Orwellian roots:

"I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we're really talking about peace." - George W. Bush, June 18, 2002

"War is peace." Big Brother, George Orwell's 1984

contact info

David Price  Anthropology               Saint Martin's University 5300 Pacific Ave.       Lacey, Washington  98503

dprice@stmartin.edu   Phone: 360/ 438-4295

terror war anthropology

The below pieces critically examine the roles played by anthropology in Presidents Bush and Obama's domestic and international military campaigns.  As the "war on terror" reveals increasing the military and intelligence agency's ignorance about regions and cultures of world where the Bush administration desires to impose military hegemony, there are renewed desires to use anthropological knowledge for militarized ends.   While the current calls to apply anthropology for a newly conceptualized terror war appear to underestimate the extent of past applications and misapplications of anthropology to the needs of warfare, anthropology has regularly been deployed throughout the wars of the Twentieth Century--deployments that continue to raise serious ethical issues for anthropology.  My 2011 book, Weaponizing Anthropology collects essays and public talks critically examining the ways that American academia is increasingly being militarized. 

2015 [co-authored with Roberto González] "The Use and Abuse of Culture (and Children): The Human Terrain System's Rationalization of Pedophilia in Afghanistan." CounterPunch October 9, 2015.

2015 [co-authored with Roberto González] "Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military's Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture." CounterPunch July 31, 2015.

2014 "New WikiLeaks CIA Document: How the CIA Sold Obama on Counterinsurgency by Drone Assassination." CounterPunch Dec. 23, 2014.

2014 "The New Surveillance Normal: NSA and Corporate Surveillance in the Age of Global Capitalism." Monthly Review 66(3):43-53.

2014 "Counterinsurgency by Other Names: Complicating Humanitarian Applied Anthropology in Current, Former, and Future War Zones." Human Organization 73(2):95-105.

2014  "Det amerkianske militaerests erobring av kulturen." Radikal Portal 19. mai 2014. [Norwegian].

2014 "The NSA, CIA, and the Promise of Industrial Espionage: The Secret Police of American Capitalism." CounterPunch January 28, 2014.

2013 "The Role of Culture in Wars Waged By Robots: Connecting Drones, Anthropology, and the Human Terrain System's Prehistory." In Neil L. Whitehead and Sverker Finnstrom, eds. 46-64, Virtual War and Magical Death: Technologies and Imaginaries for Terror and Killing. Durham: Duke University Press.

2013  "On Open Sources and Closed Agencies." Edges 12/3/13.

2013  “Memory’s Half-Life: A Social History of Wiretaps.” CounterPunch 20(6):10-14.  2013 “Privacy Tapped Out: Americans No Longer Care About Government Surveillance.” Le Monde diplomatique English Edition, August 2013, p 10-11 (republished excerpt from “A Social History of Wiretaps”). 

2013 “On Claims of a Baby Rogue Elephant: The Revelations of Kidnapped CIA Agency Robert LevinsonCounterPunch December 13-15, 2013.

013 "Militarization and Anthropology." Annotated bibliography, Oxford Bibliographies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2013 “The Destruction of Conscience in the National Academy of Science: An Interview with Marshall Sahlins. CounterPunch February 26, 2013.
Translation into Spanish of “The Destruction of Conscience in the National Academy of Science: An Interview with Marshall Sahlins,” (orig. 2013). “La destrucción de la conciencia en la Academia Nacional de las Ciencias de EE UU. Entrevista.Sin Permiso (24/3/13)

2013  “Review of Rob Albro et al’s Anthropologists in the SecurityScape: Practice, and Professional Identity.” Journal of Anthropological Research 69(1):130-131.

2012 "Resistance's Half-Life: Militarization and the Growing Academic Silence." CounterPunch Vol. 19, No. 11. June 1-15, 2012, p 1, 5-7.

2012 "The Irreverent Sting of Alexander Cockburn: A Voice of Critical Optimism." CounterPunch July 23, 2012.

2012 “Inside Cockburn’s FBI File: Snoops, Snitches and Secrets.” CounterPunch 20(1):9-12.  January 2013.

2012 "Counterinsurgency and the M-VICO System: Human Relations Area Files and Anthropology's Dual-Use Legacy." Anthropology Today 28(1):16-20.

2012 [co-authored with Michael Price & Robert A. Rubinstein] "Material Support: U.S. Anti-Terrorism Law Threatens Human Rights and Academic Freedom." Anthropology Today 28(1):3-5.

2012 "Review of Ivan Greenberg's The Dangers of Dissent: The FBI and Civil Liberties Since 1965." Logos 11(1).

2011 Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State. Petrolia: AK Press/CounterPunch Books.  

2011 "Case Western Breakdown: How Critical Engagements with Military Scholars Can Threaten Academic Transparency." CounterPunch November 14, 2011.

2011  "Uninvited Guests: A Short History of the CIA on Campus." The CIA on Campus: Essays on Academic Freedom and the National Security State pp 33-60, Philip Zwerling ed., Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland Publishing.

2011 "Review of Roberto Gonzalez's Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State." Journal of Anthropological Research 67(3):451-453.

2011 "Pre-Apocalyptic Ethnography of American Nuclear Borderlands." Dialectical Anthropology 35:51-57.

2010 "Using the Freedom of Information Act as an Anthropological Tool." News of the Society for Applied Anthropology 21(3):28-30.

2010 "Soft Power, Hard Power, and the Anthropological 'Leveraging of Cultural 'Assets': Distilling the Politics and Ethics of Anthropological Counterinsurgency." pp 245-260. In John D, Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, Sean T. Mitchell & Jeremy Walton, eds., Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2010 “Silent Coup: How the CIA is Welcome Itself Back onto American University Campuses.”  CounterPunch 17(2):1-5.  Jan. 16-31, 2010.
2010 “Governing Fear in the Iron Cage of Rationalism: Terry Gilliam’s Brazil Through the 9/11 Looking Glass.” Pp 167-182, in Reframing 9/11: Film, Popular Culture and the “War on Terror.” Eds. Jeff Birkenstein, Anna Froula & Karen Randell.  New York: Continuum.

2010  “The Spook School Program.” CounterPunch 17(3):6-7. February 1-15, 2010.

2010  “Human Terrain Systems Dissenter Resigns, Tells Inside Story of Training’s Heart of  Darkness.” CounterPunch February 15, 2010.

2010 “Counterinsurgency.”  In Alan Bernard & Jonathan Spencer eds.,  The Routledge  Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology, 2nd ed.  Pp 162-164. London: Routledge.

2010  “The Army’s Take on Culture.” Anthropology Now 2(1):57-63.

2009 Robert Albro (chair), James Peacock, Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Kerry Fosher, Laura McNamara, George Marcus, David Price, Laurie Rush, Jean Jackson, Monica Schoch-Spana and Setha Low] “AAA Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities (CEAUSSIC). Final Report on The Army’s Human Terrain System Proof of Concept Program.” Submitted to the American Anthropological Association Executive Board, October 2009. 

2009 “Going Native: Hollywood’s Human Terrain Avatars CounterPunch December 23, 2009.

2009 “Anthropology, Human Terrain’s Prehistory, and the Role of Culture in Wars Waged by Robots.” CounterPunch October 1-15; 16(17):1, 4-6.

2009  “Faking Scholarship.” In the Network of Concerned Anthropologists Steering  Committee, eds., The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual or, Notes on Demilitarizing American Society.  Pp 59-76. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

2009  “Cynical Design or Opportunism? Review of Jeremy Kennan’s The Dark Sahara: America’s War on Terror in Africa.”  Times Higher Education September 3, 2009, p 52.

2009 “Son of PRISP: Obama’s Classroom Spies CounterPunch June 23, 2009.
2009 "Counterinsurgency’s Free Ride: The Press and Human Terrain Systems.” CounterPunch  April 7, 2009. 
2009  “Counterinsurgency, Anthropology and Disciplinary Complicity: An Interview With Roberto González on Human Terrain Systems.” CounterPunch February 3, 2009. 

