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David Vine

Associate Professor Department of Anthropology

Author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, August 2015) and Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton, 2009), David Vine’s work focuses on issues including U.S. foreign and military policy, military bases, forced displacement, and human rights. He is the co-author, with the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, of the Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual, or Notes on Demilitarizing American Society (Prickly Paradigm, 2009). His other writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian (London), Mother Jones, Foreign Policy in Focus, Chronicle of Higher Education, and International Migration, among others. In addition to almost fifteen years of research about Diego Garcia and U.S. military bases abroad, David has conducted research about gentrification in Brooklyn, NY, environmental refugees, homelessness and mental illness, and DC-area basketball. For more information and links to David's writing, see


PhD, Anthropology, Graduate Center, City University of New York
MA, Anthropology, Graduate Center, City University of New York
BA, Sociology, Wesleyan University

Languages Spoken
English and proficient French, Mauritian Kreol, Seselwa (Seychelles Kreol); some Spanish and Italian

Download CV (PDF)

CAS - Anthropology
Hamilton - 311
Hamilton 311
Contact Info
(202) 885-2923 (Office)
(202) 885-1830 (Office)

Send email to David Vine

For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
Anthropology Department
David Vine's website

Partnerships & Affiliations


  • Spring 2017

    • ANTH-635 Race, Gender & Social Justice: Anthropology of Violence & War
    • Description
  • Fall 2017

    • GNED-130 General Education Area 3 Topic: Refugees, War, & Human Rights
    • Description

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

David’s scholarly interests include U.S. foreign and military policy, militarization and human rights, foreign military bases, forced displacement, gentrification, indigenous peoples, race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality, poverty and inequality, the Indian Ocean, urban anthropology, cities and urban development, ethnography and writing ethnography for non-academic audiences, and public anthropology. He is a steering committee member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists; a contributor to and Foreign Policy in Focus; and founding co-editor of the "Public Anthropology Reviews" section in American Anthropologist.

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • 2011  Fund for Constitutional Government, Stewart R. Mott Foundation.  
  • 2009-10  Faculty Research Award, American University, “Bases Abroad: Exploring the Impacts of U.S. Military Bases Outside the United States.   
  • 2004  John F. Kennedy Research Grant, John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, MA.   
  • 2004  Grant-in-Aid of Research, Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Austin, TX.   
  • 2004  Research Travel Grant, Gerald R. Ford Library, Ann Arbor, MI [declined].

Media Appearances

    •    Selected. See and cv for additional appearances.

    •    2013  La Repubblica, Italia “Base di Lancio” delle Guerre USA Solo da Noi le Truppe Non Diminuiscono, October 6. Report on “The Italian Job” article.

    •    2013  Scott Horton Show, Anti-War Radio, “40 Years of Heartbreak” Article, May 30.

    •    2012  Mike Feder Show, Serius/XM Radio, “The Lily-Pad Strategy” Article, August 25.

    •    2012  This Is Hell, WNUR FM Chicago, “The Lily-Pad Strategy” Article, July 21.

    •    2012  Gary Null Show. Progressive Radio Network, “The Lily-Pad Strategy” Article, July 23.

    •    2011  Beyond the Fence, KPRG Guam, September 23.

    •    2009  The Tale of Diego Garcia. The World, PRI/BBC/WGBH, May 28.

    •    2009  The Untold Story of Diego Garcia. PM, Radio Australia, May 19.

    •    2009  Island of Shame [interview and excerpt from the book]. Dispatches, Candadian Broadcasting Corporation, May 11/17 [scroll down the page for the episode].

    •    2008  The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU 88.5 FM, “Social Science and the Pentagon,” August 6. Guest.

    •    2008  Washington Post, “Military’s Social Science Grants Raise Alarm,” Maria Glod, August 3, p. A5. Quoted.

    •    2007  Inside HigherEd, “Questions, Anger and Dissent on Ethics Study,” Scott Jaschik, November 30. Quoted.

    •    2007  The Wide Angle, Newstalk Radio Ireland, Dublin, Ireland, October 21. Interviewed

      •    2007  Time, “Postcard: Diego Garcia,” Massimo Calabresi, September 13. Quoted.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • 2005-2006  Dissertation Year Fellowship, Graduate Center, City University of New York.   
  • 2003  Mellon Fellow in Security Studies, Inter-University Consortium on Security and Humanitarian Action, Ralph Bunche Institute, Graduate Center, CUNY.
  • 2000-2004  Robert Gilleece Fellowship, Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Selected Publications

    •    2015  Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Overseas Are Damaging America and the World. New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt.

    •    2009  Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    •    2009 The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual: On Demilitarizing American Society. Co-edited with Network of Concerned Anthropologists Steering Committee. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

    •    2014  "We're Profiteers": How Military Contractors Reap Billions from U.S. Military Bases Overseas. Monthly Review 66(3).

