Compulsory Zionism, free speech, and anthropology

by Lesley Gill

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Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar argue convincingly in Anthropology's Politics that US-based academics face harassment and threats to their careers if they publicly reject US militarism in the Middle East and criticize the Israeli state in their teaching, research, and public speaking. Their analysis of five generations of anthropologists demonstrates that knowledge production is always political, but the thematic chapter organization—graduate school, getting hired, and handling job conflicts—does not explore the historical conjunctures in which the cohorts were formed. The authors’ assertion that the American Anthropological Association's practice of issuing public statements ignores the Middle East and criticism of US policies is clear, yet the association's history of opposition to US policies globally is uneven and episodic. Anthropology's Politics is an important and well-researched book.