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rhetoric

It's long been fashionable to claim that the US Government used Afghan women as a justification for waging war in Afghanistan. It's not a particularly orginal, well-supported or sophisticated argument, but it's become a meme. It's slightly less fashionable, but still barely frowned upon in the post-modernist classrooms of western arts faculties, to write off the whole enterprise of women's rights (and indeed, human rights writ large) as an imperialist adventure perpetrated by patronizing western feminists, being forced upon the dominated, resistant masses of developing countries. It's these two trends, and the fact I've seen them surface more than once among UBC political science students, that prompts me to publish a detailed response to one particular undergraduate student's article regurgitating these tired claims.

The following is a response to "Feminist Ethics and the Rhetoric Surrounding Women and the War in Afghanistan," by Allison Rounding, which was published in the 2012 journal of the Political Science Students' Association of the University of British Columbia. I delivered a keynote address at the journal launch, also published here.

 

This homogenization of Afghan women, coupled with a homogenization of American women as all emancipated, is an

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On April 2, 2012, I delivered the keynote address at the launch of the journal of the Political Science Students' Association of the University of British Columbia. It was a well organized, brief event with a good Q&A session, and I'm grateful to the Association for the opportunity to respond to one of the articles featured in this year's journal, "Feminist Ethics and the Rhetoric Surrounding Women and the War in Afghanistan," by Allison Rounding. A detailed response to the content of that article can be found here, and you can read Rounding's article here. Meanwhile, here is the transcript of the keynote address.

Good afternoon and congratulations to the students who have worked so hard to produce UBC’s Journal of Political Studies.

I’m speaking to you today in my role as an aid worker in Afghanistan, but I’m also a student, at least for another couple of months, here at UBC, and a dozen or so years ago now when I started my university studies, I minored in Political Science at McGill University.

It’s been fascinating since then to go out in the field, and see how the theories of the classroom resonate, or don’t, in...More >>

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