Though the female fighter is often seen as an anomaly, women make up nearly 30% of militant movements worldwide. Drawing on her personal introduction to female fighters (her grandmother was a Tamil Tiger) and on nearly 20 years of conversations with female fighters from around the globe, a fuller picture of these women emerges.
Deepens our discussion around women, politics, and power: from Nancy Pelosi to the Squad to #MeToo, women in the U.S. have been entering public life in increasing numbers, considering the power of female anger, and protesting their treatment by powerful men. But what about women whose lives and communities have been directly impacted by political violence, and who must in turn consider violence as a form of resistance? Radicalizing Her argues for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the women who choose violence, and draws out the myriad of emotions that contribute to an evolving political consciousness over time.
Literary, theoretically informed, political: Structured as a series of narratives that explore the specific cultures, politics, and circumstances that led its protagonists to take up arms.
Author and activist with growing visibility: Gowrinathan has recently founded Adi Magazine, which is focused on rehumanizing foreign policy, and is well-connected in the progressive political, academic, and literary worlds. She has represented immigrant women seeking to gain entry to the United States in court, and is herself Tamil/Sri Lankan, from a family that fought with the Tamil Tigers and ultimately fled the civil war in Sri Lanka.
For readers of Rebecca Traister, Rebecca Solnit, and Brittany Cooper.
“A captivating, essential perspective on a neglected conversation.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“A seminal and original work of simply outstanding scholarship that will be met with substantial appreciation by both academia and the non-specialist general reader.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Nimmi Gowrinathan has a political imagination like no other. It is playful, yet profound; it is compelling, yet unimposing; it is unafraid of complexity, yet always pushing us toward clarity. With its agile prose and completely innovative form, this book gripped me from beginning to end, forever changing the way I understand how women emerge from layers of oppression and systematic state violence—and teach themselves how to fight back.”
—Valeria Luiselli, author of Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions
“Radicalizing Her stands out for its clear-eyed exploration of a little-understood human terrain. Talking with former female fighters, and writing in an intimate, often poetic style, Gowrinathan examines the relationship between women, power, and violence in a bracing, sometimes wrenching narrative. This is a book born out of a great degree of personal commitment, and the author deserves high praise for her persistence.”
—Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara
“Dr. Gowrinathan has spent two decades with women militants—and this brilliant, lyrical book is both a meditative engagement with the aftershocks of state violence and an explosive exercise in telling deeply uncomfortable truths about the gendered lens of our social outlook. This is the kind of book that will unravel your understanding of the world. Reading Gowrinathan is a rare treat: when she narrates a story, she is as gripping and lyrical as Arundhati Roy—when she presents her philosophical takeaways on violence, she is precise and incisive, the Hannah Arendt of our times.”
—Meena Kandasamy, author of When I Hit You