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Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex, and the Media Paperback – January 22, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0231141918 ISBN-10: 0231141912
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Straightforward and provocative... Recommended.

(CHOICE)

Women as Weapons of War is rich and fascinating and stands as an example of how philosophical analysis can enrich our political self-understanding.

(Serene J. Khader philoSOPHIA 1900-01-00)

Review

Kelly Oliver's book offers a brilliant and unforgettable feminist critique of the recent ways in which 'women' have been used, once again, as the terrain and flesh over which to fight yet another war. At stake in this war is also the future of feminism. Challenging the bunker rhetoric coming out of Washington that combines a noxious mixture of anti-Arab racism with the latest version of the white men's burden to save women from pre-modern cultures, Oliver offers an eloquent plea for the continuing relevance of feminist ways of interpreting the world. In these times of shame and sorrow, this book is indispensable reading.

(Eduardo Mendieta, associate professor of philosophy, Stony Brook University)|

When a highly respected feminist philosopher such as Kelly Oliver turns her attention to the most urgent issues facing us today-the war on terror and the invasion of Iran—the reader anticipates the pleasure of a dramatic shift in perspective, an unexpected frame of reference, and a renewal of political energy and ethical thought. And not surprisingly, Oliver has once again delivered on her (unspoken) promise.

(Kalpana Rahita Seshadri, associate professor of English, Boston College)|

In her latest book, Kelly Oliver traces the use of women as weapons of war and vehicles of torture to the fact that women lack the cultural means to become articulate agents of their own meaning. Each chapter of the book is laced with rich insights on topics such as the sexual dynamics of the film Mr. And Mrs. Smith, the contemporary mother as CEO of her family, the popularity of reality shows, neoliberal freedom as freedom to shop, and the meaning of menstrual blood. The wide-ranging insights combine with a clear prose style and a compelling use of contemporary French theory to make for an immensely pleasurable and intellectually satisfying book.

(Cynthia Willett, professor and chair, Department of Philosophy, Emory University)|

"Kelly Oliver's book offers a brilliant and unforgettable feminist critique of the recent ways in which 'women' have been used, once again, as the terrain and flesh over which to fight yet another war. At stake in this war is also the future of feminism. Challenging the bunker rhetoric coming out of Washington that combines a noxious mixture of anti-Arab racism with the latest version of the white men's burden to save women from pre-modern cultures, Oliver offers an eloquent plea for the continuing relevance of feminist ways of interpreting the world. In these times of shame and sorrow, this book is indispensable reading."

(Eduardo Mendieta, Stony Brook University)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (January 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231141912
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231141918
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,295,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kelly Oliver was born on July 28, 1958 in Spokane Washington. She graduated from Gonzaga University with honors in 1979 with a double major in philosophy and communications. She earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in philosophy in 1987. She has held teaching positions at various Universities, including George Washington University, University of Texas at Austin, and Stony Brook University. Currently, she is W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.

She has published books on topics ranging from family, love, war, and violence to affirmative action, Hollywood films, and animal rights.

She is the author of THE COWGIRL PHILOSOPHER MYSTERY novels, including ROPED INTO MURDER and FRACKING MURDER.

Her scholarly work includes over 100 articles and over twenty books, including: Earth and World: Philosophy After the Apollo Missions; Technologies of Life and Death: From Cloning to Capital Punishment; Knock me up, Knock me down: Images of Pregnancy in Hollywood Film; Animal Lessons: How They Teach us to be Human; Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex and the Media; The Colonization of Psychic Space: A Psychoanalytic Theory of Oppression; Noir Anxiety: Race, Sex, and Maternity in Film Noir; Witnessing: Beyond Recognition; Subjectivity Without Subjects: From Abject Fathers to Desiring Mothers; Family Values: Subjects Between Nature and Culture; Womanizing Nietzsche: Philosophy's Relation to "the Feminine"; and Reading Kristeva: Unraveling the Double-Bind. She has edited or co-edited several books.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Aragon VINE VOICE on January 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read this book and felt like I've already read it. I had already read _One of the Guys_ edited by Tara McKelvey and Cynthia Enloe's lates _Globalization and Militarism_, so when I read Oliver's book I felt like it didn't say anything new that I have not read in the two other books or in the New York Times. The two other books are superior in their reach and clarity of the topics.

Oliver's book does delve into more theory and that aspect at times makes it interesting. But, overall for teaching purposes the other books are better. If you haven't read the two other books, then by all means read this book first and I think you'll enjoy it.

Audience for Oliver's book is more academic. It would be perfect in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the upper-division level or even graduate level.
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Format: Paperback
Kelly Oliver's book is extremely informative, but also innovative and extremely suggestive. War is not only an institution, but it is also part of a gendered psychic economy, and this is what Oliver shows so eloquently. While the book came out already some years ago, I think it is even more relevant today. In fact, it will remain relevant as long as war is implicated in the construction of both masculinity and femininity.
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This book is a unique perspective on women's involvement in violence in the Middle East and in the Iraq War. Kelly Oliver's insights into the connections between sex and violence are apt in our world saturated with real and virtual violence. It is unlike any other book on women and war out there. I recommend it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Reader on December 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Kelly Oliver's Women as Weapons of War challenges academic philosophy to extend its concerns beyond its usual audience and scope and engage meaningfully with current events. In this sense, Oliver's book accomplishes what most contemporary philosophy books (even those that portend to address issues like war, torture, terror, globalization, and so on) lack: a real confrontation with the shape of the contemporary world. At the same time, the book challenges the general public to reflect meaningfully on current events, their representations in the media, and the social and political forces that undermine our interpretative capacities. Oliver offers a set of critical tools that not only open analyses of America's recent and current war efforts, but also helps us to extend those analyses to our own everyday lives and ethics and politics more generally. Oliver's analyses are highly original and provide a unique vision that ties the individual's concrete, everyday, affective life to the larger functioning of international and global forces and representations. What is surprising is her uncanny ability to do so in a way that skillfully addresses such a large and diverse audience. This book is really for everyone: for scholars, students, journalists, activists, and those who are simply concerned with the role of sex, sexuality, and sexual/sexed violence in politics, war, and the media. In a word, read this book!
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Format: Paperback
Timely and incisive philosophical analysis of the actual and metaphorical role of women in today's wars; the analysis of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib is particularly insightful.
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