Throughout South and Southeast Asia, groups battle over definitions of identity—in direction and character—for their state, a struggle complicated by the legacy of colonialism. The contributors to this volume explore the intricate, dynamic relationships that pertain between women's agency and the state-making institutions and armed forces of Kashmir, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Burma (Myanmar). They also address the complex roles of Islam, Hinduism, and Theravada Buddhism in these postcolonial dynamics.
In particular, the contributors examine religion as a way of understanding how women’s agency is constituted, created, and constrained during times of conflict with the state and other armed actors, such as guerilla groups and paramilitaries. These essays at the intersection of gender, religion, and peace studies will be of interest to a wide range of scholars and students who study conflict and hope for peace in South and Southeast Asia.
“The contributors to Women and the Contested State make an original contribution to the field in addressing the link between the sensitive subjects of religion and violence, and of this link as it relates to the question of women's agency in particular Asian nation-states. The issues addressed in this volume will be of interest to scholars in women's or feminist studies, theorists of nationalism, and analysts of political change that is linked to violence and religion." —Sonita Sarker, Macalester College
“This is a timely and significant book that will add both to the literature and to the reading public’s larger understanding of contemporary events. It tackles core issues of humanity and ethics with honest and sophisticated scholarship. Women and the Contested State will speak to readers across the social sciences and South/SouthEast Asia studies, as well as providing cutting edge resources to NGOs, journalists, and development specialists.” —Carolyn Nordstrom, University of Notre Dame