Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century
A Comparative Survey
Bloomsbury Academic 2015
Any time I prepare to do an interview, I make sure I read the blurb on the back of the book. One of the blurbs on the back cover of Amy Randall’s superb new collection Genocide and Gender in the Twentieth Century: A Comparative Survey (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015)is from Dirk Moses, who says simply that the book is “The volume for which the field has been waiting.” It’s an apt and revealing comment.
Randall’s volume is a terrific contribution to the field. Focusing tightly on four of the canonical genocides in the twentieth century, the contributors offer new and valuable insights into the tangled relationship between gender and genocide. In doing so, they offer detailed discussions of individual genocides. As they do so, they offer comment on the way in which the field might reimagine itself from the perspective of gender. As Randall and several of her authors point out,integrating gender into genocide studies means much more than simply paying attention to women. It means thinking through how all the ways gender shapes the behavior, identity and expectations of perpetrators and victims alike.And it means that gender doesn’t become simply another topic to get a week in a syllabus, but that it pervades all parts of our courses and research.
Randall’s book is one of a number of studies that attempt this challenge. I suspect many more will appear in the coming years.