Nadine Skaff

Messy Masculinities : Memory and Military Masculinity during the Lebanese Civil War

Nadine Skaff, Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining
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Thirty years after the end of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), the lack of accountability and normalisation of violence sponsored by a sectarian and patriarchal power sharing system in Lebanon continues, with former warlords exerting their influence as political leaders today. Given Lebanon’s politics and culture of amnesia, the testimonies of individual ex-militia men and women from different political factions are crucial to building a collective project of remembering, dealing with the past, and deepening awareness of its lingering effects on present social and political structures.

While maintaining an awareness of the specific economic, colonial, and political-sectarian context surrounding the Lebanese civil war, this talk centres a feminist perspective which situates gender as the central lens to understanding the experiences of a small group of ex-militia fighters’ experiences. This includes initial motivations and circumstances around militarised political participation, various aspects of their life as fighters, as well as perspectives and challenges of women and men in combat. Their reflections point to the reality of nuanced and messy masculinities, wherein the act of reflecting was a site of contestation within which interlocutors differentially embodied and negotiated militarised masculinity.


About the speaker

Nadine Skaff recently completed her Master’s in Development Studies from the Graduate Institute, Geneva, with a research focus in gender, peace, and security. She holds a B.A. in Cognitive Science and English Literature from the University of Virginia, where she explored research related to trauma, violence and memory as well as creative forms of knowledge situating personal histories within political contexts. She has since worked in various NGO and advocacy research spaces including the Arab Institute for Women in Beirut. Her interdisciplinary background has shaped broader interests in the intersecting socioeconomic and environmental aspects of conflict, and in particular the gendered dimensions of power structures and dominant masculinity norms shaping social systems. Nadine currently works as a Junior Program Officer at the Geneva International Center for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).


Part of the Gender Seminar Series

The Gender Centre has developed this series of research seminars in order to offer a platform of exchange for students, doctoral students in particular, and researchers whose work includes a gender perspective. During this monthly series, researchers have the opportunity to discuss their work, meet peers from different disciplines at the Graduate Institute, as well as interact with other students, guest speakers and faculty members.

See the programme of this semester's Gender Seminar Series here.

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