Upcoming Events


Speaker Series - Lorraine Dowler, Penn State

Friday, September 22, 2017, 03:15pm - 04:15pm

Associate Professor of Geography and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Penn State University

Title: Lavena Johnson, Sandra Bland, and a care(full) geopolitics 


On July 19th, 2005, Army Private First Class Lavena Johnson died in Balad, Iraq, just 8 days shy of her 20th birthday. On July 13th, almost 10 years later, 28 year old Sandra Bland’s life came to an abrupt end in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. Both women’s deaths were ruled suicides, and both women’s families and friends reject these judgments. Instead, they insinuate foul play by the state, which directly governed the militarized spaces within which the women both died. At first glace, these women appear to have had very different life trajectories. However, in both of their cases, the ruling of the suspicious deaths as suicides illustrates the state’s attempt to render their deaths banal, and thereby diminish the state’s own culpability in producing both the shocking, visible deadly outcomes as well as the less visible undergirding conditions of racial and gendered violence that made the deaths possible. In examining the relationship between the highly visible, rapidness of violent death and other overlooked, routine forms of state violence, this paper proposes new directions for feminist geopolitics engagement with emotional geographies to theorize the potential of a care(full) geopolitics.   


Lorraine Dowler is an associate professor of geography and women, gender, and sexuality studies at Penn State University.  Her interests focus in the intersections of gender, nationalism and war.  She is the author of several publications focusing on issues of gender and war in Northern Ireland.  Her current research project is a feminist examination of the critical geopolitics of the Cold War, the War on Terror and The New Military.  This research project examines how individual women and men were/are viewed as ethical or deviant as their actions were interpreted by way of adaptation or transgression of the national moral landscape.   As part of this analysis Dr. Dowler has conducted extensive interviews with women who trained to be astronauts during the NASA Mercury program, contemporary women firefighters and female soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Time: 3:15pm -4:15pm

All talks are followed by an informal get-together at Pino's in Highland Park, unless otherwise noted.

Tillett Hall, 246
53 Avenue E, Piscataway NJ 08854-8040