Author Archives: Dena Plemmons

About Dena Plemmons

Currently serving as interim director of the Division of Research Affairs at San Diego State University. Her permanent appointments are in the Anthropology Department and the Research Ethics Program at the University of California, San Diego. She served a four-year term on the Committee on Ethics of the American Anthropological Association, and also as chair of the Task Force for Comprehensive Ethics Review, charged with reviewing and revising the AAA’s code of ethics. She was recently elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Practicing Ethics and Ethical Practice: Anthropologists and Military Humanitarians

Plemmons and Albro examine anthropological research practice and ethics, in the context of the expanding security regime in the U.S. With particular attention to the perceived value of disciplinary methods and expertise for emerging military humanitarian interventions, for which sociocultural knowledge is deemed crucial, they consider a long-standing disciplinary anxiety about “secret and clandestine” work for the security state. Exploring how anthropological knowledge is fundamentally co-produced with counterparts “in the field,” they emphasize the irreducibility of secrecy as part of research relationships. The article also seeks to sharpen appreciation for ethics as a negotiated feature of disciplinary practice.