Wartime Sexual Violence: Understanding, Representing and Intervening
Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict 2014 (credit: By Foreign and Commonwealth Office [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
  • Plymouth Lecture Theatre, Portland Square Building, Plymouth University

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The Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) was launched in May 2012 by the former UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague and the Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie. 

Its stated aim was to ‘address the culture of impunity that exists for crimes of sexual violence in conflict, increase the number of perpetrators held to account, and ensure better support for survivors’. To further raise awareness of this campaign and increase the political will of states to do more, the UK hosted the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2014, celebrated as the largest gathering ever brought together on the subject. The PSVI has further included diplomatic action to secure UN Security Council Resolutions, the creation of a group of experts and international protocol on investigating and documenting sexual violence, and the recent creation of a research centre on ‘Women, Peace, and Security’.

At this event three leading scholars working on gender and conflict will critically reflect on the progress that has been made in preventing sexual violence in conflict. As well interrogating PSVI from a policy standpoint, our speakers will address its relationship to wider questions of gender equality, humanitarian intervention, and the representation of sexual violence in popular culture. At stake, therefore, is not just how we deal with sexual violence in post-conflict contexts but how we generate knowledge about it in the first place.

This free event is open to all. Contact Dr Christian Emery for further information.

Speaker biographies

Dr Paul Kirby: Lecturer in International Security, University of Sussex

Paul teaches on gender and the politics of war in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex. He was awarded his PhD from the Department of International Relations at the LSE in 2012 for a thesis on different ways of explaining wartime sexual violence in feminist and gender theory, with a particular emphasis on atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He is currently working on the UK government's Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative and its relationship to questions of gender equality, security and ethical foreign policy. An article on these issues is forthcoming in International Studies Perspectives. His work has also been published in the European Journal of International Relations, International Feminist Journal of Politics, and Men and Masculinities. He is currently co-editor of European Journal of International Relations and a founding contributor at The Disorder of Things (http://thedisorderofthings.com)

Dr Laura Mcleod: Lecturer in Politics, University of Manchester

Laura’s research interests include gender, feminism and security in post-conflict contexts. Her current research asks about how we ‘know’ gender in peacebuilding, concentrating upon ways in which ‘gender knowledge’ is produced in relation to affective and aesthetic practices. In this way, she seeks to understand why gender policy in post-conflict contexts is configured in particular ways, opening up possibilities for rethinking the questions that we ask about gender mainstreaming in peacebuilding processes. Her first book Gender Politics and Security Discourse will shortly be published by Routledge. 

Dr Victoria Basham: Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Exeter

Victoria's primary research interests lie at the intersections of critical approaches to security, feminist international relations, and international political sociology. Much of her work draws on feminist and Foucauldian social theory to examine how identity markers (gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality and social class) shape the prioritisation, use and perpetration of military force and security practices in liberal democratic societies. Victoria's first research monograph, War, Identity and the Liberal State: Everyday Experiences of the Geopolitical was published with Routledge in 2013. She is also the Editor of Critical Military Studies (www.tandfonline.com/loi/rcms).

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