Mind the Gap: Exploring the Interplay between Gender, Terrorism and Counterterrorism

This project by Leila Ullrich is funded through a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship from 2018 to 2020.

Women have become difficult to ignore in terrorism yet attempts to consider them in counter-terrorism are rare and efforts to integrate a gender perspective even rarer. To close this gap, this project addresses two questions: first, how do terrorist and counter-terrorist institutions conceptualize women and with what effect on them? Second, how do women make sense of their role vis-à-vis both terrorist and counter-terrorist institutions? These questions will be explored through a comparative case study of the United Kingdom, Kenya and Lebanon.

This project breaks new grounds by exploring how ideas of ‘femininity’, ‘masculinity’ and other gender constructs shape terrorism and counter-terrorism. It problematizes the strict separation of terrorism and counterterrorism in the literature by investigating how each feeds off the other’s gender assumptions and how women negotiate their agency at their intersection. Employing an interdisciplinary perspective, the project aims to rethink the interplay between gender, terrorism and counter-terrorism through a unique cross-cultural study.

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