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Anthropological Engagements with Military and Intelligence Agencies: History, Ethics, Politics and Structural Limits

204 Maxwell Hall

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Anthropologist David Price draws on archival materials, oral history interviews, as well as extensive documents released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to consider the impacts of a wide variety of historical interactions between anthropologists and American military and intelligence agencies. Discussing FBI and CIA FOIA documents, Price summarizes some of the recurrent political and structural issues that have historically restricted the types of impacts that anthropologists and other social scientists have been able to enact in the civilian, military and intelligence agencies where they have worked. Price also draws on FOIA FBI documents to consider how narrowly confined constructions of acceptable political perspectives have traditionally been used by the FBI in governmental vetting procedures to limit the sort of views allowed to contribute to policy formation or in some instances, to limit scholars' interactions with academic colleagues. David Price is a Professor of Anthropology at St. Martin's University in Lacey, Washington where he teaches courses in anthropology and social justice. He is writing a three volume series of books examining American anthropologists' interactions with intelligence agencies: Threatening Anthropology (2004, Duke) examines McCarthyism's effects on anthropologists, Anthropological Intelligence: The Deployment and Neglect of American Anthropology in the Second World War (2008, Duke) documents anthropological contributions to the Second World War, and a third volume will explore anthropologists’ interactions with the CIA and Pentagon during the Cold War.  

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