better see what happened when state actors carry guns, harass, injure, arrest, shoot and kill in spaces where school children, where families where children are in their beds, where boys and girls, mothers, fathers and community members are attempting to go about their daily lives. Investigations of this violence reveal how these abusers intertwine with land theft, evictions, incarceration, and other forms of domination by the state. That seems to do its work with impunity. The particular vulnerabilities of female and male children, of mothers and fathers, of the community subjected to the everydayness of this gendered order alert us to the urgent need to address the criminality, acknowledging its violent penetrate ability and to adopt a feminist lens that goes beyond normative gender-based violence and or violence against women analysis to accept the inculpability, capability of refusal because the refusal is part of it, yeah. Juxtaposing a gender analysis with the settler colonial one allows us to expose the colonized essential power and modes of refusal as accounts against an ongoing history of dispossession. Failing to attend to such voices, silence by intense securitization, policing and sacralize politics create a regime of gender-based violence and a regime of carcerality. A carceral entrapment that not only hides but allows advances and broaden the harmful effect of gender violence, creating a feminist regime of foreclosure.

I’ll stop here.

LETI VOLPP: (whisper) Thank you.


LETI VOLPP: Do you have any slides?.

INDERPAL GREWAL: No, I don't have any slides.

LETI VOLPP: OK. That's perfect. OK.

INDERPAL GREWAL: You could maybe just activate.

I want to begin by thanking Leti and Ariana for organizing this event. I'm so happy to be here. And I want to thank the editors of work, Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian, Remi Hammami, Lila (Abu-Lughod), for all their long work and hard work and. Producing this anthology for those of us who have edited anthologies it is always a longer haul than we imagine, and it takes so much work to get this done. So thank you for all your work.

It's also a pleasure to be in conversation with all of the scholars here today, from whom I have learned so much over the years. Your essays were amazing. And I will say on behalf of my coeditors of the series of the Duke University Press, in which this book appears, my coeditors are Karen Kaplan and Robin Weidman that we are so thrilled to have this in our book series, Next Wave of Women Studies. And we're so happy to add this to an astonishing number of 47 others in this series. Which I was, I got, you know astonished to hear that that were that many and that I was it's been so long.

It's so rewarding also to see this anthology as a conversation that began some decades ago among feminists concerned with histories of imperialism and colonialism. It called itself postcolonial feminism. Though some of that formation was very area about, as it were. And that had advantages in some ways and not in others. We were are all very interested in how feminism was produced by colonial racial difference and how that played out in the lives of women, and across feminist movements.

This interested in the relations between feminists and geopolitics led to a whole set of debates in what we call global feminism, and feminisms that emerge in various locations in response to nationalisms modernities. Ken and I, Kaplan and I, turned this engagement with geopolitics as transnational feminism. And this has generated much feminist research. We talked about foot binding, FGM, we wrote about Alice Walker's very problematic geopolitics, women's education and their colonialism, medical research and so on. Much of their time has been taken up in this history of feminist movements, one that continues to advocate for attention gender and sexuality and its implications in state and power, and through the ways that States and empires construct gender through violence and make feminism possible in some ways. What are the conditions of production of feminism? That so many different women also around the world care about what we might call a feminist approach to this issue, and that states continued to produce the category of women to this day means we can neither ignore that category mor throughout feminism, simply as a false consciousness.

Most colonial and transnational feminist research also has been concerned with how to advocate for subordinate populations while being critical of the operations of some feminism. Part of this project is not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. And I think Nadera very beautifully spoke of the complexity of this debate that is not to throw out attention to gendered violence and the violence through which the state and patriarchies produce gender in specific locations and communities, while also being critical of feminism that aligns itself with empire and caste, and racial supremacy. This is not an easy task and it has been a matter of important debate that continues to this day.

Thus, in some ways, while I'm critical of governance, feminism, as the book also does. We try to remember that not all feminisms are involved in governance, but often one wishes there was some feminism in governance, as we see the domination of patriarchal authorities, and that an anti-feminist politics can also be problematic in the long run. So it is this complexity that the book talks about in terms of the “cunning”. Especially in what I wanted to signal in my paper as well. By bringing attention to state violence in India against Muslim men, by showing that a transnational feminist analysis can address state violence and state constructions of racial difference as they circulate across news media, particularly Indian news media and books, kind of complexity of that circulation that the circulation produces responses and readings that the state may not wish for. Right.

A brief summary of my paper I begin by talking about Muslim women's protests against new citizenship laws in India that require documentation of citizenship and offer asylum to all of the religious minorities from outside the country except Muslims. I then turned to the context of that protest, which includes violence against Muslim men and their news media in which some of the violence becomes news. In in the Indian media describing the violence as pogroms and lynchings, I argue, reveals the racialization, a kind of transnational racialization that the state denies. But which is available as transnational frameworks make sense of these images in very divergent ways.

Such racialization, I argue, undercuts across many global. Advances the authoritarian states ambition of global power. That's what you can read kind of lauding of the recent G20 summit in India in the news media, in the New York Times, for instance, you will also get some attention to the violence, ongoing nationalist violence ongoing in the country, Just today, there's an amazing piece by Arundhati Roy on this as well that came out on Slate.

So here's what I wanted to emphasize in this paper. One, that protest movements by women are complex formations, drawing on rhetorics of they may draw on rhetorics of citizenship, and nationa,  as well as community sovereignty. That means that recent protests that happened in India against new biometric and bureaucratic and enumerative citizenship is opposed by Muslim women in India on the grounds that it is all poor and illiterate women who will both suffer right, including Dali, Adivasi as well, as Muslim women. Who are going to be cast out as aliens because it gives more bureaucratic control over their identities to the state, as well.

To oppose the ways that Muslims are being cast as alien citizenship has to be claimed according to these women across religious and community divides. Not just as solidarities, but as projects that have consequences for a larger collectivity, that it makes the collectivity in different ways. Second, I turn to the importance of media, both national and transnational these days. I argue that the pervasive use of pogroms and lynches signals a racialization that often is forgotten in that we talk about India as having caste and not race. Right. And I argue that there's a complex and a long history of racialization of religion itself by colonial government that we need to pay attention. The media goal of reaching the rival largest numbers of regions across the world in diaspora means that the readership becomes politically, geographically and nationally varied. People read and view in divergent ways, as Stuart Hall theorized.

Third, I focused on how the state is reconstructing gender. On the one hand, by a PR campaign of Muslim women's empowerment and second through economic disenfranchisement of entire communities and by attacking the livelihoods of the communities by what is the media called the lynching of Muslim men. The goal seems to be a greater and immiseration of entire Muslim communities under right-wing nationalism. Since women are left without the means of survival because women's participation in wage labor in India is one of the scandals of the state. I suggest we need to pay attention to the construction of gender through economic as much as through sexual violence, for instance, and that economic and sexual violence are not disconnected. Forward, I argued that through gender-based, though, gender-based violence (GBV) has been used for imperial and settler colonial projects that the ongoing ways that gender is constructed geopolitically and transnationally needs to be understood as well. And that constructions have historically offered sovereignty to some groups of women while taking it away from others. That too, I argue, is part of the ongoing cunning of gender and empire.


