Violence, Vulnerability and Embodiment

Gender and History
D'Cruze, Shani
Rao, Anupama
Date published: 
May 2005

Violence, its specificity and significance across temporal and spatial boundaries, is a key topic for feminist scholarship. This well-illustrated collection uses new and interdisciplinary approaches in gender history to explore violence as a form of gendered embodiment across place and time.

The contributors discuss violence in a wide range of contexts, from castration and blinding as punishment for treason in Normandy and Anglo-Norman England, through the rearing of professional female fighters in 1930s Stalinist Russia, to the Domestic Violence (Prevention) Bill in India in 2002. They ask why some forms of violence are valorized, permitted or rendered invisible, while others are stigmatized, policed or criminalized; and they consider the relationship between everyday violent acts, and the extraordinary or spectacular use of violence as humiliation or punishment.

The book helps readers to understand violence as a as a performative act that can be read symptomatically and as a diagnostic for deeper, more complex historical structures.