Added: September 3, 2016 – Last updated: December 3, 2016


Author: Nayanika Mookherjee

Title: The Spectral Wound

Subtitle: Sexual Violence, Public Memories and the Bangladesh War of 1971

Place: Durham, NC

Publisher: Duke University Press

Year: 2015

Pages: 352pp.

ISBN-13: 9780822359494 (cloth) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780822359685 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780822375227 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | Asian History: Bangladeshi History, Pakistani History | Types: Wartime Rape / Bangladesh Liberation War


Link: Amazon (Limited Preview)


Author: Nayanika Mookherjee, Department of Anthropology, Durham


  Foreword (p. ix)
  Preface: "A Lot of History, a Severe History" (p. xv)
  Acknowledgments (p. xxi)
  Introduction: The "Looking-Glass Border" (p. 1)
Part I
  One. "The Month of Mourning and the Languid Floodwaters": The Weave of National History (p. 31)
  Two. "We Would Rather Have Shaak (Greens) Than Murgi (Chicken) Polao": The Archiving of the Birangona (p. 47)
  Three. "Bringing Out the Snake": Khota (Scorn) and the Public Secrecy of Sexual Violence (p. 67)
  Four. "A Mine of Thieves": Interrogting Local Politics (p. 91)
  Five. "My Own Imagination in My Own Body": Embodied Transgressions in the Everyday (p. 107)
Part II
  Six. "Mingling in Society": Rehabilitation Program and Re-membering the Raped Woman (p. 129)
  Seven. The Absent Piece of Skin: Gendered, Racialized, and Territorial Inscriptions of Sexual Violence during the Bangladesh War (p. 159)
  Eight. "Imagining the War Heroine": Examination of State, Press, Literary, Visual, and Human Rights Accounts, 1971–2001 (p. 177)
  Nine. Subjectivities of War Heroines: Victim, Agent, Traitor? (p. 228)
Part III
  Conclusion. "The Truth is Tough": Human Rights and the Politics of Transforming Experiences of Wartime Rape "Trauma" into Public Memories (p. 251)
  Postscript: From 2001 until 2013 (p. 264)
  Notes (p. 277)
  Glossary (p. 291)
  References (p. 293)
  Index (p. 309)

Description: »Following the 1971 Bangladesh War, the Bangladesh government publicly designated the thousands of women raped by the Pakistani military and their local collaborators as birangonas, ("brave women”). Nayanika Mookherjee demonstrates that while this celebration of birangonas as heroes keeps them in the public memory, they exist in the public consciousness as what Mookherjee calls a spectral wound. Dominant representations of birangonas as dehumanized victims with disheveled hair, a vacant look, and rejected by their communities create this wound, the effects of which flatten the diversity of their experiences through which birangonas have lived with the violence of wartime rape. In critically examining the pervasiveness of the birangona construction, Mookherjee opens the possibility for a more politico-economic, ethical, and nuanced inquiry into the sexuality of war.« (Source: Duke University Press)


Chakraborty, Rachana. Social History 41(3) (2016): 343-344. – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Lambek, Michael. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 22(4) (December 2016): 1001-1002. – Full Text: Wiley Online Library (Restricted Access)

Sabur, Seuty. South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies (July 14, 2016). – Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of Asia: History of Bangladesh, History of Pakistan | Types of rape: Wartime sexual violence | War: Bangladesh Liberation War / Rape during the Bangladesh Liberation War