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Cynthia Enloe (born 1938) is a feminist writer and professor.



Born in 1938, Cynthia Enloe spent her early life on Long Island in a New York suburb. After completing her undergraduate education at Connecticut College in 1960 (which, Enloe reports in The Curious Feminist, had one of the highest rates amongst colleges in the American Northeast of married female students), she went on to earn an M.A. in 1963 and a Ph.D. in 1967 in political science at the University of California, Berkeley.[1]

Enloe currently serves as a professor in the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment at Clark University, Worcester. She is also the Director of Clark University’s Women Studies program and a frequent lecturer. In addition to serving as an editor for such scholarly journals as Signs and the International Feminist Journal of Politics, Cynthia Enloe has written nine books, mostly published by the University of California Press. Much of Enloe’s research centers on women’s place in national and international politics. Her books cover a wide range of issues encompassing gender-based discrimination as well as racial, ethnic and national identities.

Important Writings

In The Curious Feminist, Enloe pays particular attention to the effect of globalization on women’s labor and wage ratios. This book not only addresses women’s roles in economic markets, world conflicts, and power politics, but also shows Enloe’s particular interest in linking these themes to women’s everyday lives. She addresses themes similar to those in Bananas, Beaches, and Bases, but in this book she also discusses how she became interested in becoming a feminist. She asserts that curiosity as a feminist means that no woman’s life should be beyond the scope of her interest. She also focuses on the influence of American culture on women of other nations and scrutinizes the masculine aspects of such well-established organizations as the United Nations and the American military. Among other things, she explains that, though she views violence as fundamentally masculine, she does not view only men as perpetrators of violence.[2]

Bananas, Beaches, and Bases[3] presents sexism as a prevalent issue and gives readers a look at the history of such commonplace components of the modern world as the tourism industry. Enloe displays the links between women of different cultures during the 1800s. Enloe discusses colonialism in light of the typically-held perceptions of the masculine West and the feminine East. Discussing women from varied cultures, Enloe investigates how Muslim women, among others, felt compelled to validate their cultural practices in the face of Orientalism. This book argues that lack of understanding of foreign cultures and fascination with the differences in clothing and lifestyles of indigenous and colonial populations contributed to their continued subjugation.

In Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives Enloe elaborates upon the theme of militarization and how governments utilize women’s labor in the process of preparing for and fighting wars.[4]

Selected Other Writings

  • Contributor, International Relations Theory for the Twenty-First Century, Martin Griffiths, ed., USA: Routledge, 2007
  • "Conversation with Cynthia Enloe," in Signs. Summer, 2003.
  • "The Surprised Feminist," in Signs. Vol. 25, No. 4 (Summer 2000) 1023-1026.
  • The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War, Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1993 (published in Japanese, 1999); new ed. Berkeley & London, University of California Press, 2000 (published in Turkish, 2003).
  • Does Khaki Become You? The Militarization of Women's Lives, London, Pandora Press; San Francisco, Harper\Collins, 1988 (editions have been published in Finnish and Swedish).
  • Ethnic Conflict and Political Development, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1973 (repr. University Press of America, 1986).
  • Coeditor (with Wendy Chapkis) Of Common Cloth: Women in the Global Textile Industry, Amsterdam: Transnational Institute; Washington: Institute for Policy Studies, 1983.
  • Contributor, Loaded Questions: Women in Militaries, Wendy Chapkis, ed., Amsterdam: Transnational Institute; Washington: Institute for Policy Studies, 1981.
  • Ethnic Soldiers: State Security in Divided Societies, London: Penguin Books, 1980; Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980.
  • Police, Military, Ethnicity: Foundations of State Power, New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1980.
  • Coeditor (with Dewitt Ellinwood), Ethnicity and the Military in Asia, New Brunswick: Transition Books, 1980.
  • Coauthor (with Guy Pauker and Frank Golay), Diversity and Development in Southeast Asia: The Coming Decade, New York: McGraw-Hill and Council of Foreign Relations, 1977.
  • Coeditor (with Ursula Semin-Panzer), The Military, The Police and Domestic Order: British and Third World Experiences, London: Richardson Institute for Conflict and Peace Research, 1976.
  • The Comparative Politics of Pollution, New York: Longman's, 1975.
  • Multi-Ethnic Politics: The Case of Malaysia, Berkeley Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1970.


Research Profile for Cynthia Enloe Clark University website. (accessed March 27, 2007).

See also


  1. ^ Enloe, Cynthia. 2004. The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in The New Age of Empire. London: University of California Press, p. 158.
  2. ^ Enloe, The Curious Feminist, pg. 133.
  3. ^ Enloe, Cynthia. 2000. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  4. ^ Enloe, Cynthia. 2000. Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives. London: University of California Press, pg. 33.


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