The analytic branch of the cia is given to tweedy, pipe- smoking intellectuals
who work much as if they were doing research back in the universities
whence many of them came. It probably has more Ph.Ds than any other area
of government and more than many colleges. Their expertise ranges from
anthropology to zoology. Yet, for all that, they can be wrong.
S TA N S F I E L D T U R N E R
| former director of Central Intelligence, 1985
P R E FA C E
This book considers some of the ways that military and intelligence agencies
quietly shaped the development of anthropology in the United States during
the first three de cades of the Cold War. Whether hidden or open secrets, these
interactions transformed anthropology’s development in ways that continue to
influence the discipline today. This is an anthropological consideration of an-
thropology; studying up in ways I hope help the discipline reconsider its inevi-
table engagements with the world it studies (Nader 1972).
In many of the early Cold War interfaces connecting anthropology and
military- intelligence agencies documented here, the anthropologists produc-
ing research of interest to governmental agencies pursued questions of genuine
interest to themselves and their discipline. Sometimes gentle nudges of available
funding opportunities helped anthropologists choose one par ticular ele ment
of a larger topic over another; in other instances anthropologists in de pen-
dently pursued their own intellectual interests, producing work that was only
later of interest or of use to military or intelligence agencies. In some instances
anthropologists recurrently produced work of no value to, or opposing poli-
cies of, these agencies. Anthropological research was sometimes directly com-
missioned to meet the needs of, or answer specific questions of, military and
intelligence agencies, while other times sponsorship occurred without funded
anthropologists’ knowledge.
Laura Nader argues that one of anthropology’s fundamental jobs is to pro-
vide context: to enlarge the scope of study beyond par ticular instances and en-
compass larger contexts of power, mapping power’s influence on the creation
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