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Contents

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Preface

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pp. vii-ix

This volume is not a typical anthropology book about Iraq. The essays were written in the midst of the Iraq War and lack, therefore, the hindsight that often benefits scholarly analyses. Moreover, the contributing authors did not conduct the long-term fieldwork that customarily underlies most anthropological studies. The physical danger to foreign civilians in...

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Ethnographic Imagination at a Distance: An Introduction to the Anthropological Study of the Iraq War

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pp. 1-23

Anthropology has had a long history of studying cultures at a distance. In fact, anthropology began in the nineteenth century with the study of travel and missionary accounts, memoirs of explorers and sailors, and surveys conducted by colonial administrators. This armchair anthropology made way for in situ research by the pioneering work of early...

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1. ‘‘Night Fell on a Different World’’: Dangerous Visions and the War on Terror, a Lesson from Cambodia

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pp. 24-56

Most of us try not to think it: the sky raining paper and ashes; a couple holding hands as they step off the ledge of a skyscraper; sleek modern towers billowing fire, smoke, debris, and human bodies; rescue workers climbing stairs to their end; a skyline gouged by an atomic plume; an unmatched shoe lying on the ground; survivors suited in dust and blood, the...

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2. The War on Terror and Women’s Rights in Iraq

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pp. 57-79

Women’s rights and women’s liberation have been part and parcel of the justifying rhetoric of proponents of the so-called war on terror. The U.S.- led interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have similarly identified the need to ‘‘liberate’’ women from the barbaric practices of the Taliban and the Saddam Hussein regime, respectively. Simultaneously, women have been...

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3. The War on Terror, Dismantling, and the Construction of Place: An Ethnographic Perspective from Palestine

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pp. 80-105

By the summer of 2006, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and Lebanon were sites of intense conflict. With the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, U.S. secretary of state Rice in a widely televised interview baldly stated, ‘‘these are the birth pangs of the new Middle East.’’ Viewing the larger ‘‘war on terror’’ from a spatial and experiential perspective in Palestine provides a...

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4. Losing Hearts and Minds in the ‘‘War on Terrorism’’

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pp. 106-132

According to the great theorists of guerrilla warfare such as Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Tom Barry, insurgent conflicts, unlike other forms of armed conflict or war, are fundamentally political rather than military struggles for the ‘‘hearts and minds’’— that is, the popular support—of the civilian population (Taber 2002). That...

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5. Mimesis in a War Among the People: What Argentina’s Dirty War Reveals About Counterinsurgency in Iraq

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pp. 133-158

When by 2004 U.S. forces had become bogged down in the hostile Sunni Triangle, the buzzwords ‘‘shock and awe’’ of the March 2003 aerial bombing of Iraqi troops and infrastructure were replaced by ‘‘swarming’’ as a trendy term to describe what was becoming an ordinary counterinsurgency war in a high-tech jacket. Superior firepower has always...

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Epilogue

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pp. 159-174

Prior to 1980, Iraq and Afghanistan provided fascinating case studies for anthropologists. By the 1980s, the Ba‘th government of Saddam Hussein had consolidated power and declared war on Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan had sparked a tenacious resistance movement. Both conflicts resulted in chronic instability that would preclude anthropologists...

List of Contributors

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pp. 175-177

Index

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pp. 179-186