Author Archives: Keally McBride

About Keally McBride

Associate professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco. Her most recent book is an exploration of theories and practices of decolonization in the past hundred years, Political Theories of Decolonization: Postcolonialism and the Problem of Foundations (Oxford, 2011), which was co-authored with Margaret Kohn. She is now investigating British colonial legacies in the realm of law, including a study of policing in India and land rights in Sierra Leone.

The Gendering of Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan

The authors argue that looking at the gendering of counterinsurgency in Afghanistan provides insight into the assumptions, strategies, and anxieties about U.S. involvement in this particular war. One sees in the gendering of counterinsurgency, exemplified most strikingly in the deployment of female engagement teams, an attempt to reframe U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan as a humanitarian, even progressive, mission. Gendering counterinsurgency efforts as a gentler (feminine) option helps to sell the current campaign to a war-weary audience in the U.S. (and allied countries). It is also a way of marking U.S. civilizational superiority—and the attention lavished upon women soldiers deployed in Afghanistan is a significant aspect of this gendered narrative.