ABOUT THIS BOOK
In 1970 a coalition of student activists opposing the Vietnam War circulated documents revealing the involvement of several prominent social scientists in U.S. counterinsurgency activities in Thailand—activities that could cause harm to the people who were the subject of the scholars’ research. The disclosure of these materials, which detailed meetings with the Agency for International Development and the Defense Department, prompted two members of the Ethics Committee of the American Anthropological Association to issue an unauthorized rebuke of the accused. Over the next two years, the AAA agonized over the allegations and the appropriate response to them. Within an academic community already polarized by the war, political and professional acrimony reached unprecedented levels. Although the association ultimately passed a code of ethics, the key issues raised in the process were never fully resolved.
Now back in print, Eric Wakin's Anthropology Goes to War is the first comprehensive study of what became known as the Thailand Controversy—and a timely reminder of a debate whose echoes may be heard in our own time.