From New York Times:
As an American on a Fulbright fellowship, I spent the last year conducting anthropological research in Mexico. Invariably, one of the first questions I was asked when I tried to begin an interview was, “Are you here to spy on us?”
Even after full disclosure of my university employment, publications and current research design, I found myself blocked out of some potentially useful interviews. Headlines like “Army Enlists Anthropology in War Zones” (front page, Oct. 5) will make future research all the more difficult.
The identification of anthropology with military operations, intelligence gathering and “armed social work” augurs ill for the future of a discipline that studies populations distrustful of power — many of which have had unhappy past experiences with American invasion, occupation or support for corrupt dictatorships.
Anthropologists thus need not be antiwar or skeptical of the Bush administration to oppose the enlistment of anthropologists in counterinsurgency operations. All one needs is a clear view of the discipline’s bottom line.
Roger N. Lancaster
Elsewhere, The Boston Globe picks up the story.