Added: November 29, 2014 – Last updated: January 2, 2016


Author: Debra B. Bergoffen

Title: Contesting the Politics of Genocidal Rape

Subtitle: Affirming the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body

Place: New York and London

Publisher: Routledge

Year: 2012

Pages: 131pp.

Series: Routledge Research in Gender and Society 29

ISBN-13: 9780415891271 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780203340134 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History, 20th Century, 21st Century | European History: Bosnian History | Types: Genocidal Rape, Wartime Rape / Bosnian War



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Author: Debra B. Bergoffen, Department of Philosophy, George Mason University


  Acknowledgments (p. xi)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  1 The Case: The Vulnerable Body on Trial (p. 6)
    Rape and War (p. 6)
    Setting A Woman's Agenda at the United Nations (p. 8)
    The War in Bosna-Herzegovina: Ethnic Cleansing/Scripted Rape (p. 10)
    Creating the ICTY (p. 15)
    International Law: Given and Reworked (p. 16)
    Transforming the Meaning of Rape and Human Dignity (p. 22)
  2 Slavery, Torture, Rape: Assaulting the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body (p. 29)
    Protecting the Lived Body (p. 29)
    Slavery (p. 32)
    Torture (p. 35)
    Rape (p. 41)
    Pragmatic Implications (p. 47)
  3 Genodical Rape as Spectacle (p. 49)
    The Return of the Spectacle (p. 49)
    Rwanda (p. 52)
    The Former Yugoslavia (p. 55)
    Baudrillard and the Image (p. 60)
      Stage One: The Image as a Reflection of a Profound Reality (p. 61)
      Stage Two: The Image Masks and Denatures a Profound Reality (p. 62)
      Stage Three: The Image as a Mask for the Absence of a Profound Reality (p. 62)
      Stage Four: The Image as Having Not Relation to Reality Whatsoever: It is a Simulacrum (p. 62)
    The (Non)Scandal of Rape (p. 63)
    The Ethics of the Image (p. 64)
  4 The Verdict: Affirming the Dignity of the Vulnerable Body (p. 67)
    Creating the Human Right to Sexual Self-Determination (p. 67)
    Consent and the Liberal Social Contract (p. 70)
    Resisting the Fantasy of Autonomy (p. 74)
    The Verdict's Productive Two Pronged Logic (p. 79)
  5 Representing the Human: The Lingua Franca of Human Rights (p. 83)
    Interrogating the Human Rights Paradigm (p. 83)
    Why Human Rights Now? (p. 83)
    Converging and Divergent Genealogies (p. 88)
    The Authority of the Law (p. 95)
    The Human as a Floating Signifier (p. 97)
  6 Of the Politics and Pleasures of the Vulnerable Body (p. 101)
    Reframing the Question of the Subject (p. 101)
    A Matter of Conscience and Horror (p. 103)
    The Right to Bear Witness (p. 110)
    A New Humanism (p. 111)
    The Right to Happiness and Revolt (p. 115)
    Of Politics and Pleasures (p. 119)
  Bibliography (p. 121)
  Index (p. 127)

Description: »Rape, traditionally a spoil of war, became a weapon of war in the ethnic cleansing campaign in Bosnia. The ICTY Kunarac court responded by transforming wartime rape from an ignored crime into a crime against humanity. In its judgment, the court argued that the rapists violated the Muslim women’s right to sexual self-determination. Announcing this right to sexual integrity, the court transformed women’s vulnerability from an invitation to abuse into a mark of human dignity. This close reading of the trial, guided by the phenomenological themes of the lived body and ambiguity, feminist critiques of the autonomous subject and the liberal sexual/social contract, critical legal theory assessments of human rights law and institutions, and psychoanalytic analyses of the politics of desire, argues that the court, by validating women’s epistemic authority (their right to establish the meaning of their experience of rape) and affirming the dignity of the vulnerable body (thereby dethroning the autonomous body as the embodiment of dignity), shows us that human rights instruments can be used to combat the epidemic of wartime rape if they are read as de-legitimating the authority of the masculine autonomous subject and the gender codes it anchors.« (Source: Routledge)


du Toit, Louise. Hypatia Reviews Online (2013). – Full Text: Hypatia Reviews Online (Free Access)

Koomen, Jonneke. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 40(1) (Autumn 2014): 259-263 – Full Text: JSTOR (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Bosnia and Herzegovina | Types of rape: Genocidal rape, Wartime sexual violence | War: Bosnian War / Rape during the Bosnian War