PRICE, David H. (St. Martin’s College) "Applied Anthropologist as Cold War Dissident: Earle Reynolds, An Informed Protester of Conscience.”
ABSTRACT: This paper uses archival documents and records released by the Department of Energy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency under the Freedom of Information Act to examine anthropologist Earle Reynolds’ transition from working as an applied anthropologist examining the survivors of America’s atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to a devoted activist risking his life opposing America’s development of the Hydrogen Bomb. Reynolds’ research changed his political orientation and led him to protest the development of weapons of mass destruction. As Reynolds obstructed nuclear weapons tests and spoke out in public settings on the dangers of these weapons, the FBI and other intelligence agencies increased their surveillance of him, and these agencies actively hindered his work. While many elements of Reynolds’ life were extraordinary, the basic problems he faced in trying to reconcile the interests of his employer and the population he studied were similar to many of the essential dilemmas faced by all of us working as applied anthropologists.