Small Wars Journal

Minerva Project revisited

As a follow-on to this August entry on the SWJ Blog and Small Wars Council discussion thread on the Minerva Project, we received the following nice note from Corrie at the Stanford Humanities Center. A skeptical viewpoint based on historical analysis? Hmmm, might resonate with some of our crowd.

I saw the SWJ Minerva Project entry and thought you might be interested in an essay written by a Stanford history Prof. who has some reservations about the project. History Professor Priya Satia wrote the essay for the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) which has set up an on-line platform where invited scholars post their concerns and arguments relating to the Minerva Project. In her essay, Satia explains that the DoD's appeal to scholars is a misguided attempt to involve academics without fully considering the consequences of the act. Satia uses her history expertise to illustrate her point and explains that the British military was involved in a similar situation in the Middle East following WWI.

Read the entire SSRC essay, The Forgotten History of Knowledge and Power in British Iraq, or Why Minerva's Owl Cannot Fly, or this short story about Prof. Satia's involvement with the SSRC.

BTW, our friends at the American Anthropological Association aren't big fans of Minerva either. They seem pretty well dead-set against anything to do with DoD. But it is still wise to grasp the well-reasoned reservations that academia has about the project. It is, after all, engagement, which must be done on mutually acceptable terms.