Demilitarizing the Academy

For decades, academic researchers have criticized the deep historical connections between our disciplines and imperial military projects. Only more recently, however, has that conversation begun to move out of the seminar room and into society at large. Sparked by outcry over the US military-sponsored “Bowman Expedition” grants, anti-militarist geographers have developed an updated language—“geopiracy” (Wainwright), “force multipliers” (Bryan), “warrior scholars” (Wood & Bryan)—for describing the contemporary links between academic knowledge-production and military power.

The purpose of this panel is to deepen and widen that discussion by connecting this language to material political interventions. Our intention is to begin cohering a layer of critical social scientists who can push for concrete political demands inside our professional organizations. Such demands may include support of BDS resolutions; a refusal to connect GIS-certificate holders with military tech jobs; even a binding professional agreement mandating principled non-collaboration with DOD agencies—similar to psychologists’ pact not to participate in military interrogations, or medical doctors’ near-unanimous refusal to collaborate in executions.

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