Geography, War, and the Human Sciences

Looks like I’ll be participating in this set of papers on Geography, War, and the Human Sciences (organized by Elliott Child, Matthew Farish, & Trevor Barnes) at the AAGs this spring:

With these sessions, we hope to strengthen the ties between two strands of scholarship. On the one hand, over the past two decades, geographers have contributed extensively to the nascent field of critical military studies. Much of this work has focused on the imaginative geographies and geopolitics of the U.S.-led ‘War on Terror’, and also on the relationship between geographical knowledge and the older American ‘military-industrial-academic complex’. On the other hand, during the same period, historians, anthropologists, and others from science and technology studies have carefully investigated the entanglements of militaries and the human or social sciences during the middle decades of the twentieth century, teasing out stories of military patronage and illuminating sites and networks of knowledge-production, training and experimentation

Drawing these inquiries together promises to push both histories of the human sciences and histories of geography in new directions, with additional consequences for critical military studies. Specifically, as we pursue more-than-disciplinary histories of geography, we hope to further consider the ‘geographies’ at stake in the military consideration of the ‘social’ and the ‘human’, within and beyond the United States. What geographies have animated the military human sciences, and how has geographical knowledge, in turn, been shaped by the growth of security states, demands for global and regional intelligence, and the massive sphere of defense science and contracting?

We welcome papers on the following themes:

  • Historical geographies of the military human sciences
  • Psychological and political warfare
  • Defence contracting and defence science
  • Intelligence industries and the academy
  • Interrogation, brainwashing, & spaces of military confinement
  • Counterinsurgency, policing and the human sciences
  • Military computing and quantification
  • War and area studies