LETI VOLPP: Do you want? OK. Do you have any slides?

SHAHLA TALEBI: Yeah. No, no, I don't have no.


SHAHLA TALEBI: It's just, yeah, it's like. Yeah, I get this. This one just. Go to the right. Yeah. OK. OK. OK,

So just to say, first of all, hello everyone. It's so fantastic to be in Berkeley at this time of the year. Imagine what Arizona is going on.

So anyways. I just don't want to repeat, but thank you so much, Leti. And it's just amazing. And thank you. The editors of the book, the contributors. And I want to also recognize the land. I'm not going to say all the fantastic things that you so the currently. You know mention but I.

I want to just begin to say that actually I ended up this morning friend called and we had the conversation and all of a sudden I decided I'm going to completely put my paper aside and write something different. I haven't read it. I've written it in in haste, so I have no idea what it is. And it's truly just something that I'm trying to. To think it out. And. It's for me is about the ways that all these, it is beautiful the talks that you actually both gave in the ways that we have created this world order where everything has to fit in these particular categories, these particular ways of being. And if we fall outside of it, you are outside and your voice is not heard.

So even if I'm talking about Iran, but it's not really just simply about Iran, even though the particularity of Iranian case, of course it's important. So anyways.

How does one write about sexual violence in the world order in which, as the editors of the book Lila Abu-Lughod, Rema Hammami and Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian argue gender-based violence against women has grown entangled with imperial projects with security industrial complex and the legitimization of war and inequality. And so the as it's been, you know, in the introduction of The Cunning of Gender Violence, the book has, of course, brought us together today. And in light of I wanna bring this to to think about the women like freedom movement in. And in light of this movement, many of my Iranian friends and colleagues have been expressing frustration, In the words of one of my scholar friends, When are people ever going to find a place for their struggles, among other struggles in the world, or appear worthy of attention of, or postcolonial leftist, Progressive scholars and activists in the West, or even many other countries.

And this is in regard to the fact that even my first talk about women by freedom, one of my colleagues, the first question was, Is it against Islam? So like, why that question is just even becomes the first question in and of itself. It just shows how limiting and limited usually we are in thinking about the real experiences that are happening and so on and so forth. So and it it, she was going on saying we will ever find an exit from either seen as a non-Muslim enough by liberals or by non-Muslim authentic, Muslims. enough by our Muslim friends, where we can we can stand in relation.

To this, and can we find a language to speak of our people’s legitimate predicament within without being labeled in all these kind of ways, without being insensitive to imperial projects or so on. And so forth. This sense of always being somewhere outside of the crossroads of history as materialized or imagined has to do with various lived experience of Iranian women and without without Iran. After 1979 revolution, many leftist and post-colonial scholars saw Khomeini, so the Supreme Religious Leader of Iran and the Islamic Republic, as anti-imperialists, and hence either defended. Or at the best often remained silent to what was happening within inside Iran, to women, to the people of different ethnicities, and nationalities, even about the intensification of the gap between the poor and the ability to scroll option to torture, massacres, so and so forth, because again, it was like they didn't have the language to speak other regime that seemed to be anti-imperialist.

Those of us who were against imperialism and the Iranian state had put our hearts out in solidarity with various struggles against injustices in the world, with Black Lives Matter, you know, against war in Iraq, Afghanistan, you know, and various other world by proxy, wrote and spoke critically against such imperial projects. Saving brown women religion, the freedom or without the entanglement of feminism, LGBTQ with geopolitical security regimes. We try to distinguish our writing about Iran and Iranian women from works that align with the imperial security regimes and fit the new liberal humanitarian sentiments and desires of many Westerners to save modern Iranian women from the back waters. Remember image. So these were the Iranian educated women, but they were shackled by the their culture or by the by the fanatics in the state, of the state, so they had to be saved in that sense, if there was possible.

Yet we have to, always, always walk on the pieces of broken glasses as if Iran, our first autographic work on Iran that showed any inkling of criticism against the state rendered it impossible for us to return to Iran or led to imprisonment and other consequences. Those who are anthropologists here will know what it means to be cut off from the field of your ethnographic research. And may relate even more if the native anthropologist with family there. For the outside world we would be defending in medieval Islamic fundamentalists if we did not endorse the liberal projects of regime change and saving women. And liberal, if you wrote critically against the Iranian regime. In Farsi, we joked about that we are the snake with two golden heads here. Implying that no matter where we stood, we were cursed.

My piece on Iranian murders dilemma, an article that was published, which was it was one attempt to understand and analyze the letters of Iranian veterans from the front was read by an Iranian readers reviewer as supporting The Basij, the paramilitary, you know, force that is supports Islamic Republic and is supported by Islamic Republic in Iran. I'm still puzzled by how the reviewer find anything in that case towards that rendition, but I recall that when during my field work in Iran I had told some scholars and lay people that I was doing research on two groups of Shafia murders, families, including those killed in the Iran Iraq war. Almost all of them had right away tell me that the regime was already offering those Shafia too much visibility, recognition and reverence, and why I should even give more voice to them. So the whole fact that it was even inside Iran, that in and of itself, and this just going in these space is really interesting.

It was within this atmosphere that gave rise to a sense of one's ways, never finding a place in most venues, often leading to multiple modes of silencing, even self-censoring that I finally allowed myself to publish my book called Ghosts of Revolution: Rekindled Memories of Imprisonment in Iran. For years, I had postponed it I didn't want to publish because I didn't want to be a part of this Imperial project. I just count how many different concerns I had to maneuver in making my decision. How to write about the first-hand experience of imprisonment in Iran without unwittingly contributing the to the category of bomb Iran and other similar, you know, form similar policies on policies on Iran to avoid categories. You know, along with some sentimentalizing best seller memoir, memoirs on Iran. How to be critical of Iran without losing the edge of one's critical stance against the US?  When one of the editors of the press asked me to take out memories, sorry to take out mention of the use of dogs in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib that had been mixed in my dreams with Iranian prison. I had to explain that if they had been fused in my dream, that means that they had a place in my book. Of course, there were more reasons for me to mention them in that in that the same way that I wanted to make sure that the Shafaq regime was also part of the story that I was writing about.

