Troubling Testimonies

Knowledge production through Yazidi women’s war narratives


Swedish Research Council

Project type



This research project addresses the puzzle of how knowledge of the gendered nature of war is produced and circulated. It will do so through analyzing testimonies of Yazidi women and girls who were abducted by ISIS in northern Iraq in 2014. Our aims are to: 1) collect, map and analyse Yazidi women’s testimonies about war, 2) analyse the role of individual agency in producing knowledge regarding the gendered nature of war, 3) trace how testimonies feed into the global knowledge of the gendered nature of war and how this knowledge is circulated, 4) theoretically advance the concept of narrative agency, 5) make a concrete contribution to policy-making and practice by developing a digital, ethical toolbox with methodological strategies to assist and safeguard women witnesses. We will construct an archive of empirical material based on published testimonies and transcripts from extended focus groups and partial life-narrative interviews. The archive will be the basis for our narrative analysis. In the first year we will develop a conceptual framework and collect published material. In the second year we will conduct empirical fieldwork and write up results in articles. In the third year we will write up results in a monograph and produce the ethical toolbox. The project will provide new insights into the gender dimensions of knowledge production about war, which is important in order to open new avenues towards the construction of a gender-just peace.

Annika Björkdahl, Professor Lunds universitet

Research area / geographic area

Social Sciences Gender Studies International Relations Political Science Global Development Studies Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society Social sciences Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Contract ID


Project time

2021 — 2023


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