The articles in this themed issue focus on the gender and sexuality of militarization, war, and violence. Following a preface by feminist theorist Cynthia Enloe, the first two articles deal with the ways in which recent events in Syria and Egypt have impacted men and women. Edith Szanto and Mariz Tadros examine the gendered representations of violence during and after the 2011 revolutions. Analyzing the coverage of Arab and Kurdish women’s participation in the Syrian turmoil, Szanto questions the stakes of Anglophone media in representing women as victims, heroines, or pawns, arguing that this typology masks as much as it reveals. Tadros turns our attention away from Egyptian women demonstrators in Cairo to men who have also been targeted for sexual violence. Why, she asks, have attacks on the men supporting women protesters been silenced? Sarah Irving and Dana Olmert read Israeli, Iraqi, and Yemeni literature to understand fraught and often violent relationships between Jews/Israelis and Muslims/Arabs. Through close readings of a novel by David Grossman, Olmert asks a broader question: how do mothers of dead Israeli soldiers grieve? Irving compares an Iraqi novel about the doomed love of a Jewish girl for a Muslim narrator in 1940s Mosul with a Yemeni novel about an impossible romance between a Jewish boy and a Muslim girl in late seventeenth-century Yemen. Reading the discourses of Turkish and Kurdish mothers of the disappeared, Emine Rezzan Karaman examines the meanings attached to women’s performance of identity, citizenship, and political agency in Turkey in the early twenty-first century.
The cover of this issue is by Khaled Akil, a Syrian art photographer from Aleppo now living in Istanbul. Third Space features five works from his Woman Between . . . series that he dedicates to Yazidi women, whom Islamic State militiamen abducted, raped, and sold into sexual captivity in 2014. Third Space also includes an essay by Achim Rohde that examines the status of nonnormative boys and men in late Baʿthist and postinvasion Iraq, showing that organized violence against cross-dressers, gays, and emos is marked after 2003. This issue closes with a tribute by Norma Claire Moruzzi to the life and works of the pioneering Moroccan feminist Fatima Mernissi, who died on November 30, 2015.