Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, by Roberto J. Gonzalez

By Roberto J. Gonzalez

Anthropologists have an extended culture of prescient diagnoses of global occasions. owning an information of tradition, society, and historical past now not consistently shared via the media's conversing heads, anthropologists have performed a very important position in teaching the overall reader at the public debates from global conflict I to the second one Gulf War.

This anthology collects over fifty commentaries by means of famous anthropologists akin to Margaret Mead, Franz Boas, and Marshall Sahlins who search to appreciate and clarify the profound repercussions of U.S. involvement within the heart East, Asia, Africa, and Latin the United States. usually drawing on their lonesome fieldwork, the anthropologists transcend the headlines to attract connections among indigenous cultures, company globalization, and modern political and financial crises. Venues variety from the op-ed pages of across the world well known newspapers akin to the New York Times and the Washington Post to journal articles and tv interviews. specified sections entitled "Prelude to September eleven" and "Anthropological Interpretations of September eleven" contain articles that supplied many american citizens with their first giant advent to the historical past of Islam, significant Asia, and the center East. every one article features a short advent contextualizing the commentary.

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Extra resources for Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, Peace, and American Power

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They profess with sincerity their respect for the people—so much that they actively wish them a better fate. And now consider this interview, what they said and what they revealed of themselves. After I left them I had the sickening feeling of ‘‘there but for the grace of God . ’’ The main protagonist—identified as ‘‘Mr. X’’—describes himself as an ‘‘agnostic atheist,’’ but clearly he believes in the Devil if not in God. In fact, his is a holy work: to exorcise the Communist devils possessing Vietcong.

Franz Boas’ letter to the editor of The Nation, ‘‘Scientists as Spies,’’ is a classic example of how anthropologists have engaged pressing contemporary issues—in this case, the use of social scientists for espionage during World War I. His brief letter aroused so much controversy that it led to his expulsion from the AAA. The next piece is a 1940 article by Boas’s student, Margaret Mead, who in ‘‘Warfare Is Only an Invention—Not a Biological Necessity’’ makes an appeal for alternative means of resolving global conflicts.

Mission in Somalia. Other contributors are prescient in their analyses. S. military aid to Colombia (specifically, its use in the ‘‘war on drugs’’) and emphasize the necessity for a peaceful resolution to that country’s internal conflicts, while Marc Edelman’s commentary focuses on the link between free trade policies and famine in Central America. The Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and the worsening crisis there are the focus of contributions from a Palestinian anthropologist, Ali Qleibo, and an Israeli anthropologist, Jeff Halper (coordinator of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions).

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