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The Successes and Shortcomings of Provincial Reconstruction Teams in the U.S. War in Afghanistan: Lessons from the Scholarly Conflict Literature

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Insurgency within a state is an important and frequent occurrence during armed conflict. The large political science literature on conflict reveals that there are many factors that contribute to insurgency within societies engaged in armed conflict including the scope and

Insurgency within a state is an important and frequent occurrence during armed conflict. The large political science literature on conflict reveals that there are many factors that contribute to insurgency within societies engaged in armed conflict including the scope and intensity of violence, the relative strength of insurgent groups, and the type of regime in power. In addition, there are other relevant issues for understanding the causes of insurgency in a particular place, including greed, grievance, ideology, sociopolitical institutions, geography, ethnicity, and the specific nature of the conflict’s impact on particular communities. In this study, I review the political science literature on conflict as a means of gaining insight on how and why individuals join insurgent groups and the causes and severity of state retaliation against both individuals and insurgent groups. Frameworks within the conflict literature provide a better understanding of key aspects of the U.S. War in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2012. Specifically, I focus on the ways in which these issues are related to the practices and policies of the U.S.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), civil-military joint teams created by the U.S. government, are intended to assist in development and reconstruction projects throughout Afghanistan. The mission of PRTs involve locally grounded engagement linking security and community assistance as a central means of supporting the larger counterinsurgency model. Humanitarian activities as undertaken by PRTs attempt provide stability to civilians that they might otherwise turn toward an insurgent group to find. Ideally, PRTs should understand the factors that cause individual and group insurgency against a state and utilize that knowledge when attempting to address the conflict that results. This study focuses on the successes and shortcomings of the Jalalabad PRT and their implementation of a new project development model in the Nangarhar province in Afghanistan in 2006. It was successful because it directly worked to remediate the underlying causes of insurgency as proposed by the technocratic conceit, with a focus on improved water sanitation and sewage, agriculture, and basic infrastructure. It was unsuccessful because it failed to promote local ownership, the development of a community identity, or a methodology to measure the effectiveness and impact of its projects.

According to the lessons from the conflict literature, the Jalalabad PRT’s actions only partly reduced the factors that lead to individual and group defection into an insurgent group.
In actively working to incorporate the lessons from the conflict literature into the Jalalabad PRT project development model, PRTs will more aptly and successfully achieve their stated goals of providing stability, reconstruction, and security. Without addressing the potential other underlying causes of insurgency, however, U.S. PRTs are unable to produce measurable, empirical reductions to insurgency in Afghanistan.

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2019-05

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Sexual Violence and Exploitation in Syrian Women Seeking Refuge from Civil War: The Role of the International Community in Providing Safety

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The civil war in Syria has caused over one million Syrians to flee to bordering countries seeking protection. One of the major causes of this exodus is the reality and fear of sexual violence. Sexual violence against Syrian women is

The civil war in Syria has caused over one million Syrians to flee to bordering countries seeking protection. One of the major causes of this exodus is the reality and fear of sexual violence. Sexual violence against Syrian women is life altering because of the high value the culture places on virtue and modesty; a woman who is known to have been raped faces shame, possible disenfranchisement by her family, and is at high risk for suicide and in some extreme, but few cases, being murdered by a family member in an honor killing. However, once these refugees arrive they are still threatened not only with sexual violence, but also with sexual exploitation. Sexual violence is devastating to women and families. The international community must work to combat it by helping host countries to prevent the violence, assist victims, prosecute perpetrators, and create safe environments for female refugees. Human rights advocates should look within the philosophy of Islam to encourage gender equality ethics already present therein.

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2013-05

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The social costs of war: investigating the relationship between warfare and intragroup violence during the Mississippian period of the Central Illinois Valley

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War exacts a great social cost, not only upon its direct participants, but also upon the lives of the friends, family, and community of those who experience it. This cost is particularly evident in the increased frequencies of aggressive

War exacts a great social cost, not only upon its direct participants, but also upon the lives of the friends, family, and community of those who experience it. This cost is particularly evident in the increased frequencies of aggressive behaviors, including homicide, assault, and domestic violence, enacted by Western military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Similarly, among contemporary non-Westernized peoples, a cross-cultural conducted by Ember and Ember (1994) found a relationship between war and various forms of intragroup violence, including domestic violence, assaults, homicides, and violent sports. It is unknown, however, if this positive association between warfare and intragroup violence extends longitudinally for prehistoric populations uninfluenced by modern states.

