FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 23, 2013  

New book breaks down controversy between social scientists and the military

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Jill Leonhardt
In recent years, there has been notable controversy over whether or not social scientists should aid in war efforts by supplying the U.S. military with cultural and social data about local populations living in war zones. In his new book, Practicing Military Anthropology: Beyond Expectations and Traditional Boundaries, Robert A. Rubinstein, professor of anthropology and international relations at the Maxwell School, sheds light on the role of military anthropologists and provides answers to the host of ethical questions that have swirled around them.

This groundbreaking book explores the many different kinds of contributions anthropologists make to military education and operations, and shows that this work is much more and different from the contentious U.S. military’s Human Terrain System (HTS), which embeds anthropologists in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coedited by Kerry Fosher, a 2005 Maxwell PhD graduate and the Director of Research, U.S. Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning, and Clementine Fujimura, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, the book demystifies the work of military anthropologists by presenting the autobiographical perspectives of a number of anthropologists who have either worked with the U.S. armed forces or who teach at military service academies. These thoughtful and moving essays address concerns over ethics, morality, and professional decorum by shining a bright light on the complex and multi-faceted relationship between anthropology and the military.

Robert A. Rubinstein earned a PhD in anthropology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and an MsPH from the University of Illinois School of Public Health. His research focuses on cultural aspects of dispute settlement, international health, and the anthropological study of peacekeeping. From 1994 to 2005, he directed Maxwell’s Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts.

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The Maxwell School of Syracuse University is a leading academic institution in the United States committed to scholarship, civic leadership, and education in public and international affairs. Maxwell is home to Syracuse University’s social science departments and to numerous nationally recognized multidisciplinary graduate programs in public policy, international studies, social policy, and conflict resolution. Maxwell's graduate program in public administration -- the first of its kind in the nation -- is ranked consistently the leading graduate public affairs program in the country.