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Anthropologists in the SecurityScape: Ethics, Practice, and Professional Identity Paperback – November 1, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1611320138 ISBN-10: 1611320135 Edition: Reprint

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“These close studies move us past dogmas to data in discussion of relations between anthropology and the military.”
—James Peacock, University of North Carolina



“When their governments wage wars, what can scholars do? For anthropologists in particular, what are the practical, ethical and civic responsibilities that come with scholarly knowledge of other cultures? As the blast radius of 9/11 rolled outward, serving as the pretext for liberations that turned into occupations, the erosion of civil liberties at home, and an explosion of extra-judicial killings abroad, it also fueled heated and adversarial responses among American anthropologists to these urgent questions. This volume expands the debate, presenting the voices of smart, principled scholars and practitioners who explain how and why they work in professional settings that are alien or suspect to most academic anthropologists. Conceived and executed in a spirit of even-tempered, open-minded and empirically-informed conversation, this volume constitutes a vital resource for anyone curious about the diverse roles and locations of 'security anthropologists.' It also opens a substantive dialogue around concepts of public engagement, professional vocation and moral complacency which are of pressing concern for the discipline’s future.”
—Keith Brown, Associate Professor, Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University



“A gripping read through a charged yet respectful high-stakes conversation about the position of anthropological work in the security sector. Anthropologists in the SecurityScape is packed with personal stories from anthropologists working in a wide range of roles both in and around the military and other defense and security institutions. The contributors’ distinct voices shine through: teachers and trainers, humanitarian workers and intelligence analysts, religious scholars and cultural resource managers along with many others. They reveal the tensions faced in their encounters with those in the “securityscape” as well as with colleagues in the anthropological community. This book excels in achieving the dialogical potential of anthropological work. It promises to challenge and extend understanding of the motivations and realities of engagement – as well as non-engagement – with the security sector. More broadly, it raises questions relevant to anthropological work with consequential institutions of all kinds. Anyone invested in informing a public anthropology is sure to learn from this book.”
—Melissa Cefkin, Author of "Ethnography and the Corporate Encounter



“This engaging and important casebook explores the dynamics of how, when, why and under what conditions and with what risks, anthropologists have engaged with the large and expanding security apparatus of the United States. The collection is broad, interesting and could not be more timely.”
—Paul Rabinow, University of California, Berkeley

About the Author

Robert Albro is an assistant professor of international communication in the School of International Service at American University. He is a widely published expert on social and indigenous movements in Latin America, transnational civil society, cultural rights frameworks and cultural policy. He is chair of the Committee for Human Rights of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the Science and Human Rights Coalition of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been a Fulbright Scholar and a fellow at the Library of Congress, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and the Smithsonian. George Marcus, Chancellor's Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, is among the most influential anthropologists in the world. He is founder of the journal Cultural Anthropology and founder and director of the interdisciplinary Center for Ethnography. Books such as Writing Culture (edited with James Clifford) and Anthropology as Cultural Critique (with Michael M. J. Fischer) had revolutionary impacts in the social sciences; recent publications include Ethnography through Thick and Thin and Critical Anthropology Now. Laura A McNamara is a principal member of the technical staff, Exploratory Simulations Department, Sandia National Laboratories. She is co-editor (with Ray Paton) of Multidisciplinary Approaches to Theory in Medicine and lead editor for the Elsevier Science Publications series Studies in Multidisciplinarity. Monica Schoch-Spana is a senior associate at the Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and assistant professor in the School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases. She is also faculty for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism and has served on key committees for the National Research Council. She has published extensively on emergency planning for bioattacks and epidemics, testified before congress, and is quoted and interviewed frequently in national press.

More About the Author

Robert Albro received his Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1999. Since 1991 Dr. Albro has maintained long-term ethnographic research, and published widely, on popular and indigenous politics in Bolivia, with a particular focus on the changing terms of citizenship, democratic participation, and indigenous movements in this country. His current research is concerned with global cultural policy making, as it meaningfully shapes the ongoing terms of globalization, including the relevance of culture in contexts of security. Dr. Albro's research and writing have been supported over the years by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Council for Learned Societies, among others. Dr. Albro has also been a Fulbright scholar, and has held fellowships at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution. Dr. Albro has held several leadership positions in the American Anthropological Association, including Chair of the Committee for Human Rights and Chair of the Commission on Anthropology's Engagement with the Security and Intelligence Communities. He was recently a member of the National Research Council's Committee on Unifying Social Frameworks. Dr. Albro was given the AAA's President's Award in 2009 for outstanding contributions to the Association. Most recently he has taught at Wheaton College (MA) and at George Washington University. He is currently in residence at American University's School of International Service.

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