Might the voices of women veterans cast a new light on the realities, ravages and aftermath of war? At a time when we have an increasing number of women in active combat, what would it mean to see war through their eyes? What might their writings and reflections have to teach us?
During the Iraq War, American women made history insofar as they participated in combat on an unprecedented scale. Yet, public discourse rarely spotlighted or celebrated this achievement, but instead focused obsessively on the media’s “controversial” characterization of female veterans such as Jessica Lynch and Lyndie England. The Iraq War is groundbreaking in both historical and literary terms: first, women not only served but also fought openly as women for the first time in a full-scale war waged by the United States; second, authors have begun to feature openly female combatants as the centerpieces of war narratives (Geoffrey Wright, “I’m a Soldier, Not a Gender,” 2018, p. 658).
This special issue of The Journal of Veterans Studies focuses on the double bind that females face as both woman and servicemember within a hyper-masculine U.S. military culture that often casts this dual positionality as an inflexible binary, and asks contributors to reflect on the ways that the Iraq War has produced a body of literature in both fiction and first-person memoir that portrays women as active combatants and participants instead of spectators or victims. We encourage submissions that engage with or analyze one or more of the following subtopics:
• Critical perspectives on female authored Iraq War literature (fiction, poetry, and/or first-person memoir)
• Pedagogical strategies for teaching female authored Iraq War fiction, poetry, and memoir
• The image of the female veteran in film/photography
• Feminist perspectives on the Iraq War as it relates to female veteran identity construction and alternative definitions of nationalist belonging
• Analyses of the relationship between military power dynamics and incidents of sexual assault/abuse towards servicewomen
• The challenges and complexities of homecoming for female Iraq War veterans
• The efficacy of community writing groups for female veterans
• Interviews with one or more female Iraq War veterans
September 1, 2020 Abstract submissions due
September 15, 2020 acceptance/rejections sent out
January 5, 2021 Final manuscripts due
January 31, 2021 Revision requests
March 1, 2021 Revisions submitted
Abstracts should be no more than 500 words and have an accompanying 50-word author bio.