On the other hand, here we are in the U.S., where everywhere we wake up to the news of laws passed to undermine women's rights. As another, I was talking about all these things, rights to their body, health with more blunt, racist discourses a lot, even to universities where critical theory, gender and race theory are becoming banned, where anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans laws are under. Right.  Where feminism is under constant attack without distinguishing neoliberal feminism that we discussed before. Which fits the geopolitical world order from the kind of feminism that is keen to win in the struggle. Both in its singularity and in its intertwinement with all the other struggles against injustice. Where does this book then The Cunning of Gender (Violence) and my own chapter stand in regard to all of is?

As its editor, Abu-Lughod and all clearly point out in the introduction of the book.It is this gender the cunning of gender violence focuses on the selective ways a visionary feminist project has folded itself into world affairs. They emphasize the significance of foregrounding the experiences and voices of targeted groups and individuals, even when analyzing the legal and bureaucratic apparatus that claims to address gender form of violence. In recognition of this significance double task which, when it comes to writing about a place like Iran, becomes multiple.

When I began to think about writing about the experience of sexual violence in Iranian political prision, both under the Shah and the Islamic Republic, I refused to align my inquiry with two common approaches, the culturalist and the universalist. The former would have explained the embodied experience of sexual violence of the women whose story I was narrating in the in my chapter, “Power, Subjectivity and Sexuality” in Iranian political prisons with religious cultural explanation that assume Middle Eastern, use interchangeably as Muslims, Muslim men being inherently, culturally, usually these cultures are have patterns, even though we think that patterns of culture are passé, have misogynic or oppressive you know attitudes towards their women. Even hypersexual or even hypersexual and women are always there oppressed victims.

They would read this story in line with the honor and shame trope, which is assumed to be an epidemic in countries with large Muslim populations. The latter approach would argue that sexual violence, meaning the universal, is universally experienced as one of the worst traumatic experiences. As if an event with brief, the history, context, conditions, et cetera. Avoiding these two tropes, yet with a great deal of tradition and in light of us. That one of the women on the was a story I'm telling who was raped in prison when she was 18 years old, and only after more than 20 years, she began to come to public. And only a few days before that, she actually told her husband and her daughter about her experience of rape in prison. In telling the stories of these three women. Who had been subjected to sexual violence in different forms and degrees. I was on the one hand trying to untangle, and this is quote from my chapter, the particularity of the modern historical moment and the specific conditions within these within which these experiences were leaved, discerned, remembered and relieved.

This thing keeps coming to my screen.

By keeping in mind that these women were not victims of the mere victims of the shackles of their oppressive cultures, or of the universally experienced trauma, and that their subjectivity was shaped and reshaped in the complex area of historical, political, economic and many other factors, including the global, you know, interactions and what was happening in the global, you know, kind of politics, etc. Yet here came the delicate point that one had to work on again on thin road while without falling on one side or the other. For we have come to create these binary words and categories and often find it hard or not at times even seemingly possible to live beyond or outside of them. As I vehemently refused to succumb to those two common approaches, I did not want to deny the reality of some oppressive aspects, immersed and disperse in almost every parts of our individual and social life, not only in the Middle East, unfortunately, in many other places, nor did I want to deny the significance, the significant harm that sexual violence of course causes on those people who are subjected to it, it was rather the question what perennially calls inflation meant, or what Valentino Napoleon, Napoleon, Neto, urges us to think about in the mattering of history.

As such, it is important to look not merely to those places that have been as Leti suggest, racialized based on the cultures as like, Muslims cultures and so, like Muslim countries in in Trump's travel ban, but the to the so-called first world, for instance, the U.S. and the reality of its increasing gender-based laws and violence, racial injustice outrageously, what and wide and widening widening gap between rich and poor, the rise of new fascism and conservative religious politics. Or political religion, whatever, because we have created these categories again and the geopolitical convergences of national security with feminism, that Lila Abu-Lughod calls secular feminism. And the humanitarian sentiments that seek to again save brown women from brown men while lobbying for protecting the nation from terrorists. Hence, as Ticton argues, imagines immigrants at once as innocent victims at potentially dangerous terrorists, or to what? Sarah Lamble calls queer investment in punitiveness. It is in this light that is at once important to me to write about the top. It was important to me to write about sexual violence and is transform and transformative impacts on the three women from former political prisoners. With you so much anxiety about how to write about it in the world that has become deeply again, immersed and unlimited by these categories and identity politics.

OK. I'll just. Give me one. Minute. OK.

I wanted to think of sexual violence. Sorry. OK, but so to find the way I thought of David Scott's, term to the normative problem space and I was trying to at least to some extent, unsettled discomfort of this normative problem space that allows us to only think about particular questions within our familiar systems. But before I conclude, let me share. Two very short anecdotes with you that I think will bring us back to where I started this talk with, but hopefully a few steps further.

One has to do with the phone conversation I had this morning with an Iranian woman, woman queer artist, I'm calling woman and it's really. Whose story without he knowing change, what I was to talk was to talk about and make me sketch these words in. Case I cannot say much about her story for she's not yet ready to say it all, but one point at one point she was telling me that as she was living in Iran all along, even as a child and now in the this, she has always felt that her voice and her experience appears unfitting the norms, both in relation to the status quo and the forces resisting the status quo. She was talking about the sense of do not toxic this was like she had to actually really displaying right away. But some kind of masculinity within her that she taught may been seen as odd if not counterintuitive, in the context of women like freedom and the attack on women in the West, you know. I simply told her that I would talk to her later, but that I think we may need to think about these categories differently and also to have a different understanding of the meaning and potential we attribute to women like freedom, Clara Barton referred as the feminine region of the self. To which I add ecosocial sociality, that does not see women as biological, but as a kind of femininity that is nurturing, attentive to the details, flesh everyday ordinary out of place, yet constantly space, making life, sustaining, embracing life without categorization, exclusion, understanding that once life depend on others, and vice versa of course. These are our potential of course.

And from this from this context for life is a movement that embraces and encompasses all the struggles against for different forms of injustices, and recognizes that without recognizing life, giving life, sustaining, nurturing, deterritorialized, decentralizing power of femininity, no struggle would be radical enough. No liberal notion of gender equality will be truly achieve if not tied with all these other struggles in the world. Gina's death was not merely a code name for resistance because she was a woman who was killed for improper hijab by morality police, but because she was a Kurdish woman, a woman from Kurdistan who reminded us of many, many other forms of injustices that she as a Kurdish woman had suffered and all these injustices imbalances on of poverty in Tehran, of torture, imprisonment in unemployment and on and on. And more than that, it was reminding the necessity of life, joy and dignity.

And the, and the second anecdote, it will be brief. I have been hearing from many of the Iranian colleagues who say that their experience when they were dealing with the last year's movement in Iran was that people did not really relate to them and that when they were going on, the people kept talking about Ukraine or other places and they were even asked by some of their Muslim colleagues. What's going on? Iran is it, is it not? Liberal.  

