31 May 2011

Mission Accomplished

Seven months after the end of the war, acclaimed BBC journalist and filmmaker Sean Langan (BEHIND THE LINES, TRAVELS OF A GRINGO) takes a trip through Iraq, seeking to shed light on the current situation. Langan witnesses insurgent attacks first-hand, survives a "mob frenzy," secures secret meetings with hooded resistance fighters, and obtains footage of a suicide bomber's preparations and attack on a bridge manned by U.S. soldiers. The result is a stirring account of just how far the U.S. and allied forces were from a true proclamation in Iraq of "Mission Accomplished."

Gaza: A Story of a War (Palestinian Documentary)

A STORY OF A WAR is a compelling documentary produced by a Palestinian company, MediaTown, focusing on the Israeli war against Gaza in late 2008-early 2009, that deserves enormous credit and wide dissemination.

28 May 2011

The Militarization and Securitization of the Canadian University

Here are some links to pages worthy of note, on the securitization and militarization of the Canadian university, and how priorities for research are being reoriented to surveillance at home and intervention abroad, realigning academic research with the imperatives of the national security state and not with the broader public that funds our universities. As AJP comes across more resources, we will consolidate these for readers and interested colleagues, with a specific focus on Canadian universities. In the meantime, please visit our Documents and Library pages for more resources that are relevant.

"The hottest postsecondary field? Intelligence: Demand is so high, universities simply cannot keep up," by Jeff Sallot, The Globe and Mail, 01 January 2007:
"...Once considered an arcane branch of Cold War-era political science, security and intelligence studies now attracts interest from historians, sociologists -- even engineers trying to design structures that might become terrorist targets. At least 10 Canadian universities offer courses dealing with security and intelligence issues....The U.S. government's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks resulted in the allocation of billions of dollars for intelligence and security agencies. The spillover is felt at American colleges and universities that have been able to start new courses and programs. The Department of Homeland Security finances faculty positions at 'centres of excellence' at six universities and 23 partner universities....Ottawa has also allocated considerable sums for security in recent years, but academics in Canada say they aren't seeing the same kind of benefit as their American colleagues...."
"Canada Boost Intelligence," Canadian Press, 04 February 2007:
"As universities struggle to meet the growing post-9-11 demand for courses in security and intelligence, Canada's spy agency has revved up recruiting efforts to fill positions soon to be vacated by retiring baby boomers."
"It’s All About the People: Cultural Intelligence (CQ) as a Force Multiplier in the Contemporary Operating Environment," by Emily Spencer (University of Northern British Columbia), in Journal of Conflict Studies,Vol. 29, 2009:

Counterinsurgency within "the national domain":
"16 Within the domestic realm there are a number of audiences that are critical for the Canadian Forces to fully understand — each with its specific beliefs, values, and attitudes and, consequently, behaviors. The first target domestic audience is the general Canadian public itself. Understanding Canadian beliefs, values, and attitudes is critically important for a number of reasons. First, public confidence and support is crucial for the continuing vitality of the CF. The 'decade of darkness' of the 1990s, when a series of scandals eroded governmental and public confidence and support in the CF, demonstrated the danger of losing touch with Canadian societal sensitivities and beliefs in such basic concepts as accountability, integrity, and transparency. This erosion in CF support impacted the Department of National Defence (DND) and the CF in a myriad of ways from budgetary support to recruiting and the ability to investigate and regulate itself as an autonomous profession. In essence, public support engenders political support, which can lead directly to credibility and trust, which in turn leads to freedom of action. Indeed, continuing Canadian participation in Afghanistan is directly tied to public sentiment and support.

"17 A 'cultural' comprehension of the general Canadian public also has an impact on recruiting. An understanding of what is important to Canadians, and what triggers their commitment and support, is key to developing the necessary approaches to attract young Canadians to join the CF. If the public understand the CF and its members, if there is a deep-rooted connection between them and the CF, particularly its mission and importance to national security, temporary crises or scandals will be less traumatic and have a shorter lasting effect.

"18 Finally, a cultural understanding of the general Canadian public is an important source of information. As the threat to Western societies grows through both the interconnected globalized world and through radicalization of home-grown terrorists through the internet or simply from domestic disenfranchised elements, the CF will increasingly be called on to assist law enforcement agencies (LEA) in a domestic context. As such, understanding what is important to Canadians from a cultural, ideological, and/ or attitudinal perspective will be critical for ensuring active support of the CF and equally to prevent alienation, passivity, or even active resistance while assisting LEAs in Canada."
The same article also evaluates the utility of the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System (HTS) for its possible lessons for Canadian cultural counterinsurgency. For more along those lines, see the next item:

CANADIAN FORCES COLLEGE / COLL√ąGE DES FORCES CANADIENNES - JCSP 34 / PCEMI 34 - MASTER OF DEFENCE STUDIES PAPER - From the Physical to the Cognitive: The Changing Nature of the Army in Post-Modern Operations. By /par Maj C.W. Kean, 25 April 2008:
"The Human Terrain System (HTS) is an innovative method of gaining an appreciation for and understanding of the cultural aspects that shape different perspectives within a given society. When properly implemented, the Human Terrain System (HTS) helps clarify previous assumptions or gaps in understanding that had plagued the Army in previous years. This tool allows the commander and his or her staff the ability to visualize the complexity of the social systems within their area of operations so that they are more capable of understanding root causes of conflict and conceptualizing possible second and third-order consequences of their actions. It further allows the commander and his staff the ability to better understand the situation from the perspective of the population and potential adversaries." (page 55)

The Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society, at the University of New Brunswick:
Our strengths: Internationally recognized faculty specializing in peacekeeping, modern stability building, terrorism, intelligence and military and naval history...
The Journal of Conflict Studies, from the Gregg Centre (above):
Topics Include:
  • revolutionary or civil war
  • guerrilla warfare
  • terrorism
  • counter-insurgency and counter-terror operations
  • propaganda and psychological warfare
  • intelligence activities
  • media coverage of such conflict
  • peacekeeping
  • foreign/military policy
  • strategic studies as they relate to the field
Canadian Intelligence Resource Centre: Academic Community and Research Groups

Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies--see links to ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

"Keeping tabs on the world of terrorism," by Donna Jacobs, The Ottawa Citizen, 11 September 2006--a profile of Carleton University's Professor Martin Rudner.

2010 CASIS International Conference--The Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies (CASIS) held their annual conference in Ottawa from October 14th to 15th. The theme of this year's conference was "Understanding National Security". This session on October 14th was on "The Toronto 18 and Radicalization in Canada" and featured presentations by Mubin Shaikh (a former undercover agent in the Toronto 18 investigation), Michael King (Department of Psychology at McGill University) and Stewart Bell (senior reporter for the National Post).

2009 CASIS International Conference--From October 29th to 31st, 2009, the 2009 CASIS International Conference was held in Ottawa. The theme of this year's conference was "Terrorism, Cyberspies and a New ‘Cold’ War: Emerging Challenges for Security and Intelligence." In the fourth panel discussion on October 30th, 2009, government analysts, scholars and independent researchers participated in a roundtable on radicalization and extremism.

27 May 2011

After Western Hegemony: Social Science and its Publics

Notification follows of a conference that is very close to some of the key aims and concerns of AJP:

After Western Hegemony: Social Science and its Publics

The last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the new century have witnessed world historical developments that point to the beginning of the end of what might be called the colonization of minds and cultures. Ideas and practices associated with the modern West have been critiqued for long, viewed with suspicion, and rejected, rightly or wrongly, in the past. But never before has the impact of this critique been profound enough to launch a transformation in the social and political imaginary of large numbers of people in the world. A new historical dynamics appears to have been set in motion and a space has emerged for new cultural and civilizational encounters. This may entail greatly increased potentials for equality between human beings in different regions of the world but perhaps also the emergence of new structures and spaces of hegemony.

The beginning of the end of the hegemony of mainstream Western intellectual traditions may therefore be the right moment to reflect about the relationship of the social sciences to this transformation. How have the social sciences shown an awareness of adaptation to these world historical changes? Is social science still shot through with assumptions of Western modernities? To what extent, if any, may such assumptions still be justified and to what extent are they amenable to rethinking and rearticulation and to what extent will they have to be discarded?

Is ethnocentrism still inscribed in the most basic categories of social science? If so, what can be done to transform this condition? How can social science become trans-cultural or global? What, after Western hegemony, is or should be the internal structure of social science? What should it be for? And for whom? What are the conditions, in particular the institutional contexts, in which it best flourishes, both in the North and the South, and achieves a form of decolonization beneficial to all? What has been and should be the ethics underlying it?

This broader context also gives us the opportunity to raise several other issues. What are the various ways in which social sciences relate to states, markets, wider public spheres and to social and political movements? What is the relationship between social scientific knowledge and forms of knowledge produced in other arenas? How are social scientific skills to be taught at schools and colleges, in universities and research institutes? How is the birth of ideas and insights affected by the academization and professionalization of collective self-knowledge? Which factors, structural or motivational, impinge adversely on the social sciences? In which ways does the language in which social science is carried out –literally the language in which social scientists read, speak and write – affect the content of social sciences?

Questions? Please contact iis2012@iisoc.org

17 May 2011

Militarizing Anthropology (Culture, Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall 2008, pps. 6-10)

"Social Scientist on a camel!"--photo and caption by the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System

By Maximilian C. Forte
Associate Professor
Sociology & Anthropology, Concordia University

Originally published in the newsletter of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)--click here if the link does not work.
“While many anthropologists express concerns about disciplinary ties to military and intelligence organizations,contemporary anthropology has no core with which to either sync or collide and there are others in the field who openly (and quietly) support such developments.”
--David Price, anthropologist, author of Anthropological Intelligence (March 12 / 13, 2005, Counterpunch)
“As one HTT [Human Terrain Team] member said, ‘One anthropologist can be much more effective than a B-2 bomber – not winning a war, but creating a peace one Afghan at a time’.”
--Website of the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System

For close to two years now American anthropology has witnessed heated debate concerning the embedding of anthropologists in counterinsurgency missions in Iraq and Afghanistan under the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System. Much of the debate has centred on the ethical issues of secret research, informed consent, confidentiality of informants, and the requirement to do no harm.

Critics have argued, among many points, that social scientists are being used to better refine targeting, given that the Assistant Undersecretary of Defense, John Wilcox, noted: “the human terrain enables the global kill chain.” Recruits receive at least $300,000 per annum when in the field, a major incentive for some, even if two social scientists (both PhD students) have been killed (one from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, the other from a suicide bomber in Iraq).

