International Studies Association (ISA) Global Conversations Series
Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section (FTGS), ISA and the Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security
Date: September 28, 2021
***Proposed Time: 9.00 EDT (US)/ 14.00 BST/ 15.00 CET/ 17.30 Afghanistan/ 18.30 New Delhi & Sri Lanka
Recent events in Afghanistan have left the world shocked, saddened and enraged as two decades of western and US interventions came to an end. In the wake of the military departure, the fundamentalist insurgent group, the Taliban, rapidly took control of key urban territories of the country and assumed overall governance of the state. The Taliban takeover in the remnants of decades of international interventions has dire consequences for all Afghan citizens, including growing threats against journalists, scholars, politicians, civil society leaders, human rights defenders and Afghans who supported US and allied efforts over the past two decades.
Afghan women have histories and presents of agency, dignity and ongoing resistance both to the Taliban and to gendered violences committed during the course of the conflict. A resurgence of Taliban control has intensified the potential for violence and oppression of women and girls. Whereas all Afghans face the potential imposition of restrictive and repressive religious codes and civil laws on their everyday lives, it is certain that these policies will be heavily gendered, with greater consequences for women and girls, for whom their gender, ethnicity, class, political opinion, education, profession, and other identity markers pose additional intersectional threats. In this context, they also are subjects of conflicting local and global normative and institutional structures whose tension heightens the stakes for their survival.
As a leading global forum for international studies scholars from multiple disciplinary fields, FTGS and ISA are partnering with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security to convene this roundtable on the gendered dynamics and impacts of the current situation in Afghanistan. This discussion will serve as an avenue for critical analysis of the above concerns from a diversity of scholarly, policy and political perspectives, with the goal of identifying entry points for concerted action.
The main objective of the roundtable is to highlight the agency, dignity, wisdoms and resistances of Afghan women and girls past and present. The conversation will be a starting point from which to map the particular conjuncture of violences, threats and possibilities for Afghan women and girls in a daily-evolving context of fear, violence, and uncertainty. Our approach is to historicise the current situation, locating Afghan women’s agency, resistances and experiences of violence and oppression within global structures of power; to assess the multi-dimensional and gendered implications for women’s rights, liberation and futures; the relevance and impact of the crisis in Afghanistan on the women, peace and security agenda of the international community; and to propose opportunities for engagement by various actors committed to working alongside Afghan women and girls to shape a strategy going forward that honours their agency and works in solidarity and kinship for their well-being and freedom.
- Zehra F. Kabasakal Arat, Professor of Political Science, University of Connecticut
- Shweta Singh, Assistant Professor of International Relations, South Asia University, New Delhi
- Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana, Affiliate Researcher, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security & American University, Washington DC
- Hawzhin Azeez, Kurdish activist, poet and academic, American University of Iraq, Suleimani
- Samira Hamidi, Women’s Rights Activist and Regional Campaigner- Amnesty International, South Asia
- Unnamed, Afghan women’s rights activist, currently in a refugee camp in the US
- Khushi Singh Rathore, PhD Researcher, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India (FTGS)
- Jessica Smith, Research & Policy Manager, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security (GIWPS), Washington DC.