Alison S. FellJun 14, 2023
The Cultural Politics of Armed Women, c. 1850-1945
Cambridge University Press 2023
Alison S. Fell's book Warrior Women: The Cultural Politics of Armed Women, c.1850-1945 (Cambridge UP, 2023) examines women warriors as vehicles of mobilisation. It argues that women warrior figures from the mid-nineteenth century until the end of the Second World War are best understood as examples of 'palimpsestic memory', as the way they were represented reflected new contexts while retaining traces of legendary models such as Joan of Arc, and of 'travelling memory', as their stories crossed geographical borders and were re-told and re-imagined. It considers both the instrumentalisation of women warriors by state actors to mobilise populations in the world wars, and by non-state actors in resistance, anti-colonial and feminist movements. Fell's analysis of a broad range of global conflicts helps us to understand who these actors were, what motivated them, and what meanings armed women embodied for them, enabling a fresh understanding of the woman warrior as an archetype in modern warfare.
Roland Clark is a Reader in Modern European History at the University of Liverpool, a Senior Fellow with the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, and the Principal Investigator of an AHRC-funded project on European Fascist Movements.