The American Anthropological Association's Executive Board issued a statement critical of embedding anthropologists in counterinsurgency teams, followed by a broad final report still critical of HTS, and very recently a call to all members to consider a complete revision of the entire Code of Ethics of the association.

Up until July of this year (2008), this debate seemed to be largely confined to American anthropology, and to the Human Terrain System, even when several other U.S. government programs recruit anthropologists and other social scientists in espionage and national security research, such as the National Security Education Program (NSEP), the Intelligence Community Scholars Program (ICSP), and the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP), the latter instituted with the support and guidance of Felix Moos, anthropologist at the University of Kansas. Moreover, even the principles and mechanisms behind the Human Terrain System have been incorporated in newly expanded designs for the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), and its Latin American and Caribbean Command (SOUTHCOM), to better penetrate local cultures and expand the nature of U.S. military presence in those regions, in part with the aid of social science research.

"Sometimes it gets kinetic," reads the caption to this photo from the Human Terrain System


While in 1988 a CIA spokeswoman bragged that they had enough professors on their payroll to staff a large university, since 2001 this collaboration has grown further: as David Price noted, “many institutions are cultivating closer relations with intelligence agencies. New campus intelligence consortia are forming. Most of these are organizations like the National Academic Consortium for Homeland Security…which aligns research and teaching at member institutions with the requirements of Bush’s war on terror” (“CIA Skullduggery in Academia: Carry On Spying,” Counterpunch, May 21 / 22, 2005).

Suddenly, however, with the implementation of the Pentagon’s new Minerva program, the import and impact of the militarization of the social sciences has now widened considerably even beyond these areas of concern, and beyond the social sciences in the U.S.


As of the end of July, the U.S. Department of Defense formally instituted what it calls the Minerva Research Initiative, and is now accepting grant proposals. In the DoD’s Broad Agency Announcement (W911NF-08-R-0007) outlined the following five areas of investigation that it supports:

(1) Chinese Military and Technology Research and Archive Programs;
(2) Studies of the Strategic Impact of Religious and Cultural Changes within the Islamic World;
(3) Iraqi Perspectives Project;
(4) Studies of Terrorist Organization and Ideologies; and,
(5) New Approaches to Understanding Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation.

The DoD awards will be paid out to universities, and will range from $500,000 to $3 million (US) per annum, with the average award estimated at $1.5 million per annum.

What is important to note, besides the size of the awards and the nature of national security research that is being promoted, is that foreign universities and foreign researchers are also encouraged to participate: “This MRI competition is open to institutions of higher education (universities) including DoD institutions of higher education and foreign universities, with degree-granting programs in social sciences. Participation by foreign universities either as project lead or in a supporting role is encouraged” (p. 4).

Military reviewers and government employees are looking specifically for proposals that are relevant to Pentagon goals. The focus of areas (2) and (4) is to “elucidate the relationships amongst social, cultural, political, religious and economic factors that interact to foster political violence, terrorism or insurgent behavior” (p. 17). The Pentagon notes the following disciplines as “relevant”: “anthropology, economics, political science, sociology, social and cognitive psychology, and computational science.”

This project also calls on academics to themselves identify an organization or an ideology as “terrorist” without providing any guidelines or list of suggested organizations and ideologies. Surveillance is intended, over the long term, and anthropologists are specifically called upon, as “the relevance of context and situation may require field research” (p. 20).

The effort is aimed at studying “behaviour networks, groups, and communities over time” with an “urgent need” to locate terrorist organizations and populations sympathetic to them. “Especially helpful to the Department of Defense,” the document states, is, understanding where organized violence is likely to erupt, what factors might explain its contagion, and how to circumvent its spread.

Research on belief formation and emotional contagion will provide cultural advisors with better tools to understand the impact of operations on the local population. This research should also contribute to countermeasures to help revise or influence belief structures to reduce the likelihood of militant cells forming.(p. 21)

Recently, the National Science Foundation has partnered with the Pentagon in vetting applications for Minerva funds, submitted through the NSF. For some, including the Executive of the American Anthropological Association which announced its “pleasure” in seeing the NSF conduct peer review of applications submitted to NSF’s $8 million share of Minerva’s overall budget of $50 million, the NSF seal of approval seemed important in ensuring independence from the Pentagon, despite the fact that the Pentagon devised, structured, and funded the program. There were even some early suggestions that the NSF and the Pentagon would sign a memorandum of understanding that allowed the NSF to allocate the funds in a way that researchers who won grants could turn down any funding that came directly from the Pentagon. But as David Glenn of the Chronicle of Higher Education explained, there is no allowance for researchers to turn down DoD funding. The DoD may offer to supplement the funding of NSF funded projects of interest to it, and only in that situation would a researcher, in receipt of a NSF award, be allowed to decline additional DoD funding.

The National Science Foundation’s Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences released its calls for applications under the title, “Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict, and Cooperation (NSCC).” Full proposals are being sought for a deadline of October 30, this year. Projects will be jointly reviewed by the NSF and the Pentagon, and funded by the Pentagon.

