Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Vivek Sharma

Reader 2

Melinda Herrold-Menzies

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© 2016 Allison A Donine


In geographically vulnerable and politically unstable regions such as Sri Lanka, I argue that linking natural hazards and climate-induced disasters to existing social issues is more pressing than ever. In the case of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, it was impossible to dissociate the two. Looking though the lens of distress, in conflict and environmental disaster, this thesis explores how women have transformed moments of victimization into opportunities for resistance and agency. This thesis examines the following questions: Within the geo-political context of Sri Lanka, how does social stress (human-made or environmental) produce conflict and resistance to patriarchal traditions along gender lines? What gaps do women-led groups and coalitions fill in responding to the needs of women in conflict and post-disaster landscapes? And how has the public participation of women in armed conflict and female-led coalitions provided space for transgressive agency to redefine traditional expectations? I argue that a greater understanding of the ways in which women are resisting their construction as partial citizens during sustained periods of crisis can provide insight to their organizational capacities and role in shaping female identities.