Plenarveranstaltung III / Plenary session III: (Un)intended gender politics of humanitarianism
"The “women powering” of humanitarian aid post 9/11 and the work of imagination"
Sprecherin / Speaker:
Julie Billaud (Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies Genf, Schweiz)
This presentation is concerned with the imaginary and immaterial practices via which humanitarianism in post 9/11 Afghanistan has come to define women’s needs and has devised programs to answer them. The argument I make is that Orientalist imaginaries of Muslim women in need of rescue permeated the humanitarian enterprise in Afghanistan. Such imaginaries, in spite of their phantasmagorical nature, have actualized specific humanitarian responses based on liberal notions of self-empowerment. Their main objective was less to concretely improve the situation of women, than to bolster the idea of reconstruction for Western audiences via carnivalesque performances of radical reversals. I maintain that technologies of the ‘self’ on which programs aimed at increasing women’s resilience are poisonous humanitarian gifts whichoverlook thevarious forms of structural inequalities that are responsible for triggering crises in the first place and which hide the broader dynamics of abandonment that have marked the history of the West’s engagement with Afghanistan since the 1990s.
Datum: Montag, 30. September 2019