Thus far there has been no public discussion by either the NSF or the AAA about the ethics of Minerva projects. For example, one of the areas of research for which applications are invited is titled the “Iraqi Perspectives Project.” Part of the description of the background of this research field reads as follows:
In the course of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a vast number of documents and other media came into the possession of the Department of Defense. The materials have already been transferred to electronic media and organized. Yet these comprise only a small part of the growing declassified archive and its potential, combined with the open literature. This continuing collection offers a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary scholarship combined with research in methods and technologies for assisting scholarship in automated analysis, organization, retrieval, translation, and collaboration (p. 19).
The Chronicle of Higher Education in an article on July 1, 2008, titled “Controversy Continues to Dog the Deal to Move Iraqi Archives to Hoover Institution” speaks of seven million documents being moved to Stanford University, to a conservative think tank housed there (the Hoover Institution). This has been done over and against the protests of the Director of the Iraqi National Library and Archives who has demanded the return of Iraq’s documents. Foreign scholars are being called upon to write Iraqi history for the Iraqis, while denying the data to Iraqis themselves.

Broader problems stem from the thinking that structures the fields of study as outlined by the Pentagon. Like its British counterpart and predecessor, the Economic and Social Research Council’s “Global Uncertainties: Security for All in a Changing World” (and its precursors), Islam is the primary target of Minerva, as a source of violence and radicalization to be monitored and penetrated by academic fieldworkers.

As David Price argued, “Minerva doesn’t appear to be funding projects designed to tell Defense why the U.S. shouldn’t invade and occupy other countries; its programs are more concerned with the nuts and bolts of counterinsurgency, and answering specific questions related to the occupation and streamlining the problems of empire” (“Inside the Minerva Consortium: Social Science in Harness,” Counterpunch, June 24, 2008). Hugh Gusterson has also argued that the effect of these multiple military funded social science programs is to weaponize culture:
"When research that could be funded by neutral civilian agencies is instead funded by the military, knowledge is subtly militarized and bent in the way a tree is bent by a prevailing wind. The public comes to accept that basic academic research on religion and violence “belongs” to the military; scholars who never saw themselves as doing military research now do; maybe they wonder if their access to future funding is best secured by not criticizing U.S. foreign policy; a discipline whose independence from military and corporate funding fueled the kind of critical thinking a democracy needs is now compromised; and the priorities of the military further define the basic terms of public and academic debate. (“The U.S. Military's Quest to Weaponize Culture,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 20 June 2008).

In approving of NSF peer review of Minerva grants, a letter from AAA President Setha Low to the U.S. Office of Budget and Management states very simply: “We believe that it is of paramount importance for anthropologists to study the roots of terrorism.” Going further, a July press release from the NSF quoted David Lightfoot, assistant director of NSF’s Social, Behavioral and Economic (SBE) Sciences Directorate as saying:
To secure the national defense was one of the original missions we were given when we were chartered in 1950. We’ve always believed that sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists, through basic social and behavioral science research, could benefit our national security. In fact, we’ve always done so through various research projects. The MOU [Memorandum of Understanding with the Pentagon] gives us another tool and more resources to do what we’ve always done well.

As mentioned, the Pentagon is inviting foreign researchers and their universities to participate in the Minerva program. Conditions in Canada seem ripe for its spread here, given Canada’s own intervention in Afghanistan and the government’s collaboration with the U.S.’ “global war on terror,” and the relative paucity of social science research funding. A minority can hope to win a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and even fewer will ever get a grant close to the maximum of $250,000 spread over three years. Canada Research Chairs, fewer in number but with more funding, still cannot compete with the massive amount offered by Minerva, whose maximum grant is 12 times higher than the maximum offered by SSHRC to a researcher. With greater pressure from university administrations to secure more and more research funds, from all possible sources, it is just a matter of time before we find Minerva advertised by our own campus research offices, and taken up by researchers here.

Canadian anthropology is not insulated from its American partner. Many Canadian anthropologists, if not most, also belong to the AAA, and travel to the U.S. for annual meetings of the AAA and/or its member associations. We share the same space on editorial boards of journals. We often jointly organize conferences between CASCA and the American Ethnological Society (AES). Some Canadian departments are modeled on the American four-field system. Prominent faculty in anthropology have served both in Canada and the U.S. We have undergraduates from the U.S., and a good number of our graduates earning degrees in anthropology in the U.S. We use the AAA’s code of ethics and its case studies as part of our teaching materials. We read and adopt texts by our American colleagues, published in the U.S.

Though the list could continue, one could add that given the dominance of American anthropology worldwide, even if none of the preceding were true this fact alone would ensure an eventual impact on how our discipline is reproduced, presented to the wider world, and received (if at all).


We can unwittingly or unwillingly collaborate with the U.S. intelligence regime in other ways as well. There is the possibility that both travel and open access publishing could jeopardize the wellbeing of our collaborators. Those who travel to, or through the U.S., can have all of their printed and electronic documents seized, scanned and copied, thus breaching any promised confidentiality, as a result of a new Department of Homeland Security program.

Indeed the same applies for the U.K. Given that these two countries often serve as gateways to the countries to which anthropologists travel in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, it means we can no longer, in good conscience, make any vows to maintain confidentiality. That also puts us in conflict with our own campus ethics review panels, which also jeopardizes the tenure of our grants.

The U.S. military has also instituted Intelink-U, and “distance drilling” that involves providing U.S. intelligence with up to 85% of its information requirements from open access materials on the Web. Everything we do, and whatever we do next as anthropologists, will have to take these broader realities into account, and we need to immediately start thinking of our individual and collective responses.

