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Anthropological Intelligence

By the time the United States officially entered World War II, more than half of American anthropologists were using their professional knowledge and skills to advance the war effort. The range of their war-related work was extraordinary. They helped gather military intelligence, pinpointed possible social weaknesses in enemy nations, and contributed to the Army's regional Pocket Guide booklets. They worked for dozens of government agencies, including the Office of Strategic Services and the Office of War Information. At a moment when social scientists are once again being asked to assist in military and intelligence work, David H. Price examines anthropologists' little-known contributions to the Second World War. Anthropological Intelligence is based on interviews with anthropologists as well as extensive archival research involving many Freedom of Information Act requests. Price looks at the role played by the two primary U.S. anthropological organizations, the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology (which was formed in 1941), in facilitating the application of anthropological methods to the problems of war.He chronicles specific projects undertaken on behalf of government agencies, including an analysis of the social effects of postwar migration, the planning of massive refugee relocation schemes, and the study of Japanese social structures to help tailor American propaganda efforts. Price discusses anthropologists' work in internment camps, their collection of intelligence in Central and South America for the FBI's Special Intelligence Service, and their help forming foreign language programs to assist soldiers and intelligence agents. Evaluating the ethical implications of anthropological contributions to World War II, Price suggests that by the time the Cold War began, the profession had set a dangerous precedent regarding what it would be willing to do on behalf of the U.S. government.
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Table of Contents

Preface ix Abbreviations xxi 1. American Anthropology and the War to End All Wars 1 2. Professional Associations and the Scope of American Anthropology's Wartime Applications 18 3. Allied and Axis Anthropologies 53 4. The War on Campus 74 5. American Anthropologists Join the Wartime Brain Trust 91 6. Anthropologists and White House War Projects 117 7. Internment Fieldwork: Anthropologists and the War Relocation Authority 143 8. Anthropology and Nihonjinron at the Office of War Information 171 9. Archaeology and J. Edgar Hoover's Special Intelligence Service 200 10. Culture at War: Weaponizing Anthropology at the OSS 220 11. Postwar Ambiguities: Looking Back at the War 262 Notes 283 Bibliography 317 Index 353

Promotional Information

History of the enthusiastic involvement of American anthropologists in WW2, and the ongoing consequences of that involvement

About the Author

David H. Price is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington. He is the author of Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI's Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists, also published by Duke University Press. He was a member of the American Anthropological Association's 2006-7 Ad Hoc Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with the U.S. Security and Intelligence Communities.


"In this objective and scrupulous account, David H. Price performs an invaluable service by raising a central ethical question: To what extent should social scientists lend their skills to national tasks, even if the goals are not those with which they are in agreement? By carefully documenting what American anthropologists did to help win World War II, he illuminates that murky ethical space that lies between patriotism and the tasks of science."--Sidney W. Mintz, Johns Hopkins University "David H. Price is, without any doubt, our foremost authority on the ways in which anthropologists were used in World War II and the Cold War and on the ways in which those wars changed anthropology. Price knows how to use the Freedom of Information Act like no other anthropologist, and he has succeeded in unearthing a wealth of fascinating information about the military uses of anthropology in World War II. Anthropological Intelligence is at once a fascinating and entertaining source of trivia on anthropology's ancestors and a keenly argued lament for what war has done to a humane discipline. Showing an encyclopedic command of the facts, Price writes with urbane elegance and a strikingly judicious compassion toward those whom he critiques. Anthropological Intelligence could not be more timely. At a moment when war is once more on anthropologists' minds, it will become the canonical book on anthropology and the 'good war' while raising troubling questions for those in the age of the 'war on terror' who would like, once more, to mobilize anthropology for war."--Hugh Gusterson, author of People of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex

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