Tagarchief: imperialism

Anthropology and Iraq

American sergeant Nick Crosby helps an Iraqi woman cross a water-filled street during a cordon and search mission in Al Risalah (by Army.mil)

Al Risalah, Iraq, May 8, 2007 (by Army.mil)

I would like to react briefly to Lahay Hussein’s talk as well as to the concerns expressed in her earlier post. These concerns are primarily about (re)building a healthy and democratic political and social order, and within it a healthy academic discipline and educational system, from a condition in which academic qualifications and infrastructure are sorely inadequate. She expects this process to be inspired and aided by colleagues and institutions in the West.

These concerns are very different from the preoccupations of Western anthropologists when it comes to Iraq: imperialism; the complicity of anthropology in the occupation (a term Lahay herself disagrees with, preferring to use the term liberation); and, more generally, the expectation of staking out a critical anthropological position from a Middle Eastern/Muslim perspective vis-a-vis Western concepts (à la Lila Abu-Lughod, for example).

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