Minerva: Unclipping the Owl’s Wings

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ announcement last April of a new initiative, named Minerva, after the Roman goddess of war and wisdom and intended to cultivate a new relationship between the Defense Department and the academic social science disciplines, has been met with a hail of criticism. There is indeed much to criticize—from DoD’s truncated […]

Minerva and Critical Public Engagement

There are a myriad of reasons for the social sciences to be skeptical of developing closer working relationships with the military by cashing in on new opportunities like the Minerva Initiative, most obviously the possibility of a further militarization of academia. Anthropologists, in particular, have been vocal about their concerns — concerns that should be […]

The Perils of Pentagon Funding for Anthropology and the Other Social Sciences

This spring, the US Department of Defense announced an initiative to put up to $18 million annually toward social science research on issues of “national security.”  It identified anthropology as a key discipline to be recruited to this work.  Dubbed the Minerva Research Initiative, after the Roman’s virgin goddess of both warriors and wisdom, the […]