13 May 2011

From the AJP Symposium at CASCA 2011: The Anthropology of Militarism/The Militarization of Anthropology

The Anthropology of Militarism/The Militarization of Anthropology
By Maximilian C. Forte
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Concordia University

Paper presented at the symposium by Anthropologists for Justice and Peace, “Paths Out of Empire: Anthropologies of Resistance and Prefiguration,” at the conference of the Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA), Fredericton NB, Canada, 11 May 2011.

Download the formatted, printable PDF

Taking up the challenges posed by Hugh Gusterson, for anthropology to become more cognizant of how militarism often shapes research topics and field sites, and to make militarism a subject of theoretical and empirical inquiry as much as colonialism or post-colonialism have been, we examine what an anthropology of militarism would encompass, and what its methods and aims should be. However, we couple this with scrutiny of the militarization of anthropology as one of the current reincarnations of anthropological support for empire, rendering anthropology one of the front-lines in the confrontation with militarism. We examine the import of diffused, outsourced modes of enlisting support and service to empire by contracting service for military goals. If no one in the world is untouched by militarism, we need to understand the nature of that “touching” and its limits, and here anthropologists can speak as insiders.

“When the university turns away from its central purpose and makes itself an appendage to the Government, concerning itself with techniques rather than purposes, with expedients rather than ideas, dispensing conventional orthodoxy rather than new ideas, it is not only failing to meet its responsibilities to students; it is betraying a public trust.”--J. William Fulbright (see also AJP, 2011).

The speaker in that opening quote is not a Maoist, a Leninist anti-imperialist, or an anarchist, but rather U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright. He wrote those words at a time, such as this, of the U.S. transforming itself into a military nation, where war becomes an end in itself, and where the distance between patriotism and militarism has been blurred to the extent that they fuse into one, producing bellicose jingoism.

In a context of increased militarization of relations between nations, with the resort to military intervention having become seemingly both easy and immediate, an option of first resort, where defence contractors consume ever larger portions of national budgets, and where ideologies of intervention, and even old narratives of conquest, have become normalized, it is important that analysts such as Hugh Gusterson (2007) issue a challenge to us in calling for an anthropology that is more cognizant of how militarism often shapes research topics and field sites. He argues that militarism ought to be a subject of theoretical and empirical inquiry as much as colonialism or post-colonialism have been. I want to add a challenge to his, not creating a dual challenge however, rather one that is essentially a unitary effort. This is where we would scrutinize the militarization of anthropology. In confronting militarist ideologies and militarized practice, we can speak as insiders. Therefore an anthropology of militarism can at least begin with an understanding of our own militarization, how we support it, or resist it, or silently abide by the multidimensional impacts of militarism and militarization in conditioning, influencing, and shaping not just our fields of study, but our valuation by the authorities as a useful counterinsurgency discipline. In broader terms, we would be looking at institutional anthropology as a particular mode of knowledge production indicative of a Western way of consuming and controlling non-Western others.

Gusterson holds that “no one in the world today is untouched by militarism” and that “militarism is integral to global society today” (2007, p. 156), and rather than provide a definition, he produces a spectrum of manifestations of militarism that can be taken as the foundation of a working definition. He says that militarism “can be seen around the world in the presence of standing armies, paramilitaries, and military contractors; the stockpiling of weaponry; burgeoning state surveillance programs; the colonization of research by the national security state; the circulation of militarized imagery in popular culture...and [quoting Lutz] 'the shaping of national histories in ways that glorify and legitimate military action'” (2007, p. 156), and we could add here the global proliferation of roughly a thousand U.S. military installations. Note that he also mentions the reshaping of research priorities to suit the national security state.

Opening up to the kind of challenge which I want to add, Gusterson notes that “war and militarism have stood in the same kind of relationship to anthropology as has colonialism” (2007, p. 156). His primary complaint is that anthropologists have not only written little about contemporary wars and international relations, they have written even less about their own relations with the national security state (Gusterson, 2007, p. 156). This is truly remarkable, given the bedrock for anthropology in the Indian Wars in the U.S., how World War I created the conditions for Malinowski's work in the Trobriand Islands, how Ruth Benedict's classic on Japanese character was a perfect example of anthropological work commissioned by the national security state, how other American anthropologists worked as administrators in Japanese internment camps, and how during the early decades of the Cold War most anthropologists learned to either not ask the wrong questions, where the state was concerned, or avoided areas engulfed in war, and yet showed strong interest for research that was oriented toward serving the national security state, such as national character studies and area studies. This was largely the imperial condition of anthropology at least until the 1960s—and while some will point to Franz Boas' certainly courageous effort to denounce anthropologists working as spies during World War I, one wonders if they can recall that this stance also earned him a lifetime censure by the American Anthropological Association, an organization he helped to found, and that the censure was only lifted in 2005, that is, after 86 years (AAA, 2005).

One side of this new challenge calls for anthropological work on militarism that at least equals what we have for capitalism, colonialism, and globalization (Gusterson, 2007, p. 165). The cynic in me says that should not be too hard, since we do not have that much in socio-cultural anthropology, at least when it comes to colonialism and capitalism—indeed, there are very few courses taught in either of these areas in North American anthropology, and the first time an article about colonialism appeared in an anthropology journal, it was already 1972, well after a wave of formal decolonization had begun, and it was not authored by an anthropologist (Horvath, 1972). Gusterson says that what we need is “a set of texts that analyze militarism in relation to nationalism, late modern capitalism, media cultures, and the state while mapping the ways in which militarism remakes communities, public cultures, and the consciousness of individual subjects in multiple geographic and social locations” (2007, p. 165), a program with which I fully agree, even if I think that such a challenge transcends disciplinary boundaries, just as it has with how anthropologists have studied capitalism, nationalism, and so forth.

