Publisher: AK Press/Counterpunch
Released: August 16, 2011
In the years since September 11, 2001, David Price has been at the forefront of public debates over the ethical and political issues raised by using anthropology for America's terror wars. Weaponizing Anthropology details the rapid militarization of anthropology and incursions by the CIA and other intelligence agencies onto American university campuses. Price combines his expert knowledge of the history of anthropologists' collaborations with military and intelligence agencies with an activist stance opposing current efforts to weaponize anthropology in global counterinsurgency campaigns. With the rapid growth of American military operations relying on cultural knowledge as a strategic tool for conquest and control, disciplinary loyalties aligning anthropologists with the peoples they study are strained in new ways as military sponsors seek to transform research subjects into targets and collaborators. Weaponizing Anthropology offers political and ethical critiques of a new generation of counterinsurgency programs like Human Terrain Systems, and a broad range of new academic funding programs like the Minerva Consortium, the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program, and the Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence, that now bring the CIA and Pentagon onto university campuses. Weaponizing Anthropology is a concise and profound critique of the rapid transformation of American social science into an appendage of the National Security State.
Praise for David Price's Weaponizing Anthropology
"Even before he published this materly and comprehensive account, David Price has long been in the forefront of those warning of the adverse effects of militarizing the human sciences. Now, by matching an extraordinary command of the sources to a telling sensitivity to the political and intellectual consequences, he demonstrates inthis definitive work that weaponizing anthropology is as damaging to the soul of the nation as it is to the integrity of the science"
—Marshall Sahlins, University of Chicago
"David Price once again proves that he is one of America's most important engaged scholars and insightful public intellectuals. Weaponizing Anthropology is a brilliant analysis of not only how the social sciences are increasingly becoming an integral part of the warfare state but also how knowledge and culture are subject to new modes of militarization, organized in multiple new ways for the production of state violence. This may be one of the most important books written inthe last few decades on the merging of the military and intelligence agencies with the academy. Beautifully written and rigorously argued, Weaponizing Anthropology is a must read for students, educators, and anyone else concerned about the fate of the academy, the corruption of anthropology, the militarization of politics, and the future of democracy."
—Henry Giroux, McMaster Univeristy, author of University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex
"Just about any undergraduate anthropology course is likely to begin with a ritual denunciation of early anthropology as a colonialist project, implying that anything written before, say, 1970 was hopelessly corrupted by its entanglement in racism, imperialism, and genocide. It's always said in such a way so as imply that obviously, this is no longer the case. This excellent, timely, and beautifully researched work demonstrates just how wrong and self-serving this standard account really is. Anthropology was always a field of political struggle between servants and opponents of imperialism and it still is—with much of our funding, employment, and research direction still coming directly from the CIA and US military. No one genuinely concerned with the integrity of the discipline can afford to ignore this important book."
—David Graeber, Goldsmiths, University of London, author of Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology
"[David Price is] the foremost authority on the ways in which anthropology has been used by the military."
—Jeremy Keenan, Times Higher Education Supplement
"A clarity of political principle has motivated David Price's work over the past twenty years. Price has been a determined—if sometimes lonely—voice highlighting the risks of anthropological collaboration, both covert and overt, with military and intelligence agencies. Price is partially motivated by frustration at what he sees as the silences surrounding military involvements, and how a lack of institutional and disciplinary memory has political consequences, most vividly seen in the increasingly open role played by anthropologists in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."
—David Mills, University of Oxford. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
"David Price is a cartographer of covert power. He maps in topographic detail how deeply the CIA and other intelligence agencies have infiltrated American campuses, recruiting students, administrators and academics to work for the dark side. This meticulously researched book reveals how the discipline of anthropology has been perverted into a virtual "smart bomb" to be inflicted on indigenous populations who stand in the path of the imperial machine. Weaponizing Anthropology is a required field guide for how to spot a spook in the post-9/11 world."
—Jeffrey St. Clair, co-editor CounterPunch, author of Born Under a Bad Sky
David H. Price is a Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Society and Social Justice at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington.