Contemporary historical and feminist literature has long contended that violence, militarism, and colonial rule are profoundly gendered. Sarah Zimmermann's Militarizing Marriage provides excellent empirical evidence on the topic and makes a compelling case for the instrumentality of African women to global French imperial ideology, conquest, and expansionism. Her study joins “a small field of works that address forced conjugal association, sexual violence, and female subjugation in colonial and postcolonial military histories of Africa” (5). With penetrating verve, Militarizing Marriage takes readers on a transnational, interracial tour of the sprawling process of gendered “militarization” in French colonial West Africa. Using soldiers’ conjugal traditions as analytical lenses, Zimmermann explores intersubjective relationships between gender, war, militarism, violence, and colonialism.

Her raw material is truly impressive: texts from twenty archival institutions located in six countries, sixty interviews with veterans, widows, and their adult children in Senegalese cities, Conakry, and Paris, and life histories in...

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