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Review - Complex Terrain Lab

Entries by Tim Stevens (16)

Monumentalising Defeat II

"There is now a growing amount of archaeological literature on 9/11, focusing on the interstices between memory, materiality and the ‘archaeological imagination’. The display in the Intrepid Museum demonstrates at least two aspects of this debate: the musealization of social memory, and the monumentalization of the debris of the past."

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Posted on Monday, June 23, 2008 at 21:11 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | References4 References | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Human Terrain, Russian Style

One of the unsung heroes of this corner of the blogosphere, Ghosts of Alexander, has an excellent post on Russian use of social science in their 19th-century expeditions to Turkestan. In Russia's Human Terrain System GOA contrasts the investigations into local cultures by the Russians with the current HTS and social science techniques deployed by the US in Afghanistan. And concludes that ... bah, why trump the man? Read the article instead.

[Cross-posted at Ubiwar]

Posted on Monday, June 23, 2008 at 20:14 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Mahmoud al-Massad at the Frontline Club

In Recycle, winner of the World Cinema Cinematography Award for documentary at the Sundance Festival 2008, Mahmoud al Massad returned to his hometown of Zarqa in northern Jordan. Zarqa, Jordan's second city and industrial heart is birthplace not only to the Jordanian/Palestinian film-maker, but also to Abu Musab al Zarqawi, Osama bin Laden's "Prince of Al Qaeda in Iraq". On Sunday 15 June 2008, al Massad came to the Frontline Club in London for one of the first screenings of Recycle in the UK, and to discuss the question at the heart of this work: what makes a terrorist?

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Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 17:41 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Monumentalising Defeat

The best photographic journal bar none has to be Polar Inertia - if it's not, let me know. Issue #32 for Summer 2008 is now out and features a photographic essay by Belgian photographer Christophe Abrassart, Atlantik Wall.

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Posted on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at 23:14 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Ethnography and the Virtual

I wish I had more time to respond adequately to a great discussion over at Savage Minds, so this is as much a reminder to self as anything else. Kerim Friedman posted his critique of Tom Boellstorf's Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human, a recently published ethnography of the virtual world I've been meaning to have a look at for a while. Kerim doesn't try to hide his personal dislike of Second Life as a platform but does raise a series of excellent points to which Dusan Writer and Tom Boellstorf amongst others respond. Virtuality, subjectivity, anthropology, post mortem avatars and a lonely cat - all the fun of the fair.

[Cross-posted from Ubiwar

Posted on Monday, June 16, 2008 at 21:08 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Agents of Zero Intelligence

It's always a pleasure when a new blog comes on the scene that looks really interesting, even in its earliest stages. This definitely applies to Andrew Conway's new blog Zero Intelligence Agents. Andrew is a doctoral candidate in political science at New York University, and ZIA addresses the question, "How can the social sciences, mathematics and computer science combine to affect national security policy?". Andrew's background employment with various U.S. government agencies, DARPA, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force inform his current research interests - formal methods, national security, social networks, graph theory, elections and campaign finance.

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Posted on Monday, June 16, 2008 at 17:51 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Assassination & Insurgency at the Frontline Club

On Wednesday 11 June 2008 the Frontline Club in London hosted a discussion evening, Media Talk: Assassination and Insurgency - Are the Taliban Winning? Moderated by Nazanine Moshiri of Al Jazeera, the panel brought together Alastair Leithead (BBC), James Fergusson (journalist and author), James Appathurai (NATO spokesman), John D. McHugh (photojournalist) and, via Skype from Kandahar, Mawlavi Abdulsalam Zaeef (ex-Taliban ambassador to Pakistan).

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Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 13:26 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Joseph Stiglitz at the Frontline Club

Stiglitz has recently been much in the news again, with the February 2008 publication of The Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict (with Linda Bilmes). On Friday 13 June, I was at the Frontline Club in London to see Stiglitz in conversation with Stephanie Flanders, Economics Editor of the BBC.

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Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 14:56 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | Comments13 Comments | References1 Reference | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Cut Nose, Spite Face - More on Human Terrain

Roberto J. González is perhaps best known for his continued opposition to the involvement of anthropologists in the U.S. military's Human Terrain System. The title of his 2007 article, 'We Must Resist the Militarization of Anthropology' sums up his concerns with the delicate relationship between social science and the military. Who shapes the agenda? Is it ethical to 'enable the kill chain'? Should social science be subordinated to the aims of the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency? These are all valid issues, of course, but González's work often seems tinged with a reactionary attitude as uncritical as those he claims to be challenging.

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Posted on Friday, June 6, 2008 at 16:42 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | Comments3 Comments | References7 References | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism

Two new papers in the May 2008 issue of American Political Science Review reference Robert Pape's 2003 paper, 'The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism'.

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Posted on Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 17:06 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Here/There Be Dragons - Metaphor & Cyberspace

Metaphor is crucial to our understanding of 'cyberspace' and is both a determinant and function of our relationship with the supposed 'Other'. The complex terrain of our networked communication is largely negotiated through reference to an idealised rural past, but the language of our digital futures is likely to be built on something quite different.

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Posted on Sunday, June 1, 2008 at 08:52 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | Comments2 Comments | References1 Reference | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

The Right to Radicalisation?

Partly in response to the recent arrest of a Nottingham student for downloading the al-Qaeda 'Manchester Manual', Poetix writes on the dangers to academic freedom posed by the current security climate, and the nature of the university experience itself.

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Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2008 at 07:15 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | Comments7 Comments | References1 Reference | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Daniel Kimmage at the ICSR

On 21 May, Daniel Kimmage, Regional Analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, spoke to the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King's College London. The basis for the talk was his recently published study The Al-Qaeda Media Nexus: The Virtual Network Behind the Global Message [.pdf] which received a fair amount of attention in the blogosphere and beyond. He is also author, with Kathleen Ridolfo, of The War of Images and Ideas: How Sunni Insurgents in Iraq and Their Supporters Worldwide are Using The Media [.pdf].

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Posted on Saturday, May 24, 2008 at 14:45 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | References1 Reference | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Terrorism down, CT ROI down too

New research by the Human Security Report Project and the University of Texas at Dallas shed light on the global occurrence of terrorism and the tangible returns of counterterrorism policies.

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Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2008 at 10:27 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens | Comments2 Comments | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

British Muslims: Identity, Integration and Policy

On Monday 13 May, Dilwar Hussain of the Islamic Foundation led an evening seminar at King's College London, 'British Muslims: Identity, Integration and Policy'. Hussain is the well-respected head of the Policy Research Unit and Senior Research Fellow at the foundation, and also serves on the board of the Commission for Racial Equality in the UK. He's the co-author of British Muslims Between Assimilation and Segregation: Historical, Legal and Social Realities (2004) and has also written several op-eds, not least a rebuke to charges of extremism laid at the door of the Islamic Foundation by the BBC Panorama programme in 2005.

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Posted on Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 22:17 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

Zizek on Cyberspace

I've mentioned Slavoj Žižek elsewhere before, and will doubtless do so again. The Slovenian polymath is both prolific and notorious, describing himself once as an 'orthodox Lacanian Stalinist', but he is of course much more than that. Žižek is one of those authors who makes me want to steal his books, such would one's intellectual armoury be augmented if one could actually grasp a significant fraction of the ideas he throws at the reader. Browsing in the university library yesterday I happened upon a copy of his 1997 Plague of Fantasies

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Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 21:49 by Registered CommenterTim Stevens in | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint