Social science

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | The Guardian

According to Prof David Price, a cultural anthropologist at St Martin’s University in Washington DC and author of Weaponizing Anthropology: Social Science in Service of the Militarized State, “when you looked at the individual bits of many of these projects they sort of looked like normal social science, textual analysis, historical research, and so on, but when you added these bits up they all shared themes of legibility with all the distortions of over-simplification. Minerva is farming out the piece-work of empire in ways that can allow individuals to disassociate their individual contributions from the larger project.”

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | The Guardian

Among the projects awarded for the period 2014-2017 is a Cornell University-led study managed by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research which aims to develop an empirical model “of the dynamics of social movement mobilisation and contagions.” The project will determine “the critical mass (tipping point)” of social contagians by studying their “digital traces” in the cases of “the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the 2011 Russian Duma elections, the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy crisis and the 2013 Gazi park protests in Turkey.”

Twitter posts and conversations will be examined “to identify individuals mobilised in a social contagion and when they become mobilised.”

Another project awarded this year to the University of Washington “seeks to uncover the conditions under which political movements aimed at large-scale political and economic change originate,” along with their “characteristics and consequences.” The project, managed by the US Army Research Office, focuses on “large-scale movements involving more than 1,000 participants in enduring activity,” and will cover 58 countries in total.

via Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | The Guardian.

Rally defends African-American Studies at Temple University

Temple University

About 150 Temple University students and North Philadelphia community members gathered April 10 to fight back against racist attacks on the Department of African-American Studies carried out by College of Liberal Arts Dean Teresa Soufas.

via Rally defends African-American Studies at Temple University.

Asante will again chair Temple’s African-American studies department

“I accepted the position and told her I wanted to move the department to the vanguard position in the African-American studies field that it used to be in the ’80s and ’90s,” he said.

In recent weeks, students held protests supporting the faculty’s right to choose a chair.

Soufas placed the department in “receivership” last year after former chair Nathaniel Norment retired in July 2012 and named as acting chair Jayne Drake, vice dean of academic affairs.

via Asante will again chair Temple’s African-American studies department.