Thursday, October 15, 2015
4:00pm, 3201 Hart Hall
Roberto Gonzalez PhD, San Jose State University, Anthropology
“Human Terrain by Any Other Name: The Pentagon’s Ongoing Quest for Ethnographic Intelligence”
The most expensive social science program in history–the US Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS)–quietly come to an end last year. The controversial program, which embedded academics with combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan, cost US tax payers more than $725 million, raised questions about the ethics of militarized social science–and the effectiveness of counterinsurgency efforts in the 21st century. After briefly reviewing the history of similar programs, anthropologist Roberto Gonzalez will discuss the rise and fall of HTS, and will examine the reasons for the program’s rapid demise. He will also sketch the outlines of several ongoing efforts to build upon HTS’s legacy, namely: (1) the US Army’s Global Cultural Knowledge Network; (2) "human terrain" programs that have been subcontracted to private contractors by the US Special Operations Command. The presentation concludes with a brief review of computational counterinsurgency programs that seek to integrate sociocultural information with geospatial, economic, and biometric data for predictive modeling.
Roberto J. González is Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at San Jose State University. He has published numerous books including Zapotec Science: Farming and Food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca (University of Texas Press, 2001), the edited volume Anthropologists in the Public Sphere (University of Texas Press, 2004), American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain (Prickly Paradigm Press, 2009), Militarizing Culture: Essays on the Warfare State (Left Coast Press, 2010), and the co-edited book Up, Down, and Sideways: Anthropologists Trace the Pathways of Power (Berghahn Books, 2014).
Cosponsored by: UC Davis Militarization Research Group, American Studies, Cultural Studies, and the Institute for Social Sciences.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
4:00pm, 3201 Hart Hall
Tarek Elhaik PhD, UC Davis, Anthropology
“Silvia Gruner’s El Nacimiento de Venus: An Anthropological Perspective”
Building on a long-term participant-observation of contemporary curatorial and art worlds in Mexico City, the talk revisits the pioneering work of visual and media artist Silvia Gruner. By focusing, specifically, on her multi-sited installation El Nacimiento de Venus (1995), the talk shows how Gruner’s images and artistic inquiries index the ongoing breakdown of mestizaje, the foundational anthropological trope of Mexicanist visual culture. The talk is part of a larger research project on the use of images for anthropological inquiry.
Tarek Elhaik is assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis and a film curator. His writings have appeared in books and journals, including Framework, Revista de Antropologia Social, and Crtirical Arts. He is the author of The Incurable-Image: Curating Post-Mexican Film & Media Arts (Edinburgh University Press, February 2016). He is part of a collaborative team of researchers, hosted by the Los Angeles Film Forum and funded by the Getty Research Institute, currently editing and curating an anthology and several platforms on experimental cinemas in Latin America. His ongoing research is a participant observation based inquiry of contemporary “Tricontinental” media assemblages.
Asian American Studies Program Coordinator
Cultural Studies Graduate Program Coordinator
Hart Interdisciplinary Programs
3102 Hart Hall