2008  “Payback Time: The Student Who Decided to Not Be a Spook.” CounterPunch 15(15):6-8.  9/1-15/08.
2008 “The Leaky Ship of Human Terrain Systems: First Read of a Leaked Handbook”  CounterPunch December 12, 2008.

2008 “Social Science in Harness: Inside the Minerva Consortium.” CounterPunch June 25, 2008.

2008  “The Military ‘Leveraging’ of Cultural Knowledge: The Newly Available 2004 Stryker Report Evaluating Iraqi Failures.” CounterPunch March 18, 2008.

2007 "Refuting Col. John Nagl: Army's Prime Salesman of Counterinsurgency Manual Seeks to Defend Stolen Scholarship." CounterPunch November 3, 2007.

2007   [co-authored with, Catherine Besteman, Andrew Bickford, Greg Feldman, Roberto Gonzalez, Hugh Gusterson, Gustaaf Hautman, Jean Jackson, Kanhong Lin, Catherine Lutz, & David Vine]“US Intelligence and Anthropology.” Anthropology News November 2007,  48(8):3-4.

2007 [co-authored with, James Peacock (Chair), Robert Albro, Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Kerry Fosher, Laura McNamara, Monica Heller, George Marcus, and Alan Goodman] “AAA Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the US Security and Intelligence Communities, Final Report.” Submitted to the American Anthropological Association Executive Board, November 2007.

2007  “Anthropology as Lamppost? A Comment on the Counterinsurgency Field Manual.” Anthropology Today 23(6):20-21.2007.

2007 “Pilfered Scholarship Devastates General Petraeus’ Counterinsurgency Manual.
CounterPunch Vol 14, No. 18. Oct. 16-31, pp 1-6. Spanish translation: "El manual de contrainsurgencia del general Petraeus es desbaratado por inccluir innumerables plagios."

2007  [co-authored with Roberto J. González] “When Anthropologists Become Counter-Insurgents: Pledging to Boycott the ‘War on Terror.’” CounterPunch September 28, 2007.

2007 [co-authored with Hugh Gusterson] “Reconsidering Why Dr. Johnny Won’t Go To War.”  Small Wars Vol. 8, May 2007, pp 35-37.

2007 "The Long Lost War: This Occupation Shall Remain Nameless" CounterPunch April 25, 2007.

2007  "Anthropology and the Wages of Secrecy." Anthropology News 48(3):6-7.

2006  "American Anthropologists Stand Up Against Torture and Occupation of Iraq." CounterPunch November 20, 2006.

2005  [co-authored with Hugh Gusterson] “Spies in our Midst Anthropology News 46(6):39-40.

2005 "America the Ambivalent: Quietly Selling Anthropology to the CIA."  Anthropology Today  21(5):1-2.

2005 "From PRISP to ICSP: Skullduggery Among the Acronyms." CounterPunch Vol 12, No. 5, March 1-15., pp 3-4.

2005  "The CIA's University Spies," CounterPunch Vol. 12, No. 1, January 1-15, pp 1-6.  Translated into Spanish by Cecilia Paterno, "Los espias de la CIA en lost campus universitarios."

2004  “’Like Slaves’: Anthropological Notes on Occupation” CounterPunch January 6, 2004. 

2003 “Teaching Suspicions: The Unintended Consequences of Police Investigations of Parent Volunteers.” CounterPunch 23(4):373-401.

2003 "Prostrate Before The Patriot Act: Librarians As FBI Extension Agents" CounterPunch March 5, 2003.

2002 “Interlopers and Invited Guests: On Anthropology’s Witting and Unwitting Links to Intelligence Agencies" Anthropology Today 18(6):16-21. 

2002  “Present Dangers, Past Wars and Past Anthropologies” Anthropology Today 18(1):3-5.

2002  “Reply to Noam Chomsky and Jeffrey Sluka” Anthropology Today 18(2):23.

2001 “Academia Under Attack: Sketches For A New Blacklist” CounterPunch Nov. 21, 2001.

2001 "War Without End: Terror and Indigenous Peoples." CounterPunch November 3, 2001.