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preface
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The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of
the future.
—frank herbert (1965: 321)
Warfare and anthropology have long intersected in two fundamental ways. This
book examines the intersection that occurs when anthropologists contribute
their professional knowledge and skills to further the military and intelligence
endeavors of their nation at war. Another significant confluence occurs when
anthropologists’ fieldwork settings are shaped by wars that alter the worlds en-
countered by ethnographers. While frequently underacknowledged, ethno-
graphic fieldwork has often occurred in the shadow of warfare.
In a style reminiscent of the carefully staged photography of Edward Curtis,
many anthropologists have cropped out war’s shadows from the ethnographic
present of their writing, but some of America’s finest ethnographers have placed
these events in the foreground.∞
An early example of this occurred at the 1891
New Year, when the ethnologist James Mooney of the Bureau of American Eth-
nology arrived on the Sioux reservation just days after the U.S. Army slaughtered
Sioux men, women, and children at Wounded Knee. The marching tunes of the
Seventh Calvary still hung in air, but Mooney worked outside this cadence as he
studied acts of cultural resistance with a purpose divorced from conquest. In-
stead, Mooney’s studies of the Ghost Dance acknowledged the context of military
conquest in ways that honored and did not make vulnerable those he studied.
The care he took shows the development of an anthropology that is conscious of
its responsibility to those studied. Mooney studied the Ghost Dance as a legiti-
mate religious formation, describing it with the same honor and respect other
scholars used in treatises discussing the historical developments or sacraments of
Christianity. An ethnographer with di√erent sensibilities might have studied the
Ghost Dance with aims to facilitate conquest rather than to honor the beliefs as
part of a great tradition. Such a
proto-psyop
ethnographer could easily have
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