The other side of the joint endeavor that I mentioned, is aimed at better understanding the instrument which is seeking to produce this knowledge about militarism, that is, a project that also focuses on how institutionalized and professionalized anthropology is itself one of those entities that fits in with capitalism, the state, and the national security establishment, either very directly at first, or in reaction against it (at least by some, from the late 1960s onwards), and how new compromises and new silences are being made in the present that accommodate the domestic penetration of the national security state and the constant warfare abroad along with calls that amount to a humanitarian imperialist mission for countries such as Canada. In this regard it's important to remember what David Price, another prominent researcher and critic of anthropology's ties to the national security state, has to say about anthropology, that, “while many anthropologists express concerns about disciplinary ties to military and intelligence organizations, contemporary anthropology has no core with which to either sync or collide and there are others in the field who openly (and quietly) support such developments” (Price, 2005, ¶ 10). To put it simply, rather than constantly externalizing, and pleading innocent, an anthropology of militarism ought to start at home first, the location we are most familiar with, serving as the institutional and intellectual context of our research efforts, and that we should first begin by understanding the militarization of anthropology since it offers us an intimate angle on the pervasive spread of militarism, and of the ethos of counterinsurgency and pacification.

The idea here is that anthropology is itself one of the actors in the setting which it aims to understand. Inspired by John Murra, Frank Salomon argues that “Instead of claiming innocence by virtue of Third World solidarity, or of objectivity, or of theoretical transcendence, anthropologists should recognize themselves as players put haphazardly into a world of dangerous power and do something good with that situation” (2007, p. 794). One would therefore think that it would be a valuable option to have anthropology translate its state of being for a wider audience, for those whom it has previously used for research, to explain how we have been, and still can be, used as the eyes, ears, advisers, and policy planners of the imperial state. Doing something good with our situation, as Salomon puts it, might mean better equipping marginalized and subordinated communities and persons to understand the operations of the state and the knowledge-production industries in seeking to keep them under surveillance and to control their lives. One would think this would be the maximum ethical position to take, and not one where ethics are minimally constrained to mere operations, such as informed consent for interviews.

In the U.S. the major recent effort to militarize anthropology, one that is ongoing, and that reportedly may be replicated by the Canadian Defence Forces (AJP, 2010a; Bertuca, 2010, ¶ 6-7), is the U.S. Army's Human Terrain System (see Forte, 2011a), which embeds academics in counterinsurgency units, to gather cultural intelligence, map social networks, assist in psychological operations, and try to “win hearts and minds.” Should plans to reproduce this in Canada go ahead in the near future, just imagine the possibilities, with over 400 PhD students currently in anthropology (Forte, 2010a, ¶ 1), and an academic job market that might absorb the tiniest fraction of them, and even then mostly as part-time instructors. In the U.S., the salary for a HTS employee exceeds $200,000 per year when deployed (Forte, 2011a, p. 150). This is just one example, but there is also the Minerva Research Initiative, where the Pentagon funds research projects of direct relevance and applicability to U.S. national security, especially where identifying undefined “terrorist” networks, ideologies, and communities amenable to hosting terrorists are concerned, and how to counter them (DoD, 2008, p. 20). Minerva is also open to funding Canadian researchers (DoD, 2008, p. 4), and is now funding Patrick Barclay at the University of Guelph, for a project on the manipulation of group threats (see IU, 2009), and funds the work of at least one anthropologist as well. Compared to SSHRC's Standard Research Grants of $250,000 maximum to cover a three-year period, or a Canada Research Chair, which is a little over $1 million for five years, Minerva can pay up to $3 million for one year (DoD, 2008, p. 4), and one recipient has won a $10 million grant (Forte, 2009asee also Forte, 2009b) to cover three years. In terms of a broader picture, we have to keep in mind that the Pentagon may be the single largest employer of anthropologists anywhere, employing 532 persons with anthropology degrees, including 58 with a PhD (Forte, 2011b). In addition, programs such as HTS have identified universities as the best training grounds for their candidates (Forte, 2011b), rather than the military's own in-house training, and this is just one program. David Price and others have identified several intelligence programs that fund the university education of young students, with the contractual obligation that they serve the CIA, or other intelligence units (there are in excess of 1,000 of them—see Priest & Arkin, 2010), without disclosing their intelligence ties to either other students or professors. And beyond formal programs, General David Petraeus encourages all academics to act as the eyes and ears of the Pentagon when traveling abroad (Mazzetti, 2010). Even those who do not serve in HTS itself, such as the Bowman Expeditions of the American Geographic Society, financed by the Pentagon, we saw the uploading of GIS and other sensitive personal data from southern Mexico into shared military intelligence databases (Forte, 2010b).

