Campus Surveillance and the War on Terror

Despite the recent disappearances, deportations, and censure of faculty, students, and staff on campuses acroos N. America for being Muslim, from the Middle East, or teaching subjects pertaining to the Middle East or 9/11, the U.S. State Department’s interference in academic freedom and intellectual pursuit has a long tradition behind it. In a parallel process in which some are targeted for removal and others for surveillance, I have seen colleagues forced into early retirement, have visas revokked, or re-entry denied them after their annual trips back home. I have also heard first hand reports from colleagues in Middle Eastern Studies or Anthropology with research in the Middle East, particular those who are or can pass for Middle Eastern, about how they were clandestinely recruited for the CIA or other intelligence operations that most eventually turned down out of loyalty to due process, human rights, and other such little things.

It thus comes as no surprise that Anthropologists are once again in demand for clandestine N. American operations in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. Since, as we all should know, anthropology was the intellectual wing of colonialism for a considerable period of the discipline’s history, and in some cases continues to be today, it is no surprise that the U.S. State Department believes culling from anthro majors and faculty alike will be their best hope to continuing the war after the U.S. government has supposedly closed this chapter of its history (much like hiring Blackwater will allow the war to continue without citizen support).

However this is not our ancestors anthropology, and concerned anthropologists across the spectrum are uniting against the recruitment of their students and themselves. Please click on the following links for more information; even if you are not an anthropologist, the model may be one that you can adapt for your discipline or your workplace should your colleagues include people “of interest” to the state.

From the Network of Concerned Anthropologists:

Over the last several weeks, we have created an ad hoc group, the
Network of Concerned Anthropologists, with the objective of promoting an
ethical anthropology. Working together, we have drafted a pledge of
non-participation in counter-insurgency, which we have organized as a
petition (see attachment). We invite you to become a part of this effort
by taking the following steps:

1. Download and print the attached pledge (in .pdf format). Ask
your colleagues to sign the pledge, and promptly send it to us via
regular mail:

Network of Concerned Anthropologists
c/o Dept. of Anthropology
George Mason University
4400 University Drive
MS 3G5
Fairfax, VA 22030 (USA).

If it is more convenient, email a .pdf
copy of collected signatures and send it to us at

2. Forward this message to your colleagues, and encourage them to

3. Join our network by emailing us at
Be sure to include your name, title, and affiliation. We will add you to our email list.

4. Visit our web site


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s