To test Ember and Ember’s (1994) results in an archaeological culture, this study examines whether or not an association between war and intragroup violence was present during the Mississippian Period (ca. AD 1000-1450) of the Central Illinois Valley (CIV). The Mississippian Period of the CIV represents an ideal context for examining war and violence questions, as considerable evidence of war and violence has been amassed from archaeological and bioarchaeological analyses. High rates of skeletal trauma, fortification construction, and the placement of habitations sites in defendable areas indicate war was of particular concern during this period. Yet, little is known regarding the diachronic and synchronic variation in violence in this region.

In this research, skeletal remains representing 776 individuals from five CIV sites (Dickson Mounds, Larson, Berry, Crable, and Emmons) were analyzed for violence-related skeletal trauma, biodistance, and mortuary data. From the aggregation of these data, two models of intergroup violence and two models of intragroup violence were explored. The intergroup models examined were: 1) warfare victims from the local community and 2) warfare captives. The intragroup models assessed include: 1) domestic violence and 2) male-male fights. Results support the hypothesis that as intergroup violence increased during the Mississippian Period in the CIV, intragroup violence increased concomitantly. While warfare and intragroup violence occurred in low frequencies early in the Mississippian Period, after AD 1200, both intragroup and intergroup violence were likely endemic.

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2015

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Bandok Lul

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ASU student Bandok Lul (Nuer) rehearses a pitch for Refugee Coding Academy. “Lost Boys Found” is an ongoing, interdisciplinary project that is collecting, recording and archiving the oral histories of the Lost Boys/Girls of Sudan. The collection is a work-in-progress,

ASU student Bandok Lul (Nuer) rehearses a pitch for Refugee Coding Academy. “Lost Boys Found” is an ongoing, interdisciplinary project that is collecting, recording and archiving the oral histories of the Lost Boys/Girls of Sudan. The collection is a work-in-progress, seeking to record the oral history of as many Lost Boys/Girls as are willing, and will be used in a future book.

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2017-03-29

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Women rewriting scripts of war: contemporary U.S. novels, memoir, and media from 1991-2013

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ABSTRACT

This dissertation examines contemporary U.S. women writing about war, with primarily women subjects and protagonists, from 1991-2013, in fiction, memoir, and media. The writers situate women at the center of war texts and privilege their voices as authoritative speakers

ABSTRACT

This dissertation examines contemporary U.S. women writing about war, with primarily women subjects and protagonists, from 1991-2013, in fiction, memoir, and media. The writers situate women at the center of war texts and privilege their voices as authoritative speakers in war, whether as civilians and soldiers trying to survive or indigenous women preparing for the possibility of war. I argue that these authors are rewriting scripts of war to reflect gendered experiences and opening new ways of thinking about war. Women Rewriting Scripts of War argues that Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Almanac of the Dead juxtaposes an indigenous Story concept against a white industrialized national “Truth,” and indigenous women characters will resort to war if needed to oppose it. Silko’s and the other texts here challenge readers to unseat assumptions about the sovereignty of the U.S. and other countries, about the fixedness of gender, of capitalism, and of how humans relate to each other‒and how we should. I argue in Essay 3 that the script of “the body” or “the soldier” in military service can be expanded by moving toward language and concepts from feminist and queer theory and spectrums of gender and sexuality. This can contribute to positive change for all military members. In each of the texts, there are some similarities in connections with others. Connections enable solidarity for change, possibilities for healing, and survival; indeed, without connections with others to work together, survival is not possible. Changes to established economic structures become necessary for women in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Poisonwood Bible; I argue that women engaging in alternative modes of economy subvert the dominant economic constraints, gender hierarchies, and social isolation during and after war in the Congo. In Essay 5, I explore two fictional texts about the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Helen Benedict's novel Sand Queen and Katey Schultz’s short story collection Flashes of War. The connections in these women’s texts about war are not idealized, and they function as the antithesis to the fragmentation and isolation of postmodern texts.

