Anthropology News has published a column by Professor Ömür Harmanşah and doctoral candidate Müge Durusu-Tanrıöver on “Embedded! Archaeologists and Anthropologists in Modern Landscapes of Conflict“, a two-day workshop held May 1 and 2, 2014. Scholars from different disciplines and area studies came together for an open and critical discussion on contemporary archaeological and anthropological field practices in contexts of war and social conflict and their ethical implications.
The workshop was organized as the second leg of “Engaged Scholarship: The Politics and Ethics of Knowledge Production“, a Middle East Studies Initiative that aims to question what it means to put intellectual work in the service of engaged scholarship, broadly defined.
Recently, archaeologists and anthropologists working in precarious war zones in the Middle East have been drawn into collaborations with western and local military forces. These partnerships occur either through initiatives such as US Army’s Human Terrain Systems (HTS), or by accepting military funding for field research, or by adopting military technologies for acquiring otherwise inaccessible geographical and remote sensing data. These developments intersect with a cultural turn in the US military.