So I wanted to bring this back to this what my chapter was trying to do, that this idea of a body as this uniform single body, separate from all the other bodies, has created a sense of life or life together that gives the sexual violence to its perpetrator a kind of power that enables them to use it as means of assertion of power and means of torture. So what does it mean if we not think about it as not important, but actually really shift the way we think about sexual, and think about sexuality, and think about womanhood, and think about all these categories that we have come to really give voice to, and sometimes even more power to imperial projects, and unfortunately to states that even though they seem to be under imperialists are actually tools that are basically perpetrating the same thing.

Thank you so much.


LETI VOLPP: This works OK, great.

Let me thank so much my fellow panelists. I am absolutely honored to be presenting along side you. I want to also thank Nadera, Rema Hammani and Lila Abu-Lughod for the opportunity to be as part of this conversation and part of this volume. And I also want to thank Ariana Ceja who always makes whatever we do through the Center for Race and Gender possible.

So the focus that I want to what I want to talk about is the presence of so-called honor killings in different iterations of what became known as Trump's Muslim Ban. I can only very briefly touch upon these various points. The background. How did it function in the text, How Trump speeches form a kind of legislative history. We can understand what was the purpose of what he was trying to do. How honor killings actually functioned in legal challenges to the ban. And then have data purported data has been mobilized around so-called honor killings.

In short, this is a story about how rhetoric and data were mobilized together to create a fantasm, a fictional idea that rationalizes the barring of Muslim bodies from entering the United States. So we can see how purported concern about gender-based violence functioned to enable state violence, through this linking of gender violence and security.

If you recall, seven days after his presidency began, Donald Trump issued an executive order titled “Protecting The Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. Which suspended the entry of both immigrants and temporary visitors from 7 countries. Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. At the same time, the refugee admissions program was suspended for 120 days, and when it was resumed, the program was to essentially prioritize claims made by individuals who allege they were persecuted because they belong to a minority religion, which Trump in this interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network sent it was meant to help Christians because they're so persecuted. Quote — unquote. And the order also definitely suspended the entry of any Syrian. Refugees.

So the Executive order was enacted on a Friday afternoon around 4:00 PM. Border officials were informed they had to immediately enforce this order. Travelers were turned away from flights to the United States stranded overseas while in transit. People in midair when the ban took force were detained upon their arrival at U.S. airports, with some forced onto airplanes leaving the United States. Airports around the world were a site of mass chaos and they became a site of mass protest. If you recall, thousands of people gathered at airports, both in the United States around the world. Dozens of legal cases were filed with very quickly a Judge issuing an order restraining the Executive Order from being implemented nationwide. This then was appealed to the 9th Circuit by the Trump administration, who tried to stop this restraining order and Trump fail.

So what did the administration do? By March 6th, they issued another executive order with the same title, which revoked and replaced the first Executive Order, which was quickly named by critics Muslim ban 2.0. And this slide from the New York Times actually hopefully shows the different changes. There were, for example, they removed Iraq because military advisors said, well, this is actually destabilizing to our military security to have Iraq on the list here. There are a number of other shifts that happened. Adviser Stephen Miller admitted to the media that the second Executive Order only made minor technical differences in order to avoid judicial rulings.  So there could still be the same basic policy outcome for the country. Judges in Hawaii and Maryland stayed the implementation of this 2.0 Ban and in a brief and unsigned decision the Supreme Court said that they would take up the review of these cases when they resumed in the fall. And that in the meantime they would allow this ban to be implemented against persons who did not have a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the United States.

In September of 2017, the Trump administration once again tried to revise this Muslim ban to withstand legal challenges and issued a third order in the form of a presidential proclamation. Which you can see here it was called, Muslim Ban 3.0.  It indefinitely suspended the entry of particular groups of individuals from several countries, continuing the ban on Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, while newly adding countries that did not have Muslim majority populations to try to make it appear. Not specifically targeting Muslims, adding Chad, North Korea and Venezuela challenges were immediately filed, leading to the same District Court Judges in Hawaii and Maryland partially blocking this and the Supreme Court looked at this and essentially upheld this presidential proclamation as constitutional.

So it was a 5-4 decision, majority of justices said Trump had statutory authority to suspend the entry of aliens. Into the United States, this was lawfully exercise. It did not violate the Immigration and Nationality Act, which has an anti-discrimination provision. It did not violate the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which says that the United States government cannot establish a particular religion. And in a vehement dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor highlighted the history that got lost in translation as litigation jumped from the first executive order to the second to this presidential proclamation, writing quote, the full record paints a far more harrowing picture from which a reasonable observer would readily conclude that this was motivated by hostility and animus towards the Muslim faith. Close quote.

So essentially this ban remained in effect until the Biden administration came into office and President Biden actually revoked the ban as one of his first actions in office. So this story, right, so this you can sort of see here the story of the first, the second, the third. What's submerged in this story is the rule of so-called honor killings. And so that's what I want to tell you about? OK, so.

This is where honor killings, actually so-called honor killings, appear in the text of the Executive Orders and Proclamation. You could see that it appeared in two places in the first Executive Order and the purpose section, and in the transparency and data collection section. And it then disappeared from the purpose section in the second Executive Order, but still appeared in transparency data collection. And then it's absent altogether from the presidential proclamation.

So why do I say honor killings in quotes? It's because the term essentially isolates one form of gender-based violence as distinct from other forms, and is hotly contested as dividing us off is a unique form of gender violence which functions to portray only certain communities as sites of aberrant violence. And several people on this panel have actually written extensively around the construction of this term, as Lila Abu-Lughod has, the term can be understood as the product of a racial logic which diagnosis, the nature of a crime as confined to certain communities. As Sherene H. Razack, Inderpal Grewal and Nadera Shalhoub- Kevorkian have all written about. Here we see the solution posed as banning members of those communities from coming to the United States, so I'm not going to talk more about this, but focus on what happened.

Here is where you see so-called honor killings appearing in the first Executive Order in the purpose section, you see the prominence of this idea. Here the purpose section of Executive Order, like the preamble or purpose section of legislation, is used to help a reader discern the intent behind an Order or Legislative Act, you essentially see here that the United States should exclude those who engage in quote acts of bigotry or hatred with two parenthetical iterations of such acts, provided violence against women and persecution of those who practice religions different from their own. Honor killings, which appears immediately after acts of bigotry or hatred, is ostensibly provided as an example of violence against women. Yet the term precedes the general category of violence against women, suggesting a greater emphasis on the example than on the general category. What is signaled here, then, is that the generic concern is not so much violence against women as it is so-called, honor killings. We can also see this coupling of the term honor killings with persecution of those who practice religions different from our own. The preference for Christian refugees that Trump mentioned on the Christian Broadcasting Network, and this is understood to invoke the vision of Muslim persecutions of Christians right. Cementing this understanding of who is actually being talked about here.

