Slow and Fast Violence

A Feminist Critique of Binaries

  • Jenna Marie Christian Bucknell University
  • Lorraine Dowler The Pennsylvania State University
Keywords: slow violence, gender, violence, feminist gepolitics


Rob Nixon’s recent theorization of slow violence deliberates on specific forms of violence that unfold gradually and in unspectacular ways. However, discussions about the phenomenon that fall under slow violence are not new to the academy and echo the labor of feminist scholars who have for many years written about how violence is experienced in banal, everyday, intimate, and routinized ways. We argue that these Feminist traditions of analyzing violence are vital to touch on, because these contributions are largely overlooked in Nixon’s thesis. Further, this robust scholarship demonstrates how the invisibility of slow violence is shaped not only by its everyday nature, but also by larger gendered and raced epistemologies that privilege the public, the rapid, the hot, and the spectacular. We argue that a feminist epistemological approach to denaturalizing binaries can offer a deeper understanding of how the invisible nature of slow violence is shaped by ongoing gendered and raced epistemologies. Specifically, we believe that a feminist geopolitical framework aids in recognizing the co-constitution of fast and slow violence and engages new pathways that challenge impunity.

Author Biography

Lorraine Dowler, The Pennsylvania State University
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Department of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


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How to Cite
Christian, J., & Dowler, L. (2019). Slow and Fast Violence. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 18(5), 1066-1075. Retrieved from
Special Issue - Slow Violence (Guest Eds. Caitlin Cahill & Rachel Pain)