Published scholarship

Peer-reviewed articles

“Rethinking Women, Peace, and Security through the Localization of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 & National Action Plans: A Study of Nepal and Sri Lanka.” 2022. Women’s Studies International Forum. 92. DOI:10.1016/j.wsif.2022.102575. Co-authored with Luna K.C.

This article examines the localization of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (hereafter 1325) on women, peace, and security (WPS) and its successor resolutions, which call for equal participation of women in conflict resolution, peace negotiations, and postconflict development. The article asks: How, and to what extent, does 1325 and any accompanying National Action Plan (NAP) address grassroots women’s issues to transform the WPS agenda in Nepal and Sri Lanka’s postwar development? Nepal’s NAP (2011–2016) is applauded for its localization efforts. Because Sri Lanka does not yet have a NAP, we explore its informal adoption of 1325. Using interviews and a review of policy documents, this article

demonstrates that grassroots women’s lived experiences support 1325, even as they are often left out of 1325 processes, both state-led and NGO-led. The paper argues that inclusive and bottom-up localization of 1325 and NAPs is critical to achieving the WPS agenda.

“Combative Civil Society: Contesting Political Leaders’ Power Grabs in Crises.” 2022. Romanian Review of Political Sciences and International Relations. XIX.1: 49-69. Open access. Co-authored with Anwar Mhajne.

To globally manage COVID-19, governments instituted national emergencies, prohibited large social gatherings, and introduced travel bans and lockdowns. However necessary from a health perspective, these responses allowed politicians in some contexts to threaten the stability of democratic institutions and human rights. Some leaders met with approval from a public rallying around the flag — when citizens put their trust in government to manage a crisis. Yet power grabs also provoked resistance in a number of countries. This study examines a mix of regime types — consolidated democratic, semi-consolidated democratic, illiberal democratic and authoritarian — which include: the US (liberal democracy under threat), Poland (liberal, semi-consolidated democracy), Hungary (illiberal) and China (authoritarian) in a snapshot from the pandemic’s outbreak through September 2020. Relying on a theoretical framework that examines the use of emergency powers in the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis where a rally effect enabled some leaders to abuse power, this paper argues that significant popular resistance arose against leaders’ power abuses but was hindered initially due to a rally effect. However, rallies were largely temporary, or held only for certain issues. Elements of civil society in the US, Poland and Hungary ultimately slowed political leaders’ power grabs. In China, the threat of the pandemic empowered the government to effectively shut down open civic resistance, most visibly in Hong Kong. This paper demonstrates that in authoritarian contexts, the use of emergency powers may have more severe implications compared to democratic or semi-democratic contexts. This research contributes to strategies of democracy promotion in crises by pointing to the need to support civil society, which in many — but not all — cases can subvert overreach by political leaders’ power grabs in crises.

“Mothers for and against the Nation: Complexities of a Maternal Politics of Care.” 2021. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative. 12.2: 23-33. Open access.

The politics of care linked with maternal activism often takes for granted a mutually agreed upon understanding of care. However, care is deployed in varying ways by those engaging in maternal activism. Caring cannot be assumed to be inclusive and may be exclusive, particularly when used by maternal activists linked with rightwing politics. This article explores how a maternal politics of care can reflect both progressive and reactionary politics. It uses Andrea O’Reilly’s framework of patriarchal motherhood to explore theoretically divergent international case studies of maternal activism. These cases demonstrate that a maternal politics of care can be used to support a myriad of issues on either side of the political spectrum to reflect individualized and exclusionary visions of care, “paternalistic maternalism,” (Wu), or a collective politics of care. Despite the connections often drawn between mothering labour and care labour, the function of care differs across the political spectrum. For some, caring entails collective liberation and common good and disrupts exclusive—often racist—membership in the nation. For others, care for some necessitates the denial of care for others to ensure the purity of the nation. For others still, some mothers are unable to properly care. The latter reflects a white-saviour complex, which is as concerning as the politics of hate that seeks to limit caring to certain groups. What this suggests is that constructions of who can care and who is worthy of care are deeply raced and classed as well as based on gender, sexual preference, and other social identity factors.

