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Conclusions: An All-Inclusive Military?

In the final seminar, we'll think about the relationship between the armed forces and American society at a time of profound ideological fracture. Our final discussion will range widely over material we've studied throughout the term, but it will also touch on two particularly contentious issues much in the spotlight over the last five years: women and the draft, and transgender people in the armed forces. I've assigned only one (very short!) reading in recognition of the fact that your policy papers are also due this week and our seminars are held on the penultimate day of term. But there are still participation points to be earned! So, do please come to this final session to share some concluding reflections on what we've individually and collectively learnt from the module.

Indicative seminar questions

  • Has the US military lead or lagged behind civil society in effecting more inclusive policies with regard to gender identity and sexuality?
  • Why do conservatives decry what they regard as attempts to use the military as a 'social experiment'?
  • In a progressive democratic society should women be subject to the draft along with male citizens?
  • What are the most striking and/or surprising things that you've learnt by taking this module?

Required reading:

Jacqueline E Whitt and Elizabeth A Perazzo, ‘The Military as Social Experiment: Challenging a Trope,’ Parameters 48, 2 (Summer 2018): 5-11

Further reading:

On women and the draft:

Elizabeth Farrington, 'Gender-Selective Service: The History and Future of Women and the Draft,' University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review 39 (2016-17)

Andrew J Haile, ‘Redrafting the Selective Service Act: Women and the Military Draft’, Elon University Law Legal Studies Research Paper (Aug. 2020)

Kara Dixon & Jacqueline Whitt, ‘The Gander and the Goose: Women and Selective Service Registration’, War Room, US Army War College podcast

Kara Dixon Vuic, ‘A Faulty Court Precedent on Selective Service Leaves the Last Legal Sex Discrimination in Place’, History News Network, July 4, 2021

On transgender service: 

White House, 'Executive Order on Enabling All Qualified Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform', Jan. 25, 2021,

Michelle Dietert and Dianne Dentice, 'The Transgender Military Experience: Their Battle for Workplace Rights,' Journal of Workplace Rights (April-June 2015): 1-12

M Elders et al., ‘Medical Aspects of Transgender Military Service’, Armed Forces & Society 41, 2 (Apr. 2015): 199-220

Morton G Ender, David E Rohall and Michael D Matthews, 'Cadet and Civilian Undergraduate Attitudes towards Transgender People: A Research Note', Armed Forces & Society 42, 2 (2016): 427-35

Matthew J Lang, ‘Examining the Trump Administration's Transgender Service Ban through an International Human Rights Law Framework’, Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy 25, 2 (2017): 249-70

Daniel C Lewis et al, ‘Public Attitudes on Transgender Military Service: The Role of Gender’, Armed Forces & Society 47, 2 (2021): 276-297

Victoria Manuel, ‘Trump’s Transgender Military Ban: Policy, Law and Litigation’, Tulane Journal of Law & Sexuality 75 (2020): 75-91

James E Parco, David A Levy & Sarah R Spears, ‘Transgender Military Personnel in the Post-DADT Repeal Era: A Phenomenological Study’, Armed Forces & Society 41, 2 (Apr. 2015): 221-242

Agnes Gereben Schaefer et al, Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve OpenlyLink opens in a new window (RAND corporation, 2016)

Adam F Yerke and Valory Mitchell, 'Transgender People in the Military: Don't Ask? Don't Tell? Don't Enlist!,' Journal of Homosexuality 60, 2-3 (2013): 436-57