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VCU Professor Jessica Trisko Darden to Lecture on Women and Nazi-Era War Crimes

Trisko-Darden-2023-Headshot-768x533 VCU Professor Jessica Trisko Darden to Lecture on Women and Nazi-Era War CrimesJessica Trisko Darden

On Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. in Sydney Lewis Hall Classroom B, Prof. Jessica Trisko Darden will give a lecture titled “Accountability for Women Accused of Nazi-Era Crimes.”

About the Lecture

Portrayed as helpless victims, women have long been seen as vulnerable in times of war. But what of the women who defy this characterization and seize moments of opportunity and power to commit horrific crimes? Some of the most heinous acts committed in the name of Nazism were perpetrated by women–young and old, single and married, mothers and childless–going about their everyday lives.

This lecture contends that the relationship between gender, race, and power in Nazi Germany gave rise to four different constellations of women war criminals: empowered perpetrators; subjected servants; opportunistic beneficiaries; and entangled victims. After the war, these women war criminals were judged by legal systems in a divided Germany that were themselves products of a gendered upheaval. Disparities in sentencing seen between men and women and between East and West can only be explained through keen attention to how gender norms allowed women to escape justice. The speaker will compare proceedings in Germany  to those in Israel and elsewhere to examine the transnational dynamics of these gendered disparities.

About the Speaker

Jessica Trisko Darden is Associate Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University and Founding Director of the (In)Security Lab. She is concurrently Director of the Security & Foreign Policy Initiative at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute and a Non-Resident Fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. Dr. Trisko Darden is the author of three books, Insurgent Women: Female Combatants in Civil Wars (Georgetown University Press, 2019), Women as War Criminals: Gender, Agency, and Justice (Stanford University Press, 2020) and Aiding and Abetting: US Foreign Assistance and State Violence (Stanford University Press, 2020). Her recent scholarly publications include articles in Social & Legal Studies, Women’s Studies International Forum, and Terrorism and Political Violence.