Browsing All posts tagged under »anthropology«

Distorting Theory and Misreading Society in Afghanistan

November 24, 2013 by


This is in response to M. Nazif Shahrani’s piece titled “The Taliban Enigma: Person-Centered Politics & Extremism in Afghanistan” published in ISIM Newsletter 6, October 2000, pp. 20-21. Crucial ethnographic details, structural principles and historical processes, especially those dealing with social inequality and political instability in contemporary Afghanistan, are misunderstood, garbled, and oversimplified by the […]

The End of Debates About the Human Terrain System?

February 17, 2013 by


The End of Debates? Having been asked (and declined) to write commentaries, or respond to one or another essay on the Human Terrain System (HTS) over the past 18 months, I realized that I had enough, and had said enough that it did not warrant repetition. However, unlike others who said their piece, I might […]

Encircling Empire: Report #18—Elections, Independence, Counterinsurgency

November 5, 2012 by


Encircling Empire Reports is a selection of essays, blog posts, and news reports covering a given time period, providing links and representative extracts or key passages from each resource, usually focusing on certain countries/continents and/or processes in each report. The focus of the reports ranges from imperialism discussed in broad strokes, to specific facets of […]

Peace Corps and Afghanistan

July 26, 2012 by


The information and discussion about the activities of and the accumulation of various forms of capital by some Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs)—all in South America—is interesting (Anthropology News, December 2011, March 2012). President John Kennedy adapted the blast “ask not what this country can do for you, ask what you can do for this country” […]

Encircling Empire: Report #13—Revolution, Intervention, Anthropology

March 7, 2011 by


In this report, first two maps of social media penetration in the Middle East and North Africa, in relation to ongoing revolts; then, a long overdue catalogue of anthropologists writing online about the revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa; then a series of opposing items, those dealing with rejections of any foreign military intervention in Libya (a position best articulated by Fidel Castro), followed by statements by what would otherwise be willing interventionists, in the U.S. government, who find multiple problems with imposing a no-flight-zone, and then those articles and statements that strongly favour intervention, and the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P); finally, we end with notes on empire at work in Afghanistan.

Empire and the Liberation of Veiled Women: Lutz & Collins

February 21, 2011 by


In “The Color of Sex: Postwar Photographic Histories of Race and Gender,” by Catherine A. Lutz and Jane L. Collins (reprinted in The Anthropology of Media: A Reader, 2002, pps. 92-116), we encounter this very illuminating passage dealing with the figure of the veiled, non-Western woman, photographed by National Geographic, placing the apparent obsession with […]

Declaring the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System a Success: Rereading the CNA Report

February 19, 2011 by


[First, many thanks to John Stanton for notifying us of the release of the report discussed below, available here, and for his article. Here I take a somewhat different approach in describing and interpreting the contents of the report, and the conclusions it draws. In addition, or as an aside, readers may be interested in […]

The American Anthropological Association and Egypt: It’s Mostly About the Artifacts?

February 5, 2011 by


I was getting really upset that every time I went on a show, all you would see is “Crisis in Cairo,” “Unrest in Egypt.” And they were totally missing the historical significance of what was happening. My country, you know, my people, these incredibly courageous people in Egypt, were standing up to a tyrant of […]


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