The discipline of anthropology has been wracked with controversy since the 2007 establishment of a new program within the United States military, which officially employs anthropologists and other social scientists to collect "ethnographic intelligence" on local populations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The program, the Human Terrain System (HTS), was created to help U.S. military personnel better understand local cultural contexts. As part of this program, experts throughout the academy are being contacted by State Department officials to provide information on topics of interest to those in the Pentagon. The politicization of ethnographic fieldwork has posed a series of moral dilemmas for anthropologists, particularly feminist anthropologists who work with already vulnerable populations. This article proposes to examine the question of collaboration with reference to the HTS and recent debates raging among anthropologists about whether or not to cooperate with the U.S. government or any foreign government. Drawing on the author's own experiences conducting fieldwork among Slavic Muslims in Bulgaria, during which she was "invited" to share her findings with both the Bulgarian and American governments, the goal of the article is to openly discuss these dilemmas and offer some brief suggestions about how to navigate the murky waters of doing research in an increasingly fraught global context.


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pp. 164-189
Launched on MUSE
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