Course Materials for Women and War Bibliography

Query From Nicole van Os" 09 Nov 1998

Dear List Members,
For the Spring 1999 semester I am preparing an elective course for undergraduate students on the topic of Women and War. My plan is to spend the first half of the semester discussing specific topics related to the general subject (women and the military, women and pacifism, connection between military service and citizenship, sexuality, motherhood, women and work, etc.). The second half of the semester I want to use to have a look at specific wars through the eyes of women by using (preferably) women's writings (letters, diaries, witness accounts, memoirs, autobiographies, but also novels, poetry, etc.) The wars I want to include in this last part are the American Civil War, World War One (on which I am working myself), Turkish War of Independence (I will teach this course at a Turkish University), World War Two, Lebanon, Palestine & Israel, and Yugoslavia.

I have started to collect materials for the course (e.g. the ideas on novels related to wars in Europe in reaction to an earlier query), but my question to you, list members, is whether you have any ideas on interesting literature which I could use. I have worked out pretty much what I want to use in the second part of the semester, but especially for the first part of the semester I would be interested in your ideas. I should perhaps add that the language of instruction at our university is English and that students are unlikely to read more than 30-50 pages per class (twice a week), which is part of my problem. There are a lot of nice books, but I need preferably concise articles or chapters.

A more specific question is whether anybody knows whether and where I can get a video on women in Bosnia probably entitled Calling the Ghosts and which was aired on some tv station. Another video which was mentioned by Nira Yuval-Davis in her Gender & Nation and for which I am looking is on Bangladesh and entitled The War Crimes Files. The director or producer was Gita Sahga and it was broadcast on Channel 4 (UK) in May 1995.

I plan to send the final version of my syllabus to the list so that others can use it too.Thanks in advance.


Akhmatova, Anna (poet...WWI and II)Check translation of her selected poems is _You Will Hear The Thunder_ by D.M. Thomas. There is also a translation by Hemschmeyer of lesser known works.

Berggolts, Olga (poet in Leningrad during siege)_Post-War Russian Poetry_, ed by Daniel Weissbort..only translation I've found.

Byles, Joan _War, Women and Poetry, 1914-1945_

DePauw, Linda Grant _Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War From Prehistory to the Present_(Norman, Oklahoma: U of Oklahoma Press, 1998)

Higonnet, Margaret, et al. _Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars_ (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1987).

Klein, Yvonne _Beyond the Home Front_

Lorentzen, Lois Ann and Jennifer Turpin, Eds. _The Women and War Reader_(New York: NY U Pres, 1998)

Melman, Billie, Ed. _Borderlines: Gender and Identities in War and Peace_.

Other Suggestions:

From Jack Betterly I had two aunts who served in the Philippines, Hollandia, New Guinea, and Japan in WWII w/the Red Cross, and a sister who did the same in South Korea and Japan after the Korean ceasefire. I would encourage you to check out the vast number of women who served in the Red Cross.

Have you accessed the Women in Military Service Memorial in Washington, D.C.? They have compiled extensive archives. They have a website, I believe it is

In response to Nicole's query re: Women and War, I'm not sure which video on women in Bosnia she is referring to, but my dear friend Natasa Goronja in Sarajevo was part of a documentary which aired on U.S. TV and was narrated by Meryl Streep. You may contact her directly at: