Women Soldiers: History and Recent Experience


Joshua S. Goldstein, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, American University (Washington, DC); and Research Scholar, University of Massachusetts

Throughout history and across cultures, combatants in the world’s many wars have overwhelmingly been male. Why this is so has been an enduring puzzle for various academic disciplines. On the whole, the evidence shows that when given the chance women have performed quite well in combat. Currently, women soldiers, especially from the United States, are playing critical specialized roles in counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Aftghanistan. European militaries and peacekeeping missions have begun to use gender advisors to help adapt to new gender realities of warfare. This talk reviews women’s past and present experiences as war fighters.
Professor Joshua S. Goldstein is an interdisciplinary scholar of war, and author of the best-selling textbook International Relations (with Jon C. Pevehouse). His book The Real Price of War (NYU, 2004) discusses war and the economy. Prior books include War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa (Cambridge, 2001), Three-Way Street: Strategic Reciprocity in World Politics (Chicago, 1990; with John R. Freeman) and Long Cycles: Prosperity and War in the Modern Age (Yale, 1988). Goldstein has published articles in The American Political Science Review, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and International Studies Quarterly, among others, and Op Ed pieces in The New York Times and elsewhere. His research on great-power management of regional conflicts, funded by the National Science Foundation, includes articles on the Middle East, Kosovo, and Bosnia. Goldstein has won a MacArthur Foundation Individual Research and Writing Grant, the International Studies Association's Karl Deutsch Award for research, and the American Political Science Association's Victoria Schuck Award, among others.
Location: Allison Dining Room, Taubman building, 5th floor
*Lunch Provided