New Journal of the British Academy issue examines the complexities of violent extremism and gender in East Africa

22 Jun 2023

A new special issue of the Journal of the British Academy examines the complex interrelation of gender and violent extremism, particularly in the context of East Africa.

Critically reflecting on the role of gender in violent extremism and responses to it, the articles in this issue, Gender and Violent Extremism, explore topics including the reintegration of female defectors from extremist groups, and the detrimental effects of Kenya’s wide-ranging policies, strategies and tactics for waging the war on terror on the coast.

Articles in this issue include:

  • “When they joined: restricted agency and victimhood in Kenyan women’s pathways into Al-Shabaab” by Hawa Noor Zitzmann, University of Bremen
  • “Returning home: the reintegration dilemmas of female Al-Shabaab defectors in Kenya” by Fathima Azmiya Badurdeen, Technical University of Mombasa
  • “Suffering in silence: counter-productivity of Kenya’s war on terror at the Kenya coast” by Hussein Abdullahi Mahmoud, United States International University (USIU-Africa)
  • “Islamic feminism as an alternative strategy for preventing and countering violent extremism among Muslim women in Kenya” by Rickline S. Ng’ayo, United States International University–Africa (USIU—Africa).

This edition of the Journal of the British Academy was co-edited by Dr Sahla Aroussi, Associate Professor of Gender and Global Security Challenges at the University of Leeds, and Dr Fatuma Ahmed Ali, Associate Professor of International Relations at the United States International University–Africa. The articles were presented at the Global Network on Gender and Responding to Violent Extremism (GARVE) online conference in November 2021.

Dr Sahla Aroussi, co-editor of the issue and associate professor in the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds, said:  

Over the last few years, we have seen increased attention to gender and especially to the role of women in violent extremism and in efforts aimed at preventing and countering this. Such interest has been particularly notable following the adoption of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and Security Council resolution 2242 on Women, Peace, and Security in 2015.
This special issue contributes to the scholarly debate in this area by critically reflecting on the role of gender and race in policies and research on violent extremism and responses to it. Written by scholars and practitioners, mostly from the Global South, this issue offers both a nuanced but also grounded understanding of violent extremism including those based on everyday experiences and subjugated knowledge.

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