Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2013

Document Type



Women and Gender Studies

First Advisor

Celeste Montoya-Kirk


Despite research that has investigated the implications of the inclusion of FEMA into the DOHS, significant questions remain regarding the limitations and possibilities of a militarized emergency management sector. US approaches to security and military strategy are relevant in examining the nature of disaster policy following 9/11. This work investigates the compatibility of realism and aspects of strategic theory with feminist and gender disaster scholarship and the concept of vulnerability. This analysis shows that the militarized ideology that informs FEMA’s policies and the structure of the emergency management field is not fully equipped to meet the needs of communities in crisis. The militarization of disaster policy renews hierarchical gendered social orders and systems of power and dominance in emergency management institutions. These findings point to the need for more extensive research on theoretical frameworks that shape disaster policy, particularly by relying on feminist theory to better understand the far-reaching effects of militarization and the nature of disasters. Further, this work demonstrates the need to establish alternative ways of envisioning US security that strengthens community resilience to emergency events and the continued development of a feminist theorization of emergency management.