The idea of contracting anthropologists to assist in counterinsurgency contexts – with monitoring, analysis, networking – is an old one, reinvigorated in the context of the NATO-led Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, initiated in 2001. The so-called Human Terrain Systems (HTS), with teams of social scientists attached to military units, stirred a heated debate, particularly within the anthropological community in the US.
David Price has been a leading critic of the HTS approach, highlighting a number of professional, ethical and political dilemmas, and ultimately questioning its effectiveness. He was a member of the commission that wrote the report American Anthropological Association (AAA) on the HTS approach. Having worked on the ways in which military and intelligence organizations engage anthropology, both historically and currently, Price is well placed to lay out the basic visions behind the HTS program in Afghanistan and to place the Afghan effort in a larger context.
The seminar will be chaired by PRIO Director Kristian Berg Harpviken.