Notice also that there there's a statement the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred is followed with the assertion the US should also not admit. Quote those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender or sexual orientation, which may seem curious given what had been the administration's stance on issues of racial, gender, or LGBTQI equality, not to mention Trump's own personal acts of bigotry. But the inclusion of this phrasing again should be understood to reflect and reiterate a potent narrative which positions Muslim immigrants as direct threats to U.S. sexual freedom and gender equality. OK, we then also see in the transparency and data collection section so-called honor killings, appearing where the attorney general, the secretary, has to consult with the Secretary of Homeland Security, which is supposed to collect and make publicly available every 180 days information about these particular acts.

So we see similarly here in Executive Order 2, this reiteration around data gathering. So one thing we might notice here, I don't know if people have noticed that there's slippage between how honor killings is appears like here it's honor killings is one phrase within quotes here. It's not in quote here Honor is quotes. Which suggests to me slippage and punctuation and choice of language confusion and uncertainty right on the part of the authors about how to label this as a phenomenon, which arguably betrays an underlying uncertainty about whether these are in fact a phenomenon.

How do we think about the logic of reporting, data collection and reporting? Well, something to note is that two days before issuing the first iteration of the Muslim ban, Trump had also issued another Executive Order enhancing public safety in the interior of the United States. Which mostly received media attention because of its provisions threatening so-called sanctuary jurisdictions. But there's also this transparency section, which mandates reporting criminal activity of so-called aliens who are released in so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, right? So there was some history professors and scholars who released amicus brief challenging the Muslim ban clearly elucidating how to understand these kinds of reporting requirements. Quote, throughout modern history, criminal reporting targeting particular groups has been used to demonize those groups and incite bigotry.

We could remember the importance of immigrant crime to the Republican National Convention. This parading of what Trump called Angel mothers, the you know vision of Mexicans as quote rapists and criminals, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, right. So. This invocation and consolidation, the idea of criminality with particular immigrant bodies. So this term honor killings was not included in the text by accident, right? It was not preserved from the first Executive Order and carried into the second one by chance right, the only plausible reason to put it in these orders was to trigger a negative association with Muslims, right? So we can think about it as functioning as what's called the dog whistle, right? So dogs can hear sounds that humans cannot hear, this idea that it's a coded term that is signaling to an audience. This is who I'm thinking about, and this is what I think of them and this is what I think they do.

No coding on the part of Trump in his speeches that preceded the iterations of these of these Executive Orders, there's three speeches I found where he basically talked about so-called honor killings. This was one with the he issued when he was responding to the Pulse massacre. It's like this really fascinating, disturbing text where you could see the, the Latinx, queer victims of survivors of this massacre basically turned into what he calls lesbian and gay citizens. Who become deracialized and their immigration status becomes invisibilized as they are of this victim of quote — unquote, radical Islam in the form of Omar Mateen. Right. And you. Could see here how he talked about radical Islam and and its gendered forms.

There was another speech where he invoked honor killings where you could see here he's talking about an Iraqi immigrant who was sentenced to 34 years in jail for running over his own daughter. The case here that he's talking about is actually the case of a woman named Noor Almaleki, whose father actually was found guilty but not guilty of premeditated murder, where the jury did not believe there was actually a finding that showed that he had, you know, intended to engage in a so-called honor killing. In this third speech, you can see also this invocation of of so-called honor killings, and it's also amazing to like, read these different speeches and see his like which ones are written by speech writers which are written with the cadence of Trump's speaking.

OK, so just very quickly in terms of the litigation, there were a lot of amicus briefs filed by organizations trying to urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Muslim Ban. Then 48 briefs in challenging the you know, the appellate courts and then 77 before the Supreme Court and you can see that there was a fraction right six or seven out of 4810 out of 77 which actually pointed to this invocation of honor killings as signaling animus. So the most significant amicus statement was an amicus that actually was signed by two people sitting right here, along with one of the third editors of volume. Where they essentially said what is this meant by this term and what is the placement of this term mean in this in these Executive Orders, right? The only plausible rationale is to trigger this negative association with Muslims.

Did courts respond to this? Well, this was the most significant judicial statement and you can see it's actually in a footnote in one of the appellate decisions that this Judge seemed persuaded that it's another marker that the national security purpose was really secondary to a religious purpose of anti-Muslim animus.

OK, the last thing I want to say very briefly is data. Right? So then attorney Jeff Sessions, when he was a senator, had an exchange about so-called honor killings, recession said. We had 27 honor killings in the United States, according to DOJ.Sounds like where did this number come from? Right.

And Jesse Singal, who was a reporter wrote a piece in the New York Magazine, where he actually traced some of this. This was not a Department of Justice study. It was a a study that was conducted by a group called Westat, which conducted the study because Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who you may have heard of, who's described by the Southern Poverty Center as and you know, one of the most notable anti-Muslim extremists persuaded Congress to pass legislation to do study of this question. Right?

So there was a study conducted by Westat, where they basically looked at all the cases they could find. They found what they described as 14 cases of possible honor killing over a period of more than two decades. In that report, they also cited to an unpublished study from which this number 27 comes from. So I just want to show you the kind of, quote-unquote data going on. Here this is the study the author, the primary author actually sent me this study, which is why I can show this to.

So the comparative analysis approach, looking at honor killings in the United States among people from quote North African, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries. I think they meant they meant South Asian, OK, they described. Here's a list of countries they describe these countries as located in. What the paper actually calls, The Patriarchal Belt.


And since there are no official statistics in the United States. They conduct what they call an expected rate of honor killings in the United States based on other countries. OK. They look at three other countries, Germany. Where there's also no reported data, but there's one study. The UK, where there's no data, but there was a police officer who made a speech in 2003 who said I think there are X number per year. That's the UK data. And then the Netherlands, which actually does have an estimate of their data.

OK. So what is their method? They look at what they call the Manasa population in each of these countries, calculated for rate per 100,000 people, and then they adjust the rate upwards for missing cases. All right, so they look at in Germany where, how did they come up with the statistic? Basically, these researchers looked at known cases of homicide and then they looked at newspaper articles for cases where there were cultural explanations that happened in an ethnic minority group that portrayed family relations as a cause. So it's like this kind of retrospective, post hoc, you know, construction that this was these were critical honor killings and they came up with they thought were 78 cases over the period of nine years. The UK, we have this police officers saying there were 10 to 12 per year. That's the UK statistic. The Netherlands, which also looks at suicide and manslaughter, and cases involving men where men are victims thought they were 13 per year. And then the study says, OK, these are the Manasa populations in each of these countries. And so then they have the little pie charts. What percentage of the Manasa populations in each country. And then they come up with the per capita killing rate for each of these countries.

