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Abstract

Régine Michelle Jean-Charles’s Conflict Bodies: The Politics of Rape Representation in the Francophone Imaginary (2014) is a stunning first book by a dynamic scholar working at the intersection of Africana Studies, Human Rights Studies, and Feminist Studies, not to mention literary studies in French. Jean-Charles’s title “Conflict Bodies” gestures both to the context of "conflict zones" as identified by human rights institutions, and it also refers to how the body of the victim-survivor is at once one that has survived, but whose survival reinscribes the body with new subjectivities, subjectivities that are informed both by the extremely intimate, and by the vastly globalized. In other words, as the fictions, photo essays, memoirs, and cinema analyzed by Jean-Charles demonstrate, rape is not just more visible in the conflict zone, it is literally used as a weapon of war, wars that are officially recognized as such, and wars that take place under the auspices of "peacekeeping" missions. That is, the raped body is one that has recorded a specific “script of violence” (9), which has been generated not by any one perpetrator, but by “the epistemic violence of colonialism and postcolonialism” (Ibid.).

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