“Recreating the Third World Project: Possibilities through the Fourth World.” 2020. Third World Quarterly. 41.4: 565-582. DOI:10.1080/01436597.2019.1702457. Co-authored with Murat Yilmaz.

In this paper, we make a theoretical argument that the Third World be returned to its political origins to inspire an updated Third World Project (TWP), revived as a global movement for progressive, anti-imperialist forces, through the Fourth World movement, which highlights internal colonialism. Both the TWP and the United Nations recognise only nation states as full members. We examine how a Third World strategy that brings in the Fourth World, or indigenous, minority and/or stateless groups, can help oppressed groups gain more autonomy and rights through a transnational solidarity rooted in empathy. We trace the intellectual roots and history of the TWP and consider obstacles in bringing together the TWP and the Fourth World movement. A Fourth World strategy corrects the TWP’s implicit approval of an underlying imperialism, and the TWP provides the Fourth World movement a model to accomplish its goal of resisting uncritical modernity.

“The Use of Political Motherhood in Egypt’s Arab Spring Uprising and Aftermath.” 2018. International Journal of Feminist Politics. 20.1: 54-68. DOI:10.1080/14616742.2017.1371624. Co-authored with Anwar Mhajne.

Political motherhood, which uses traditional motherhood to mobilize and sustain women’s political participation, is understudied in political science. Women played a significant role in Egypt’s Arab Spring and its aftermath by “bargaining with patriarchy” and strategically using traditional motherhood to access the political sphere. In this article, we develop a theoretical argument based on the work of Gentry, Carreon and Moghadam and Amar. We illustrate it with examples drawn from news articles on women’s political activism and social media posts by Egyptian activists. Our argument explores how women’s agency and the larger political context in which women operate reveals how political motherhood takes the particular shape that it does. In the context of Egypt, we examine how the state’s choice to highlight women as “hypervisible” citizens, worthy of protection, backfired. Through a bottom-up political motherhood, women used their respectability as mothers in need of state protection against the state, thereby legitimizing anti-Mubarak and anti-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations and challenging these governments.

“Partnering with Insiders: A Review of Peer Models across Community-Engaged Research, Education and Social Care.” 2018. Health and Social Care in the Community. 26.6: 769-786. DOI:10.1111/hsc.12562. Co-authored with Lisa Vaughn (lead author), Alicia Boards, Melida Busch, Sylvia Määttä, and Maria Magnusson.

Within community-engaged research, education and social care, peer models that partner with local “insiders” are increasingly common. Peer models are composed of insider “lay” community members who often share similarities or background with a project’s target population. Peers are not academically trained, but work alongside researchers and professionals to carry out specific tasks within a project, or in the truest sense of partnership, peers collaborate throughout the project from start to finish as an equal member of the team. Although peer models are used widely, the literature lacks consistency and clarity. This systematic review of literature used a qualitative thematic synthesis to examine and report how, where and why peer models have been used in research, education and social care. We examined the language and titles used to describe the peers, details of their involvement in community-engaged projects, the setting, content/topic of study, level of engagement and related benefits/outcomes of such models. Focusing on the last 10 years, we conducted a comprehensive literature search twice between September 2016 and June 2017. The search resulted in 814 articles which were assessed for eligibility. Overall, 251 articles met our inclusion criteria and were categorised into three categories: empirical (n = 115); process/descriptive (n = 93); and “about” peers (n = 43). Findings suggest that there is a wide variety of peers, titles and terminology associated with peer models. There is inconsistency in how these models are used and implemented in research studies and projects. The majority of articles used an employment peer model, while only a handful involved peers in all phases of the project. The results of this literature review contribute to understanding the use, development and evolution of peer models. We highlight potential benefits of peer models for peers, their communities and community-engaged work, and we offer recommendations for future implementation of peer models.

Chapters in edited collections

“Feminist Theory in the Study of International Relations.” In Theories of International Relations Vol. 2 (in Bulgarian), edited by Atanas Gotchev Gotchev. 2021.

“Comparative Feminisms.” In Companion to Feminist Studies, edited by Nancy Naples, 175-191. Newark, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2021. Co-authored with Anne Sisson Runyan, Rina Verma Williams, and Anwar Mhajne.

