The War Against Rape as a Weapon of War

March 4, 2017

On March 1, 2017, Duke Professor miriam cooke discussed the effort to end the use of rape as a weapon of war at the John Hope Franklin Center's Wednesdays at the Center lecture series.

Rape has always been part of war, but in the twentieth century as military technology increased the scale of warfare, so did the rate of rape. During the 1990s, the Serb rape camps holding Bosnian Muslim women in sexual bondage and then the rape camps of the Rwandan Genocide galvanized international action. The ICC trials led to the declaration that rape in war constitutes a crime against humanity. Activists were elated, yet rape remains an authorized weapon of war. This talk focused on the most alarming case of the twenty-first century: the Islamic State and Fatwa 64 (known as the Rape Handbook), and then the global effort to prosecute and punish the practice as a whole. The lecture was well attended and included a lively question and answer session.

miriam cooke is Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University. She has been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, Qatar and the Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul. She serves on several international advisory boards, including academic journals and institutions. Since coming to Duke University she has taught Arabic language and a wide variety of courses on Arabic literature, war and gender, the Palestine-Israel conflict, and postcolonial theory. She has directed several study abroad courses in Morocco, Tunisia, Cairo and Istanbul.

This presentation was part of the Wednesdays at the Center lecture series, sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center.

Professor miriam cooke lectures at the Wednesdays at the Center
​Lecture Series (Photo: Catherine Angst, 2017) 


Professor miriam cooke lectures at the Wednesdays at the Center​
​Lecture Series (Photo: Catherine Angst, 2017) 


Professor miriam cooke answers questions at the Wednesdays at the Center​​
​Lecture Series (Photo: Catherine Angst, 2017) 
Professor miriam cooke answers questions at the Wednesdays at the Center​​
​Lecture Series (Photo: Catherine Angst, 2017) 
UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Banu Gökarıksel asks a question after the lecture
(Photo: Catherine Angst, 2017)