The militarization of academia in Canada is not at all far behind the U.S., even if we do not yet see the same degree of incorporation of anthropology into the national security establishment. Most large Canadian universities receive research funding from the Department of National Defence, and in particular the Security Defence Forum (see Beach, 2011) channels military funding to 14 universities and their centers of expertise in the social sciences. Funding also comes in the form of “corporate research partnerships and donation agreements which are not held to the same requirements of transparency as federal funds” with corporations sometimes sub-contracting universities to complete work commissioned by them from the federal government (Beach, 2011). At my own university, Concordia, five of the CEOs who lead the Board of Governors have direct links to the military-industrial complex, and the university is a participant in Project Hero (see Beach, 2011). The university has also marked as one of its “signature areas,” the “Will to Intervene” project that advocates direct and immediate military intervention in cases such as Libya, for example. In parts of the campus, the university showcases its aerial drones. At least one of our American-trained professors in political science conducts research related to counterinsurgency, with funding from the DND for work on Afghanistan and Pakistan. AJP (2010b) has also documented a case of militarized anthropology at the University of Calgary, with a formal position in military anthropology sponsored by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, with the Department of Anthropology openly refusing to answer any of the basic questions asked by colleagues, seeking information that any applicant and referee would need to know. At the very least, the infrastructure, and some of the early experiments, are already in place for militarizing Canadian anthropology, and with more interventionist governments sending Canadian forces into conflicts around the world, and with heightened military spending, we should be very alert as to what may be coming.

If the infrastructure, financing, and the rationale are all in place, we need to also consider how the very structure and mode of doing anthropology are themselves amenable to militarization. Our obsessive focus on ethnography, as if anthropology were locating in a method its much sought after influence and recognition of its contribution, opens up a major vulnerability. By insisting on a mode of knowledge production that has us probing and inserting ourselves among those without the same institutional firewalls and prohibited access we find among states and corporate elites, the kinds of institutional blocks that impede conventional ethnographic fieldwork, we ensure that we continue to mine the lives and minds of the ruled, the oppressed, and the subordinated. In particular, we often run the risk of making marginalized groups legible to the authorities, under the guise of speaking truth to power (see Forte, 2010c20072008). What about translating power for the powerless? Telling the truth about the powerful, as we ourselves are members of institutions that are assemblages of political and economic power, that serve power, logically presents itself as one of our special areas of knowledge, one so routine and everyday that it seems many of us take it for granted, and turn our heads to look elsewhere, often very far away, for the supposed truths of power. Our own colonial instincts need to be unveiled, starting from relatively small matters of enduring terminology where we refer to societies and peoples as “the field,” and the so-called problem of “going native,” using a phrase that is to be found among intelligence agencies and diplomatic missions, to the impulse among some students to get professional certification in anthropology so that they can get jobs in NGOs and “help people”--often far away people conveniently imagined as desperate, with gaunt faces and outstretched hands, begging for us to solve their problems, without pausing to think how work at home might help to stop our society and its leadership from creating their problems. Instead, anthropology, interventionist and humanitarian, becomes part of a global SPCA, part of the zoology of imperialism, as we market our special insights on animal management. A discipline that often seems bent on arbitrating, regulating, and monitoring indigenous identities and practices, may be called anthropology, or it may be called by its more obvious name: counterinsurgency. Our job is to build on and advance that part of anthropology that is not aligned to power, and that takes domination as its central concern.

American Anthropological Association [AAA]. (2005). Uncensoring Franz Boas. American Anthropological Association, June 15.

Anthropologists for Justice and Peace (AJP). (2010a). A Resurgent Human Terrain System: Concerns for Anthropology, Including Canada. Anthropologists for Justice and Peace, December 13.

Anthropologists for Justice and Peace (AJP). (2010b). Militarizing Anthropology at the University of Calgary. Anthropologists for Justice and Peace, December 13.

Anthropologists for Justice and Peace (AJP). (2011). Militarization, the Academy, and the Role of Public Intellectuals Against War. Anthropologists for Justice and Peace, April 20.

Beach, L. (2011). Canadian Academic Institutions and Their Role in the Weapons Industry and the Expansion of American Empire. In Maximilian C. Forte (Ed.), The New Imperialism, Vol. II. Montreal: Alert Press. Forthcoming.

Bertuca, T. (2010). Army Increasing Number Of Human Terrain Teams; Advising Allies. InsideDefense.com Newsstand, December 10.

Department of Defense, U.S. (DoD). (2008). Broad Agency Announcement. BAA Announcement Number No. WF911NF-08-R-0007. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense.

Forte, M. C. (2007). Exposing the Network. Zero Anthropology, December 28.

Forte, M. C. (2008). Imperializing Open Access and Militarizing Open Source: “What’s yours is ours. What’s ours is ours”. Zero Anthropology, August 18.

Forte, M. C. (2009a). What are the Pentagon’s Minerva Researchers Doing? Zero Anthropology, June 12.

Forte, M. C. (2009b). News from the Military-Academic Complex: McFate’s PhD, HTS Contracts, Minerva Grants, Afghanistan. Zero Anthropology, October 14.

Forte, M. C. (2010a). Anthropology in Canada: Number of Students, Female Percentage. Zero Anthropology, October 5.

Forte, M. C. (2010b). Human Terrain System Video News: John Stanton, and the AGS Bowman Expeditions in Mexico. Zero Anthropology, June 3.

Forte, M.C. (2010c). Ethnographies of Resistance Movements: Legible to the Authorities. Zero Anthropology, October 11.

Forte, M. C. (2011a). The Human Terrain System and Anthropology: A Review of Ongoing Public Debates. American Anthropologist, 113(1), 149-153.

Forte, M. C. (2011b). Declaring the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System a Success: Rereading the CNA Report. Zero Anthropology, February 19.

Gusterson, H. (2007). Anthropology and Militarism. Annual Review of Anthropology, 36, 155-175.