This chapter compares feminisms through a regional frame as regional organizing has proliferated in response to the rise of regional governance, data, non-governmental organization NGOization (or the professionalization of feminism through NGOs), conflicts, austerities, authoritarianisms, and migrations. Recent scholarship on feminisms in the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, and the Americas recognizes differences between states and feminisms within these regions while problematizing these regional categories and what constitutes feminism within them. Although women face differing challenges within each region, some common ones emerge from regional treatments. We find in our comparative analysis of the rise and contemporary forms of feminisms within and among these regions that even though strong critiques – particularly on the part of Global South feminists – of neoliberal globalization, Western feminism (and even the term feminism), and NGOization continue. In addition, new generations of feminists experiencing the age of institutionalized feminism – such as state, intergovernmental, and NGO feminisms – are working on the ground more pragmatically and in more hybrid fashion across such binaries as global/local, anti-statist/statist, autonomous/NGOized, revolutionary/reformist, secular/religious, and recognition/redistribution. This suggests an ever more complex terrain of feminisms beyond binaries and borders. Although NGO feminisms are now ubiquitous, as inequalities among women (cis and trans) have increased particularly in terms of class, race, and ethnicity, but also by sexuality and gender identity, less- or non-institutionalized intersectional feminisms, often as part of larger social justice movements, have emerged in every region.

“Troubling Conceptions of Motherhood: State Feminism and Political Agency of Women in the Global South.” In Troubling Motherhood: Maternality in Global Politics, co-edited by Lucy Hall, Anna Weissman and Laura J. Shepherd, 156-178. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020. DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190939182.003.0010. Co-authored with Anwar Mhajne.

This chapter explores the ways in which political institutions in three countries—Egypt, Sri Lanka, and Argentina—interact with religious and cultural conceptions of motherhood to provide women with social authority, often through respectability politics. State and societal dynamics in each case forced women to bargain with patriarchy in order to secure political gains using—and therefore reproducing—respectability politics. In each of these three cases from different geographical regions of the world, the authors’ analysis has revealed how women’s “bargaining with patriarchy” by employing patriarchal discourses on respectable femininity and maternal identities enabled some women to engage, challenge, and resist the state. By using respectability politics centered around maternalism and the institution of motherhood, women have helped to advance democratization by challenging human rights abuses and/or furthered women’s participation in politics. With these three cases, the chapter demonstrates how, in certain political and cultural contexts where religion and women’s roles as the foundation of the family significantly structure the lives of women, motherhood has been utilized as a powerful tool for political mobilization and contestation.

“Positive Engagements with Globalization: Lessons from Maternal Activists in Transnational Women’s Groups during the Liberian Civil War.” In Mothers, Mothering and Globalization, edited by Dorsía Smith Silva, Laila Malik and Abigail Palko, 248-263. Bradford, Ontario: Demeter Press, 2017.

Book reviews

“Linda Åhäll. Sexing War/Policing Gender: Motherhood, Myth and Women’s Political Violence. Routledge, 2015.” Women’s Studies International Forum. 53 (November-December): 101, 2015.

“Erin E. O’Connor. Mothers Making Latin America: Gender, Households, and Politics since 1825, John Wiley & Sons, 2014.” International Feminist Journal of Politics. 17.2 (March): 358-360, 2015.

Public-facing scholarship

Making the Women, Peace and Security Agenda ‘Local’?McGill University’s Research Network on Women Peace and Security blog. Co-authored with Luna K.C. 13 October 2021.

A Call for Feminist Analysis in Cybersecurity: Highlighting the Relevance of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.” London School of Economics’ Women, Peace and Security blog. Co-authored with Anwar Mhajne and Luna K.C. 17 September 2021.

The United States Can’t Welcome More Refugees Without Reforming Its Resettlement System.” Foreign Policy. Co-authored with Anwar Mhajne. 12 April 2021.

The Rise of the COVID Dictatorships.” Foreign Policy. Co-authored with Anwar Mhajne. 16 October 2020.

Lessons from Egypt on the Role of Women in Fighting for Democracy.” The Conversation. Co-authored with Anwar Mhajne. 22 October 2017.