My Own Experience With War and Gender

By: Alexa Hernandez

This semester, I am in War and Gender with the famous Dr. Gallagher, which is an international affairs class. Every week or so, we have to turn in journals on ELC to discuss topics that we have discussed in class. We apply things from our daily lives with things we learn in class, and it gives us an opportunity to show what we know.

For my first week’s journal, I applied my War and Gender topic to another class! It is interesting how all my classes intersect. My first journal is as follows,

“This semester, I have had the opportunity to be a member of the Spring 2020 Richard B. Russell Security Leadership Program, which is just a bunch of fancy words for a class that discusses the important security problems that we see in the United States and in the world today. We are a class of fifteen students, and we are very opinionated. Last week in class, after we had discussed the Cohn reading previously in War and Gender, I began to see how the class was structured to favor those who knew the technostrategic language that was used by those in nuclear positions. Before the start of each class, we all discuss the various news reports that have come out since we last met. One story that has caught the attention of our class has been the drone strike that occurred in Iraq against Qasem Soleimani. As each new piece of information has come out about this event, the class inputs opinions about what will happen next. A popular speculation is about a nuclear retaliation from either Iran or the United States. Sure, Iran doesn’t currently have nuclear capabilities, but due to the JCPOA falling apart, they have begun enriching more uranium. With this discussion about nuclear capabilities, retaliation attacks, and a possible World War III, there have been a lot of words thrown around that I have no idea what they mean. As Cohn details in her article, this language that scholars use is full of acronyms and inferences that one just has to learn in order to belong to the group. This has played out in our class. Our professor is a retired Army soldier, so he knows many of these terms. He uses them to explain important factors of the strike to our class. Additionally, many of the men in our class know them as well, as they’ve probably grown up playing video games like Call of Duty or Halo. Women traditionally do not play video games. There are plenty of women in the cohort this year, however, many of us aren’t the ones discussing the problems with this nukespeak. I finally had to ask my professor to please spell out the acronyms, because I wanted to contribute! All is well now, but I thought it was interesting how our two classes intersected so early in the semester.”

I love both of these classes, and I am so excited to continue on with my semester. When these topics intersect, I believe that is when we really learn best.