And then they basically say, well, it looks like they're more in in the Netherlands so we're going to actually try to like add a few here. We're going to subtract a few from the Netherlands so we are going to try and add a few to the German and the UK totals. And so they say well it could be somewhere between 20, this is adjusting for the U.S, killing rate, 23.45 in the US to 26.76, so that's where they get this 23 to. 27. Claim that they're 23 to 27 honor killings per units is from this quote-unquote study.

OK. And then we can see here because of this data collection transparency DOJ has to issue a study, write a report.  So this was the report you could see here and they say you know there's violence against women, right. We don't have independent data, but there was this study that estimated an average of 23. So it's like this data is like living as data. OK, so let me end there. Thank you.


SHERENE H. RAZACK: Good afternoon, everybody. I'm, I'm just going to do like four minutes so you have a chance to to ask questions. So I kind of barged my way into this panel because I like really need to be with these people. I actually also really need to kind of say out loud what this volume says to us because it's really critical to my own scholarship. But you know, how I'm trying to think through these issues, so I'm glad that you accept. Thank you Leti for sort of letting me barge in.

Because I think what this volume does is lay out a kind of methodology for thinking through what I most want to think about. Which is what does feminist solidarity look like now? Today? And, you know, every day you've sort of called upon as a feminist to think about where you stand with your sisters? You know, is what's going on in Iran? Where do you stand? How do you analyze it? What's going on in Palestine? You know, all of these things, and it's really it's even more urgent than it ever was for us to sit together as feminists and to figure out, well, where do we stand? And what are we going to say? What is our knowledge production going to be given? This kind of knowledge production. You know that that that's really what we're sort of up against.

So, what does his book give? And you’ve heard it. So let me. Just like go quickly and say how very personal this is to me. So the idea of identifying a concept like gender-based violence, and meticulously tracing how it functions as a regime of racial violence and imperial violence. You know, it marks the non-West as a place that's barbaric and inferior. You've put, you you've heard it all. But this concentration by feminists on how regimes of racial governance operate is something that I desperately need to hold on to. As a feminist critical race scholar, I just keep spending my days thinking are you holding on to race? Did you have a look at imperialism? Are you remembering such like colonialism? That's what feminism needs to hang on to.

So, this book gives us that and keeps telling us some of the things we need to be tracking. So you know, we need to track the humanitarian industrial complex that produces Western women as somehow more advanced on the civilizational scale. We need and this book spends a lot of time on this we need to understand this as geopolitical governance. The authors, you know, make the case that the answer to this, the, the individualizing, the personalizing, the a historicizing that has to stop.

And we have to develop methodologies that really help us to trace sort of the the wider you know, what they call, its a great phrase. I think it's an arduous phrase, but it's central to this book. We need a methodology to trace sort of the geopolitical governance of the intimate. It's a marvelous phrase and you really. Have to keep thinking about what that means?

For me, another sort of thing that I had to hold on, I feel like a drowning woman holding onto a straw.

But, you know, holding on to the central role of Islam in all of. This the way in which a white race making occur through religion is something that you keep having to to make clear every single day. There's so much stuff going on around it and as you see from from Leti’s paper Islam is on their mind, slips are on their mind. Therefore it has to be in our mind as we trace the the methodology. So that's, you know, not something you just have to hang on to.

I think they the idea of the kind of th white race making that that takes place through religion really also requires us to think about how supremacist projects proceed in the same way in the non-West. You know, and for me, I'm, I'm actually a, you know, a North Americanist. So I'm, I'm always kind of grabbing on to sort of other people's analysis, people here, of the non-West to actually see where all of this meets. Where, where is the global? How? Could could I use, as I have lovely arguments with my Indian friends about you, know. So could we could we talk about the white supremacy of Modi? for example, s that a good term to use or should we use another kind of term?

You know, all of these things and these are questions of this volume, you know, really leads us to walk down that road and to really think about that. It's it's a, it’s a book about a global race-making that comes into operation through gender. And as Nadera has said, you know, when you look through that gender lens, it's quite amazing what you start understanding about how these projects actually operate? And so another theme you hear that, you know, Western feminists are the handmaidens of this project that really also put pushes us to think about what what non-@estern feminists. You know how? How, how do we end up getting implicated in this project?

So where? Where does this all take me? So what it takes? For me is that the cunning that is talked about here is a bit like a snake. It it really sort of shows up every time where you least expect it. My own work, for example, is on some of my work. I mean, I do work on anti-Muslim racism and other things, but some of my work is on violence against Indigenous women. And missing and murdered Indigenous women. So where's the cunning there? The cunning there is showing up with somehow these this terrible phenomenon of, you know, Indigenous women being murder, missing and murdered. Somehow this phenomenon gets reduced to who's murdering them?  Ohh, it must be indigenous man. So then this is an issue of Indigenous men being terrible to Indigenous women. And what immediately drops out of all of that, all the White murderers that you know which happens to be the area that I'm sort of documenting and I'm thinking, well, it's really hard to find the white man, in this arrangement, and that's the cunning that this book book takes us to.

And and then, OK, so at the end of the day when we follow these lessons Nadera’s piece, Interpal’s piece look at the state. Look at the implication of the state. Where does that take us? And and where it takes us is to this sort of urgent question. That is a question we've been asking for a long time. But what kind of feminist politics is generated from this kind of critique? You know, what does it mean that we actually give to each other?  Or what kind of politics do we practice? How do we practice a transnational feminist solidarity? And that that is really, you know, where it takes me when I listened earlier to Minoo talking about the situation in Iran. And then again, Shahla or Nadera on Palestine. You know, you can you can see the cunnings popping up in all of these things and mandating us to figure out where are we going to stand? Who are going to be our allies on this? What are we going to write? And what are you going to teach? Those are like very urgent questions for me.

And I said to myself, you know, I said to friends it's nice you get to be the last speaker you're only leaving 5 minutes for people to talk. But really, you ask the question you can't answer yourself. But. But I do want to say that I mean, I don't have the answer. But yet I'm required to answer it every day, right? When I when I hear all these things I have to answer it and it has to show up in my work. And that's what this volume gives is a methodology for that.

And I think if there were time for a sustained discussion among whom I regard as my people. I would I, would ask you know, what, what do you think this where does this lead us today in terms of what we need to do?  As feminists who are really aware of this cunning and who understand it as the methodology that we need to to accept.  What what does it mean we do over Iran? Over Palestine? Over Trump? And how do these things come together? And I hope that the answer comes to us again and again. The answer really lies in our relations with each other because we have to negotiate these things with each other. You know and, and I think that's where the answer lies. And of course we have to organize. And we are organized and in in many different ways. But I just want to open up that question of solidarity and and where we are today. Once we understand things like the cunning of our gender-race violence.


