This panel centered on “Women & Militancy: The Female Fighter” will be a wide-ranging discussion on the specific drivers of female militancy to explore ways in which the inclusion of the female fighter in existing debates can challenge prevailing assumptions underpinning “feminist” foreign policy. Reception with drinks to follow.

Dr. Nimmi Gowrinathan is the Founder and Director of the Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative, a global initiative examining the impact of rape on women’s political identities, and a Visiting Research Professor at the Colin Powell Center for Global and Civic Leadership at City College New York. She is the founder and director of a new program under this initiative, Beyond Identity: A Gendered-Platform for Scholar Activists. She is also currently a Senior Scholar the Center for Political Conflict, Gender, and People’s Rights at the University of California, Berkeley and the creator of the Female Fighter Series at Guernica Magazine. She has recently been a senior advisor on political voice for the ADB/UN Women Benchmark Paper on SDG’s in the Asia-Pacific region; a Gender Expert for the United Nations Human Development Report on Afghanistan; and a policy consultant and analyst for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the International Crisis Group, researching and analyzing gender inclusion in peace-building and women’s insecurities in Sri Lanka. She was formerly the Director of South Asia Programs and UN Representative for Operation USA. Dr. Gowrinathan received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles for “Why Women Rebel: Understanding Female Fighters in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” which received the Jean and Irving Stone Award for Innovation in Gender Studies. She provides expert analysis for CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and the BBC, and has published in Harper’s Magazine, Foreign Affairs, Guernica Magazine, and Al Jazeera English, among others. Her work, and writings, can be found at

Dr. Dipali Mukhopadhyay is Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs and a faculty affiliate of the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies. She is the author of Warlords, Strongman Governors and State Building in Afghanistan (Cambridge, 2014) and is currently finishing a second book with Dr. Kimberly Howe (Tufts University) on rebel governance and foreign intervention in Syria. Prior to joining Columbia’s faculty, Mukhopadhyay spent 2011 as a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University. Mukhopadhyay’s research has been funded by the Carnegie Corporation, the Eisenhower Institute, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Harvard Law School, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Education. Her writings have been published in academic books and journals as well as by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Foreign Policy, Lawfare, U.S. Institute of Peace, U.S. News & World Report, and the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog. She is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor Mukhopadhyay received her doctorate from Tufts University’s Fletcher School in 2010 and her BA in political science magna cum laude from Yale University.

Dr. Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

Dr. Abu-Lughod’s work, strongly ethnographic and mostly based in Egypt, has focused on three broad issues: the relationship between cultural forms and power; the politics of knowledge and representation; and the dynamics of gender and the question of women’s rights in the Middle East. In a number of edited books, as well as my teaching, she has pursued these themes further to examine questions of gender and modernity in postcolonial theory, of anthropology and global media, and of violence national/cultural memory. She is currently focusing on critiques of the universalist claims of liberalism and on the ethical and political dilemmas entailed in the international circulation of discourses of human rights in general, and Muslim women’s rights in particular.

 Dr. Sonia Ahsan, Fellow at the Middle East Institute, Columbia University

Dr. Ahsan obtained her PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University in May 2015. Her dissertation entitled States of Honour: Sexual Ethics and the Politics of Promiscuity, critically engages the relationship between Islam, honour, and feminism through a historical and ethnographic study of a feminist movement in Afghanistan. From 2010 to 2012 she conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Afghanistan as an anthropological scholar. Her work has been funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation, A.M. Foundation Research Fellowship, Sheldon Scheps Fellowship for Research, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, and Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She has taught courses on Islam, Violence, Gender, and Film Theory, in the Anthropology department. In addition to teaching and research, she also worked as a Franz Boas Fellow in the Anthropology department of Columbia University. She has published “When Muslims Become Feminists” in Afghanistan’s Islam and “Engendering the Taliban” in Modern Afghanistan.

 Dr.Kanisha Bond, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland

Bond teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on terrorism, civil war, social movements and research methods. She is currently engaged in two large research projects. The first examines how power and identity politics influence the development and maintenance of security alliances among violent political organizations. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on this project’s activities in VSMOs based in Latin America (1940-2008), Africa (1950-2011), the United States (1940-2010) and Canada (1970-2010).

Ms. Roxani Krystalli- Ph.D Candidate, Tufts University

Roxani Krystalli is a PhD Candidate at The Fletcher School, where she is researching the politics of victimhood during transitions from violence, with a focus on the case of Colombia. Roxani has spent a decade working on issues of gender and violence in conflict areas and transitional contexts, including working with ex-combatants and victims of violence in Colombia, Guatemala, Uganda, Sudan, Mexico, Pakistan, and other areas in collaboration with international organizations and community-based groups. Her most recent project is a multi-country refugee research study, examining the moral and financial economies of forced migration, culminating in a series of publications on the Financial Journeys of Refugees.

Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton- Professor of Anthropology, University of California- Los Angeles

Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton is a professor of anthropology at the University of California-Los Angeles and Associate Dean in the Graduate Division. Her research focuses on youth, language, migration, politics, and identity.  Though her original training is in sociophonetics, she has conducted research among Latina girls involved in gangs, politicians in Town Hall meetings, children in school settings, and young adults playing videogames. She is the author of Homegirls: Language and Cultural Practice among Latina Youth Gangs.