Unprecedented numbers of displaced persons are fleeing war, hunger, crime, poverty and climate change. These global developments threaten to unsettle the systems of patriarchal power on which the nation-state system has been built. It is not surprising that many states have turned their focus to the border—liminal spaces that are edgy and anxiety-producing. Under these conditions, states attempt to saturate the political space with spectacles of power and authority. Commonly referred to as populism, these are nostalgic attempts to exercise control.
This lecture will focus on the gendered relations of catastrophic masculinities that draw lines to exclude rather than include. It will explore why these politics of catastrophe are violent and toxic, and how they operate within states and beyond. It will contrast them with rise of peace movements that are pushing back through the intersectionalities of their personal and collective lives to offer an ethics of caring and the provision of refuge.
Dr. Janie Leatherman is professor of politics and international studies. She is Chair of Politics, Director of the Humanitarian Action Minor, and Project Director of Collaborative Project in Student Learning: The Examination of Enduring Questions through Humanitarian Education (Teagle Foundation Grant)
Dr. Leatherman's training and consultancy in conflict resolution include the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, the United Nations University, Catholic Relief Services, Search for Common Ground, the Brookings Institution, and the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). She has grants from national and international funding sources, including the Department of Education, United States Institute of Peace, the Social Science Research Council, Pew Foundation, Swedish Government, and also the Fulbright-Hayes and American Scandinavian dissertation fellowships. She has delivered more than 50 public addresses and dozens of conference papers in national and international forum.
Dr. Leatherman served as Director of International Studies at Fairfield University from 2006-2012. Her prior appointments include Director of International Affairs, College of Arts and Sciences, Illinois State University (1997-2006), Visiting Fellow, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame (1992-1997), and Visiting Assistant Professor, Macalester College (1989-1991). She was Director of Brethren Colleges Abroad and taught at the University of Barcelona from 1991-1992. Her Ph.D. is from the University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies (1991).
Dr. Leatherman's current research project includes a book contract for "Global Peace Studies" (for Polity Press). She also has projects underway on border politics and migration, safe spaces in humanitarian contexts, and sexual violence and armed conflict.
Her work on sexual violence examines its pervasive reality in many contemporary warzones; asks how such atrocity becomes normalized through a complex interplay of local to global forces, and explores the range of humanitarian responses from pyschosocial, protection, caring and social transformation. Her most recent publication Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict explores the catastrophic, and often hidden, consequences for women, men, girls, and boys in conflict zones, and how the destruction of their lives along with family and community is linked to a global political economy of violence and its networks of plunder and profit, especially with illicit goods and conflict minerals and other commodities. more information
Watch Dr. Leatherman's 2014 Webinar on Sexual Violence in Conflict, produced in collaboration with the Women's International League of Peace & Freedom.
Safe space is an overlooked concept, whose protection is vital to the security of famliies and communities around the world, and yet seems to be collapsing in many contexts. These range from the impact of global climate change, fragile and collapsing states, piracy, kidnappings, loss of safe space in humanitarian crises and war, the global rise in domestic violence, human trafficking, and sweatshops, to terrorism, and the linkages among them. As globalization has collapsed time and space, it has disarticulated the territoriality of the inter-state and associated war system, while accelerating the movement of people, goods and ideas, prompting a mismatch between global humanitarian and human rights norms and the system they were designed for, and contemporary threats. Safe space in one sector after another (humanitarian spaces, schools, markets, malls, public transport, hospitals, religious and cultural sites, etc.) situated historically under the protective arm of international regimes and associated state duties is in peril. The emergence of the responsibility to protect is just one manifestation of the struggle to respond to the pervasive collapse of safe space.