LETI VOLPP:  Well, thank you so much. I should say we're so privileged that Sherene is with us. Sherene also blurred with the book. So we're very grateful for. That I wonder if we could collect some questions or comments and, and then the panel could respond.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 1:  Yeah. So. This seems like a really old play, right? Like. This is why the British had to colonized India. This is why we had to invade Afghanistan save us from the Taliban. Right. So. I'm sure you've thought about that. Ss there something? Different, right? Like, oh, all of you have urged us to t think more specifically, historically, contextually, right. So here we are saying about lots of different scenarios. So how how do you think about whether it’s something different here.

LETI VOLPP:  OK, so why don't we collect some more questions and I hope that this is a question that we could all also answer or comments.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 2:  So I haven't just. Had the privilege of reading the book. And I'm wondering. If Kashir isn't there because that seems to be another location for geopolitical governance of the intimate. And how many people in this room know about the 10,000 women who have disappeared within the first two years of the abrogation, the revocation of Article 370 that Modi did in 2019. Up to July of 2110 thousand Kashmiri Muslim women have disappeared. How many Indian feminist, progressive Indian feminists are written about that? And you know she? And the the disappearance of women and the desire to focus on the Muslim men or the Indigenous men as the case might be. In Kashmir in 2009, there was rape, murder of two sisters-in-law, one was 21 and pregnant, the other was 17 years old. And Indian feminists actually colluded in saying, well, they drowned in ankle deep water. Or that this the marriage of their sister-in-law, the older woman was a a love marriage. It was not an arranged marriage. So we should investigate honor killing as well. Obviously, none of that was true. They were murdered and raped 100 feet away from an armed Indian army barracks. And that was, of course there is. So I think that that your call for solidarity does require negotiation and very thorough, very earnest and very humble. So all of these usual locations of erasure are no longer.


LETI VOLPP:  Other comments? Questions?


LETI VOLPP:  Would folks like to say anything in response?

INDERPAL GREWAL:  So Leti should we all just kind of respond to the questions?

LETI VOLPP:  Yeah. Yes, Yeah, that would be great.

INDERPAL GREWAL:  So great question. What's different now? Why have we seen any shifts? Have we seen any? Changes. Is it the same playbook? Is it a different playbook? And who are your question Kashmir? Is there collusion among the Indian feminists? What is the particular tension? Why does Kashmir matter? Right, important questions?

I would say there's something to be said about what's different now, which is the center is not holding in the same way. I would say that. The kind of way in which the West produced itself even more seem to be even more obviously problematic than ever before, and I think Trump, with his history, makes that clear. So that the kind of reorganization of geopolitics, the BRICS country, all of that, there's a there's a kind of geopolitical reorganization that's happening. Unfortunately, a lot of it is around fascist, authoritarian regimes, of which U.S. may also join. So that's a different kind of platform from which the West is organizing.

And I think it's really important to think about the other context, of course, is is sort of we have more mobile populations than ever before because of climate change. So that the question about like the nation-state and whether how the nation-state matters. What's it's going to do with the millions and millions of mobile populations around the world is a question for all of us. Like, so what are we doing as feminists to think about boundaries? And ways in which populations are being kept away from places of safety? I think that's a huge question for all of us around national and nationalism.

And I could talk about that, but also in terms of Kashmir feminism and feminism, I think that those kind of, Kashmir Studies Collective is doing a great deal of wonderful, wonderful work to bring that issue. I think people in India are realizing that Kashmir is not an isolated example. That all around the borders of the Indian state, I mean. I participated in a kind of collection study from the South. The ways in which post-colonial borders are themselves always places of certain kinds of violence, and the nation-state and its territories try to maintain itself around borders that didn't historically exist. Right. So the kind of way in which the nation-state asserts itself militarily, really if you see all around the border of India, it's problematic. All of these colonial borders are question marks for us to think about. So Kashmir is a kind of laboratory that's really important to see how that violence of nation-making works. I think many of us are very interested in thinking about that.

And many people are not very. And feminists who are very nationalists, who are very focused on the nation state, and of course for them. And they are might also be in the fundamentalist as Madhu Kishwar has turned out to be so. You know there are complexities.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 2:  I thought we could put Kashmir at within the Indian state. UN conceded.

INDERPAL GREWAL:  It's the border making approach.

LETI VOLPP:  So yeah, you had a question.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 3:  I've been living in the U.S. but not leaving the U.S. in the last seven years and I'm like watching what is happening back home. I'm Palestinian, so I'm watching what is happening and seeing it. In the news is so different than living there from what I hear from my friend. So I would like to ask you how do you, Nadera? From your feminist view, that this. How do you see the extremism that is? Different than the usual oppression and extremism that is happening back home, and where is it going with the extreme religion? The kicking when, like changing women's position in the buses like has a smell of new slavery. Like usually they get very kind of, you know, white and black and, and like color, and gender, and religion, and all. It stinks in the smell of it. So I’m worried because my family is there. And my friends are still there. Yeah. Where? Where is it going?

LETI VOLPP:  So before you respond, I'm actually thinking is there anybody else who has a question or comment. And then we'll just sort of proceed this way. And with final. Yes.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 4:  Well, this is in response to your presentation. I was just wondering, I mean it's depressing and fascinating to see, you know, reminding us about what happened in 2017 through the Trump Administration and how they were using their so-called protection of women against you know Muslims. And you know Muslims were demonized in that context. And then years later, now that has been thrown away and they're just directly going after gays and lesbians and women. So you know that, you know, it held rapidly. This shift happened. Is pretty fascinating and terrifying. So you know. This this just, is this is direct. Sort of. You know, threat of violence to everyone. You know who falls into these categories. So I was just wondering if you could speak to that. And how you see this appearing legally? And anyway I'm sure it's too big of a question to cover. But just to say, you know a bit about how that's being met within the legal community now.

LETI VOLPP:  So maybe. We'll take that as the comment, the comments and questions and we'll hear from Shahla, Nadera, Sherene and then I'll say something.

SHAHLA TALEBI: Yeah, it's interesting. That these comments, aside from the I guess what I appreciate that you brought up because. This is really what we need to do, remember, and to be aware of and not to really let these things to be erased or remain silent? Thank You. And just what I didn't really get to do. With what I was trying to say is exactly this problem of when we create these kinds of categories. As if they're separate from one another and reality they have gotten so meshed into one another. That it's this difficult now to talk about the West. As if it's a is different from what's happening in the rest of the world. These ideas, these forms of practices, constantly traveled and are taken up. So for instance this question of honorary killing, is that way, becomes a tool for people to actually use a lot of other reasons that they may end up killing someone. To use that discourse and tap into that discourse. Recently I've been exchanging these emails and phone conversation with this lawyer in Arizona who is dealing with this family of Saudi Arabia, it as doesn't matter where, but basically who have been raping these, abusing sexual abusing these 12 year old boy. And they have been saying in Islam. This is a blessing. And his form of initiation. So he keeps writing to me and asking me, and I keep writing. In Islam, same-sex marriage in the government discord is not acceptable, but and why? You keep buying this discourse about some why don't you? See sexual abuses happening in all these other homes.Many different places, and so these are really the issues.

