31 July 2012

The Kanishka Program and the Securitization of the Social Sciences in Canada

The following three reports were recently published on Zero Anthropology, focusing on the role of the Ministry of Public Safety working in collaboration with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to distribute funds under the "Kanishka Program". Drafting social scientists into serving the national security state to perform surveillance on Canadians, and engage in public propaganda exercises, is the explicit intention of the program. The program violates the core ethical principles of many disciplines and, ironically, would likely face a severe challenge under the official ethics instruments that govern all SSHRC funding. This program has been advanced with no public discussion or debate and academics have generally remained silent, until now. 

  • Insidious Security
  • SSHRC, Kanishka and the Questions They Ask
  • Some of the Preliminary Questions We Need to Ask
“As part of the Kanishka Project, Public Safety Canada is investing up to $3.7 million to support, in full or in part, with SSHRC, research and related activities addressing issues related to terrorism and counter-terrorism.”
  • Taking Hostages: Research Funding to “Prevent Terrorism”
  • Instructing Academics on What (Not) to Research
On May 30, 2012, both Vic Toews and Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, announced the awarding of the first $1.1 million for Kanishka applicants. Vic Toews had this to say: 
“Terrorism and violent extremism are global threats and Canada is not immune. I’m pleased to announce the funding awarded to the first six innovative research projects that will help build Canada’s knowledge and understanding of the complex issue of terrorism. Threats evolve, and we must strive to improve our knowledge and understanding to more effectively address these threats. With initiatives like the Kanishka Project, we are taking action to help build the resilience of our communities against the threats we face today.”
  • Complying with “Counter-Terrorism,” Practicing Domestic Counterinsurgency
  • From Scholarship to Police Work: Academic Support for Counter-Terrorism
  • Repeat After Me! “Harmony, Not Critique”
“The Prevent element would focus on providing positive alternative narratives that emphasize the open, diverse and inclusive nature of Canadian society and seek to foster a greater sense of Canadian identity and belonging for all. Programs would be aimed at raising the public’s awareness of the threat and at empowering individuals and communities to develop and deliver messages and viewpoints that resonate more strongly than terrorist propaganda”.
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