Horvath, R. J. (1972). A Definition of Colonialism. Current Anthropology, 13(1) February, 45-57.

Indiana University (IU). (2009). IU sociologist receives NSF award to study how groups behave under threat. IU News Room, May 3.

Mazzetti, M. (2010). U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast. The New York Times, May 24.

Price, D. H. (2005). The CIA's Campus Spies: Exposing the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program. CounterPunch, 12-13 March.

Priest, D., & Arkin, W. M. (2010). A hidden world, growing beyond control. The Washington Post, July 19.

Salomon, F. (2007). John Victor Murra (1916–2006). American Anthropologist, 109(4) December, 792-796.

11 May 2011

Twitter Summary of the AJP Symposium on Paths Out of Empire at CASCA 2011 in Fredericton

The following is a listing of all of the tweets coming out of our symposium earlier today at the 2011 conference of the Canadian Anthropology Society in Fredericton, New Brunswick, dealing with "Paths Out of Empire: Anthropologies of Resistance and Prefiguration":

At AJP symposium on Paths Out of Empire today, Robin Oakley compared anthropologists to poets of India's heroic age #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Robin Oakley: Heroic poets served to remind leaders of the needs of society #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: People's Science Movement in India: either put humans first, or it's just pseudo-science. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: under capitalism, efficacy of science ultimately measured by profit #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: People's Science is about making society fit for a decent human existence. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: Heroic poets had a saying-"an unjust leader ought to be killed as a dog" (apologies to dogs!) #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: poets of India's heroic age were feared by leaders; also sought out by them, given their knowledge of society #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: social scientists today are in a liminal state, both in and out of Power. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: there is an objective need for a critical praxis of cultural #anthropology to fight on the side of progress. #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: #anthropology used for counterinsurgency, is #anthro gone bad; will ultimately negate itself, since it fragments communitiesless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: quoting Diane Nelson--hopelessness is counterinsurgency's greatest weapon. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: low-intensity warfare has become a fact of everyday life in North America, between the haves and have-nots. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley: authority works by inspiring awe, fear, and uncertainty; where will we position ourselves? #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Oakley at AJP symposium at CASCA 2011: What we need is to be writing against power. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Next: AJP's Alex Khasnabish, on "Toward an #Anthropology of Prefiguration" #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish at AJP symposium: public, applied, engaged #anthropology = forms of liberal engagement, making #anthro relevant to policyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: the ultimate manifestation of public/applied/engaged #anthropology is the Human Terrain System (HTS) - #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: we need to get away from "public #anthropology" - an empty, plastic concept. #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: We are always already taking sides in everything that we do. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: we need to fight against plutonomy (plutocrat's economy, celebrating inequality) #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: we need to challenge the belief that this society is as good as it can ever be. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: Much of #anthropology has been highly productive of academic capital, useful for paradigm wars. #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: #anthropology is both marginal and relevant to the exercise of power. #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: 1. Invocation - where academic authority is used to legitimate social movements; speaking for them. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: 2. Avocation - academics disavow authority, and simply disappear into social movements. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: or 3. Convocation - where we put into play the "weird autonomy" of the academic, in a collective summoning #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Khasnabish: "the radical imagination," coming out of convocation, is not something we "have" but something we "do" #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Next up from the AJP symposium at CASCA 2011 in Fredericton: Angela Robinson, on Aboriginal decolonization. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

AJP's Angela Robinson: the "disappearance" of Aboriginals, as a fiction of governmental colonization in Newfoundland. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Robinson:root of govt's vanishing of aboriginals=conflict over different cultural notions of land ownership, occupancy #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Robinson: In Newfoundland, mixed/metis people were customarily deprecated; denial of aboriginal ancestry. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Robinson: among those dispossessing Aboriginals, US Air Force Base at Stephenville. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Robinson: in discussion, the question arose: what do we mean by "good scholarship"??? #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Next from AJP's symposium in Fredericton: Reddi Yalamala, on #anthropology in India, presence of lower caste #anthro sless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Reddi Yalamala at AJP Symposium: more present among India's #anthropology students, faculty: women, tribals, lower-castes. #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Yalamala: need to better recognize non-Western anthropologies. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Yalamala in discussion: some Indian anthropologists serving in top positions in counterinsurgency against Naxal rebels #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Conor Brown at AJP symposium is next: focusing on anthropologists' resistance against militarization of #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Brown is a former student of Felix Moos at Kansas, who is a key supporter of Human Terrain System, militarism in #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Brown's research is more about the Bowman Expeditions, based at U. of Kansas, relationship with U.S. military. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Brown: we need to support other efforts, such as anti-base campaigns; student anti-war groups #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Brown:also need to put pressure on professional associations to fight militarism more; need to write in public venues. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Instead of tweets about Max Forte's presentation at AJP Symposium, dealing with militarism & militarized #anthro, his paper will follow.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Discussion at AJP Symposium: 1. about rationale for anthropologists' involvement in Human Terrain System. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Discussion: 2. what tools of the powerful can we use to subvert the powerful? #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

One reply: we are the tools of the powerful as academics; universities are part of the system of power. #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Discussion: 3. Why AJP needs to exist, in light of professional association's silence on issues of war and militarism.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Discussion: 4. what does it mean today to do anthropology, where should it be done, about what, to whose ends? #anthro #anthropologyless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Discussion: 5. What exists in #anthropology to change, prevent, or counter its service to the state, military? #anthroless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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