Like when I try to say that what's happening for instance in the case of Iran, Trump's administration and the practices completely shift the way Iran actually responds to in its prisons. That doesn't mean it didn't have. Now of there's a different kind of justification, a different form of talking about what's happening in the world and so on and so forth. So I think. We have to really think. About these these categories we create and and make them so rigid that in the end we end up actually allowing them to have a different kind of power. So for instance, I mean as you know, we talked about Bangladesh and that the case we were talking about and you know in the case of the.  The issue is that when you create NGO's that they have to tap into getting money using these particular categories. You end up creating that space and before you know it, that has become your space.

So I think this is really. Something you have to talk. What we're doing if they if these ideas in this form of territorializing practices these imperial projects are so going so hand in hand in so many different places and we are seeing more kind of totalitarian kind of, really, states all over the world. Then what does it say about our own stance. Different kind of solidarity that we don't simplify. But we don't come to simply say, oh, that's this, that's that. To really see what's happening within the struggles and really stand with one another in those struggles in a way that does not really let the governments take over and coddle.

SHERENE H. RAZACK: That is so well said I. That that's another solidarity, we have to thread our way through this. I'll pass it.

NADERA SHALHOUB- KEVORKIAN: Yeah, it is. Well said, I'm thinking that Mohammed Kamili from Kashmir and his peace on affected solidarity that is very important. And I'm thinking of Kashmiri scholars. But I'm also thinking how, we when analyzing and this is what we really tried with the concept of the cunning. To sketch is that there is a global cartography that we need to take into account. This global cartography and this geopolitics that is affecting everything that we think about when we're talking about feminism.

So how do we count? Who is counted? What kind of yardsticks? So they come and check gender-based violence and they have this conflict tactics scale. Or checking the violence of the society. And then there's this big study on Palestinians inside Israel. And, you know, they check for example, participation in a, in a fight. Now in our culture, Toshi is part of the social behavior. If someone is fighting in my neighborhood, I will immediately jump on, participate in that fight and prevent. It so it's not. Violent. So when you're counting it as one indication. So those indicators do not indicate what is going on, but rather what the indicator is looking for. So when you're searching for the key under the light when the key is not under the light, that's a difference.

So we are really looking at different methodologies and therefore. And looking at spaces for example, my work on death and how state criminality are in spaces of death. I will be talking tomorrow about graveyards and Armenian graveyard was now this possessed by those settlers that will flip it into the beautiful hotel and so on. Like these are criminalities that are not counted that are not. That keeping our kids in freezers for 7-8 months and then we're going into the Israeli court to fight to free them from the Israeli freezers and then like, oh, wow, success. We got the body. OK. So I guess what we're calling here. Is to unpack those global cartographies of securitized politics, of sacralized politics, and of the geopolitics of that intimate that is usually unseen and heard. And trying to unpack it, trying to see it, trying to point it. And when we look at what is going on in, in, in Israel today, a Jewish women are put in the bus in the back and and special buses for Jewish. Well, military occupation is gendered. It is gendered. And if we don't look at it as such, we don't understand it. Education is gendered.  

But just to think again about your question about Kashmir or Modi we were talking interpolant eye. You know, Israel is selling weapons to Modi.  He's learning how to use the skunk water against the skunk people and it's the Kashmiris, and it's the Palestinians in Palestine, and the all the technologies of the so-called advancement that are further oppressing. Therefore, I think that if this book is trying to bring, is is look at the methodology, who is counted, who is not.

Look at the naming, because those in my area of work on on security theology, when you look at those security towers or they call it Israel is called them watch towers and our kids are calling them “The Killing Boxes” because there are soldiers inside. With the rifles and those killing. So please change the name. And therefore the name on the crime problematic on that level because here we're being, we're we’re, its used against us, and it becomes a weapon in the hands of those in power to further oppress and further.

And therefore I think it is what is needed is to be aware of that cunning. Be aware of the way they're maneuvering, manipulating, coopting, playing, using. And sometimes we're not aware. Now you know, like 1325 or you need to participate in the negotiation the peace agreement. Uh. You need to be part of the peace table. Well, I don't see a table. I don't see a need. So how do you want me to participate? And if you do, if you say no. Or the coexistence? Ohh Nadera, why aren't you pro-coexistence? Well, my dear, first I need to exist in order to coexist.

I need to read. I need to sleep. I need to know that I'm going back home. My heart is there. My bed is there. Nobody is snatching my kids from the bed. So I guess what we try to bring, whether secure. Feminism, or Lila is bringing her voice or the Rema’s analysis on humanitarianism and the civilizing mission, or work on state violence is just trying to look at it differently, sketch it differently. Unpacking. Name it, frame it, and look at the methodology that are being used to trap us. And we really are looking at a different way to think it, and to think about solidarity.

And effective solidarity is so important because under such conditions you feel lost. You you, you fear it's violence. It's everyday story that you open your eyes and hear, you say Palestinian women even in their homes, in front of their kids, asked to take all their clothes and circle around a couple of times in front of Israeli female soldiers, and they knew that the female from their hair. OK like. This is pure, pure torture and and violence, and it should be pulled like this.

So I guess you know more attentiveness and never to lose hope, and especially in Palestine, you know, we do not have the luxury of being depressed. We need to keep on talking, screaming, writing, and loving because love is our mode of breathing. This is the only way to continue to struggle.


LETI VOLPP: I think as always, I feel like I have nothing to add. I after that I would just say, you know, in terms of what's different from British colonialism in India, is the rise of what's called governance, feminism. You know, to the role of feminism and institutional power, both domestically and internationally. And I do think there's this shift that is so important to think about is how have we come from a place where Trump would disingenuously say that Muslims are a threat to LGBTQ citizenship, to one where there's no such thing now? Is LGBTQ citizenship, right? So so the writing of 10 years ago where people would, you know, talk about sexual citizenship and like, especially consumer citizenship or gay men as sort of the prototypical citizen like that feels like that's completely collapsed. And how has that happened? And was it because it was this kind of illusory belonging that was hinging in different ways upon all kinds of other oppressions that are subordinations that are lived with and unnoticed in that kind of elevation, I I don't know.

I would also just say we're having an event on November 16th on Kashmir and I hope people come to that. But I think we need to close. This was amazing. Thank you all so much for being here. Thanks.