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Lecture 3

ANT100Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Iatrogenesis, Rand Corporation, Margaret Mead

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Tania Li

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January 20, 2014.
Lecture 3 – WAR
Montgomery McFate. Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their
Curious Relationship
What is McFate’s purpose and justification for writing this essay?
oProduce cultural knowledge of the “enemy”; counterinsurgents
What is “insurgency”?
oArmed rebellion; uprising; of a political and ideological nature
oAgainst current social order
o“Cool” as opposed to “hot”
oE.g., Vietnam/Viet Cong
oEvery super power has something to do with some kind of counterinsurgency
Two examples of US military ethnocentrism?
oUS monitoring Japanese signals during WW2; couldn’t believe Japan would be
so irrational as to attack Pearl Harbour
oIndia detonating nuclear bombs underground during testing; “Only we do that,
how could they!”
What is “mirror imaging”?
oAssuming your opponent will act the way you act and trying to predict their next
move based on this
oKey factor of the ethnocentrism in the US military
What does “nuts and huts” refer to?
oDerogatory term used amongst US military personnel for anthropology or
anthropological study
oAlso “tits and spears”
oUsed at Westpoint, one of the most prestigious military academies in the USA
What is the National Security Council?
oShe mentions anthropologists having no sway with the NSC, but they should
oConsists of a few dozen people; one of the most “important” systems in US
oThe elite of the elite in military and politics
oThe council that takes over if war or crisis breaks out so that there is no order; no
acting president or cohesive government
oCFR: council of/on? foreign relations; first step to NSC
oBoth councils set major policy
What is the Powell-Weinberger doctrine?
oTo stick to asymmetrical warfare; overwhelming military power to combat
opponents; only engage in warfare where the US will be the clear winner
oNo more “unconventional” wars; after massive failure in Vietnam
oAnthropology could have a softening effect on this idea
What is the problem with the US military code?
oRevised during the Cold War era and constructed for that kind of expected war
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i.e., Powers of “European heritage” going against each other/fighting in
similar ways; culturally similar
The US army was not defeated on the battlefield in Vietnam, claimed the US colonel.
Why did the North Vietnamese colonel reply to the US colonel, “That may be so, but it is
also irrelevant”? And why is this the same for Iraq?
How does the British approach to counterinsurgency differ from the US?
oBritish approach is based on deep cultural knowledge and intelligence; they dealt
with it in excess both through colonialism as well as in conflicts with Northern
oAs little policing and monitoring as possible; get the population to police
themselves through education
Why is anthropology not involved in US military considerations?
oMilitary personnel dismiss anthropology because it doesn’t use quantitative
methods; military science is all numbers and quantitative
oFound anthropology muddled and confused and couldn’t understand it
Post-modernist, ULTRA self-reflexive, “retreat into the Ivory Tower”
quality that anthropology took
What was the role of anthropology in the colonial era?
oMalinowski’s paper Practical Knowledge
oAiding super powers in understanding the people they were taking control of
In the long run aiding and abetting; but in the short-run possibly helping
mitigate the situation and save lives?
Who was Sylvanus Morley? What did Franz Boas think of him?
oRecruited by US naval office to spy for them; was working in Mexico and knew
the country in great deal
oDuring WW1 Germany had worldwide operations and extremely
sophisticated/well-developed anthropology
oWent looking for German submarines in South America and didn’t find them but
returned with extreme details about every aspect of the places he explored
oBoas was completely against any use of anthropology for military purposes
Morley was very anglo, US born and raised? Whereas Boas was a Jewish
immigrant to Germany; in touch with the marginalized? Probably had
something to do with their opposing viewpoints.
What were the military connections of the following anthropologists?
oCarleton Coon
American anthropologist immersed in all four “units” of anthro
Wrote lots of books
Worked mainly in North Africa (Morocco, Nigeria, etc.)
By the time of WW2 he was leading teams of “insurgents”; bombing
German military operations?
oTom Harrison
Worked in Bornea with guerilla fighters
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