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Human Terrain

Human Terrain

A scene from Human Terrain.

To avoid mistakes made during the Vietnam War, the US military's Human Terrain System recruits social scientists to serve alongside soldiers on the frontlines of America's foreign wars. Hoping to use academia's accumulated knowledge to win 'hearts and minds' in addition to street battles, the generals embed anthropologists with fighting units. A collaboration between Watson Institute Research Fellow James Der Derian and filmmakers David Udris and Michael Udris, this documentary examines all sides of the Human Terrain System as it tries to teach cultural sensitivity to soldiers who must make split second decisions about who is the enemy and who is not. Then suddenly, participating anthropologist Michael Bhatia is killed in Afghanistan, calling into question the efficacy and ethics of a program that puts scholars on the frontlines of blood-and-guts battlefields.

Event Details

13 November 2010
12:30pm - 2:30pm

Kaufmann Theather, American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street New York, NY

$10 seniors, students, members; $12 general admission