Threatening Anthropology: Mccarthyism And The Fbi's Surveillance Of Activist Anthropologists by David H. PriceThreatening Anthropology: Mccarthyism And The Fbi's Surveillance Of Activist Anthropologists by David H. Price

Threatening Anthropology: Mccarthyism And The Fbi's Surveillance Of Activist Anthropologists

byDavid H. Price

Paperback | May 31, 2004

Pricing and Purchase Info

$35.32 online 
$39.50 list price
Earn 177 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store

Out of stock online

Not available in stores


A vital reminder of the importance of academic freedom, "Threatening Anthropology" offers a meticulously detailed account of how U.S. Cold War surveillance damaged the field of anthropology. David H. Price reveals how dozens of activist anthropologists were publicly and privately persecuted during the Red Scares of the 1940s and 1950s. He shows that it was not Communist Party membership or Marxist beliefs that attracted the most intense scrutiny from the fbi and congressional committees but rather social activism, particularly for racial justice. Demonstrating that the fbi's focus on anthropologists lessened as activist work and Marxist analysis in the field tapered off, Price argues that the impact of McCarthyism on anthropology extended far beyond the lives of those who lost their jobs. Its messages of fear and censorship had a pervasive chilling effect on anthropological investigation. As critiques that might attract government attention were abandoned, scholarship was curtailed.

Price draws on extensive archival research including correspondence, oral histories, published sources, court hearings, and more than 30,000 pages of fbi and government memorandums released to him under the Freedom of Information Act. He describes government monitoring of activism and leftist thought on college campuses, the surveillance of specific anthropologists, and the disturbing failure of the academic community--including the American Anthropological Association--to challenge the witch hunts. Today the "war on terror" is invoked to license the government's renewed monitoring of academic work, and it is increasingly difficult for researchers to access government documents, as Price reveals in theappendix describing his wrangling with Freedom of Information Act requests. A disquieting chronicle of censorship and its consequences in the past, "Threatening Anthropology" is an impassioned cautionary tale for the present.

Title:Threatening Anthropology: Mccarthyism And The Fbi's Surveillance Of Activist AnthropologistsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9.3 × 5.98 × 1.08 inPublished:May 31, 2004Publisher:Duke University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0822333384

ISBN - 13:9780822333388


Editorial Reviews

"This is a depressing, terrifying, and ultimately maddening book! Nevertheless, those interested in anthropology's past and those concerned with its future need to deal with the pain and anger that reading this book should engender. Indeed, it is incumbent upon them to share with their colleagues and students the lessons learned from Price's scrupulous research and meticulous documentation. . . . [K]udos to Duke University Press for publishing a book that not too long ago would have been considered too subversive to touch." --Robert Lawless, "Anthropology Review Database"