Anthropologists and the War on Terror

Today’s New York Times features an article about anthropologists working for the army in Afghanistan. There is a great deal of controversy among anthropologists about whether they should cooperate with the government and one reason behind that reticence is a long history. We’ll be publishing David Price’s new book Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War in April 2008. Price, Associate Professor of Anthropology at St. Martin’s University, critically examines American anthropologists little known contributions to the Second World War, and considers the ethical issues raised by the use of anthropology in warfare. Price is a member of The Network of Concerned Anthropologists, a group mentioned in the Times piece. They are currently circulating a petition urging that anthropologists "should not engage in research and other activities that contribute to counter-insurgency operations in Iraq or in related theaters in the ‘war on terror.’" Price’s previous book, Threatening Anthropology, examined McCarthyism and anthropologists.

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