Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

On Public Radio: Der Derian and "the Anthropologists' War"

June 29, 2010

Institute Professor James Der Derian recently discussed the use of civilian anthropologists and social scientists as on-the-ground advisors to the military on To the Best of our Knowledge, a public radio show.

Also interviewed on the June 20 program on “The Responsibility of Intellectuals” were public intellectual Noam Chomsky and critic Christopher Hitchens.

Der Derian addressed the topic by drawing on his research and co-production of Human Terrain, a documentary film about the creation of soldier-scholars for counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Der Derian’s comments focused on military policies characterizing contemporary warfare as the “anthropologist’s war” and explored these issues through the lens of the life and death of former Institute Fellow Michael Bhatia ‘99 while working on a Human Terrain Team in Afghanistan.

The Human Terrain documentary was also recently featured in an article in a major UK daily newspaper, the Guardian.