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2015

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Six Post-9/11 American War Films: Towards an Evolution of Nontraditional Masculine Constructs

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Scholars argue that masculinity and war are united because masculinity is best observed through male-dominated arenas, such as the military. Moreover, film can serve as a medium to not only establish what is socially acceptable, but play an active role

Scholars argue that masculinity and war are united because masculinity is best observed through male-dominated arenas, such as the military. Moreover, film can serve as a medium to not only establish what is socially acceptable, but play an active role in the creation of one’s identity. Filmmakers past and present have employed the motif of masculinity in their war films, which put it at the center of the social structure and creates an overall acceptable cultural ideology. These filmmakers have established the overall rules, themes, and methods used as part of the war film genre. These rules, themes, and methods served well for pre-1970 American war cinema, when women were not allowed in the military as soldiers. However, as of 2003, female soldiers have grown to comprise twenty percent of the active soldiers and officers in the military. Studies on masculinity construction are well documented in World War II, Vietnam, and Gulf War-era combat films; however, little has been studied on post-9/11 American war films involving the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Using literature on masculinity constructs, both inside and outside of film, as well as social construction theory, identity theory, genre theory, and auteur theory, this dissertation textually examines masculinity construction in six post-9/11 American war films. This dissertation finds that the contemporary war genre continues to construct masculinity similar to past eras of war film. Comradery, the warrior image, not showing emotion, having a violent demeanor, and the demonization of women and cowardice were all prevalent in one or more of the films analyzed in this study. However, there were many nontraditional masculine ideals that were implemented, such as women being present and taking an active role as soldiers, as well as women being portrayed in the warrior image. The films analyzed demonstrate that the war film genre is still depicting and therefore socially constructing masculinity in a way that was prevalent in pre-1970 war films. However, the genre is evolving and nontraditional masculinity constructs are starting to present themselves.

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2019

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Intersecting transnational English modernisms in interwar France

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This dissertation is a study of place and the ways that place plays a role in the stories we tell about ourselves and the ways we interact with the world. It is also the study of a moment in

This dissertation is a study of place and the ways that place plays a role in the stories we tell about ourselves and the ways we interact with the world. It is also the study of a moment in time and how a moment can impact what came before and all that follows. By taking on the subject of 1920s anglophone modernism in France I explore the way this particular time and place drew upon the past and impacted the future of literary culture. Post World War I France serves as a fluid social, political, and cultural space and the moment is one of plural modernisms. I argue that the interwar period was a transnational moment that laid the groundwork for the kind of global interactions that are both positively and negatively impacting the world today. I maintain that the critical work connected to the influence of 1920s France on Modernism deserves a more interstitial analysis than we have seen, one that expressly challenges the national frameworks that lead to a monolithic focus on the specific identity politics attached to race, gender, class and sexuality. I promote instead a consideration of the articulations between all of these factors by expanding, connecting and providing contingencies for the difference within the unity and the similarities that exist beyond it. I consider the way that the idea, history, social culture and geography of France work as sources of literary innovation and as spaces of literary fantasy for three diverse anglophone modernist writers: Jean Rhys, Claude McKay and William Faulkner. Their interaction with the place and the people make for a complex web of articulated difference that is the very core of transnational modernism. By considering their use of place in modernist fiction, I question the centrality of Paris as a modernist topos that too often replaces any broader understanding of France as a diverse cultural and topographical space, and I question the nation-centric logic of modernist criticism that fails to recognize the complex ways that language in general and the English language in particular function in this particular expatriate modernist moment.

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2016

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Adult survivors of childhood exposure to war (ASCEW): the forgotten and lost generations

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of involvement of Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) in armed conflict resolution is to help to keep peace, protect innocent people, contribute to relief operations, to advocate, assist in the reconstruction and development programs. This action is always carried

ABSTRACT

The purpose of involvement of Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) in armed conflict resolution is to help to keep peace, protect innocent people, contribute to relief operations, to advocate, assist in the reconstruction and development programs. This action is always carried out through the NGOs grassroots mediation processes. This study investigates the prospective of implementing humanitarian programs to help and care for the young war child survivors of the 1991 to 2001 civil wars in Sierra Leone.

To explore the intervention of the NGOs activities in the civil wars in Sierra Leone, I examined three NGOs and one governmental institution as case study organizations. The NGOs include 1) UNICEF, 2) World Vision, 3) Plan International and 4) the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender, and Childrens’ Affair (MSWGCA) as government agency. The research investigates the NGOs and MSWGC’s specific services provided to children during and after the war in Sierra Leone. The specific services include: 1) the NGOs’ implementing policies, 2) who got served and under what conditions, 3) what models of services do they use, 4) what kind of government policies were put in place, 5) what were the challenges they faced, and 6) what were their strategies during and after the civil war in Sierra Leone. There were also ten Adult Survivors of Childhood Exposure to War (ASCEW) members interviewed to balance the NGOs’ claims. Based on my literature review and findings on ASCEW, I make my recommendations to allow the organizations to move forward with their humanitarian operations.

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2016