Dara Kay Cohen Photo

Dara Kay Cohen

Professor of Public Policy


In this course, we will consider the international and global dimensions of gender, sex and violence, both within and outside the context of armed conflict. Current policy debates are informed by powerful—and often unquestioned—assumptions about sex, gender and violence. Recent research has challenged some of these ideas, and policymakers have responded with calls for better data, increased attention to long-hidden problems, and new strategies to confront these difficult challenges. In the course, we will consider a series of policy-relevant questions on the politics of sex, gender, and violence. Topics that we will cover include the sexed and gendered causes and consequences of war (e.g., Do sex and gender inequalities cause armed conflict? Are women leaders more peaceful? What are the consequences of women serving in frontline combat roles? ); gendered motivations for political violence (e.g., What drives people to choose violence?); the regulation of sex and gender within state and non-state armed groups, including militaries, insurgencies and terrorist organizations; the causes and consequences of wartime sexual violence; and the global politics of abortion, sex work and human trafficking. The course will feature a multi-media case, guest speakers, including policymakers, practitioners and academic researchers , and will include discussions of research design and implementation, as well as policy responses and interventions.