    •    2013  The Italian Job: How the Pentagon Is Using Your Tax Dollars to Turn Italy Into a Launching Pad for the Wars of Today and Tomorrow., October 3.

    •    2013  Tracing Paul Farmer's Influence. American University College of Arts and Sciences News, May 23. 

    •    2013  Compensating a People for the Loss of Their Homeland: Diego Garcia, the Chagossians, and the Human Rights Standards Damages Model. With Philip Harvey and S. Wojciech Sokolowski. Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights 11, no. 1: 152-185.

    •    2012  The Lily-Pad Strategy: How the Pentagon Is Quietly Transforming Its Overseas Base Empire and Creating a Dangerous New Way of War., July 16.

    •    2012  Married to the Mob? Uncovering the Relationship between the U.S. Military and the Mafia in Southern Italy. Anthropology Now. September 2012.

    •    2012  Bipartisan Strategy Takes Shape to Close Overseas U.S. Bases. 2nd author, with Raymond DuBois. Defense News, January 29.

    •    2011  Public Anthropology in Its Second Decade: Robert Borofsky’s Center for a Public Anthropology. American Anthropologist 113(2): 336-339.

    •    2010  WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Use of Environmentalism by U.S. and UK as Pretext to Keep Natives From Returning to Diego Garcia. Focal Points Blog, December 3.

    •    2009  Britain's Own Guantánamo. The Guardian (London), July 28. Available at

    •    2009  Too Many Overseas Bases. Foreign Policy in Focus, February 25. 

    •    2008  “Give Us Back Diego”: Unity and Division over a Base in the Indian Ocean. With Laura Jeffery. In The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against U.S. Military Posts. Catherine A. Lutz, ed. Pp. 181-217. New York: New York University Press.

    •    2008  “We All Must Have the Same Treatment”: Calculating the Damages of Human Rights Abuses for the People of Diego Garcia. With Philip Harvey and S. Wojciech Sokolowski. In Waging War, Making Peace—Reparations and Human Rights. Barbara Rose Johnston and Susan Slyomovics, eds. Pp. 132-151. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

    •    2008  Homesick for Camp Justice. Mother Jones online, August 22.

    •    2008  The Other Guantánamo. Foreign Policy in Focus, April 3. Electronic document,

    •    2007  Enabling the Kill Chain. Chronicle of Higher Education, November 30: B9-10.

    •    2007  Island of Injustice: The U.S. Has a Moral Duty to the People of Diego Garcia. The Washington Post, January 2: A17.

    •    2003  Billions for Brooklyn—No Questions Asked: The Borough’s New Power Brokers. The Brooklyn Rail, Winter: 2-3. [3rd Place, New York City Independent Press Awards.]  

Professional Presentations

    •    2013  Islands of Shame: The Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia & the Global Struggle for Human Rights. Humanity in Action New York Conference, New York City, September 21.

    •    2013  Diego Garcia and Other Islands of Shame. Moana Nui 2013 conference, Berkeley, CA, June 1.

    •    2013  Base Nation: Do We Need 1,000 Military Bases Abroad? Hinkley Institute for Politics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, March 28.

    •    2013  Unraveling the Pentagon’s Foreign Presence. Fellowship of Reconciliation Militarism Watch Webinar, March 21.

    •    2012  “Lily Pad” Bases and New Cold Wars: Ansbach’s Place in the Global Transformation of U.S. Military Bases. Militärstadt Ansbach - Blick zurück und nach vorn, [Ansbach as a Military Town: Past and Future] conference, June 16, Ansbach, Germany.

    •    2012  The Future of U.S. Military Bases Overseas. American Logistics Association Conference, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, June 12.

    •    2012  Base Displacement: Forced Migration in the Indian Ocean and Beyond. Crossing Borders Convocation: Transcultural Communication and Migration in the Indian Ocean Rim and Caribbean Regions. University of Iowa, March 23.

    •    2011  Islands of Shame: Base Displacement from Diego Garcia to Guam. University of Guam, September 28.

    •    2011  Diego Garcia, Strategic Island Bases, and U.S. Strategy in Asia. Fukuoka City Municipal Building, Fukuoka, Japan, August 1.

    •    2011  Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. Munk Centre for International Studies, Trinity College, University of Toronto, March 10.   

    •    2010  Island of Shame: Methods, Ethics, and Ethnographies of Empire. Department of Anthropology Colloquia Series, Graduate Center, CUNY, New York, May 7.

    •    2010  Diego Garcia, Overseas Military Bases, and Foreign Policy. Washington, DC Area Retired Foreign Service Officers Association, Chevy Chase, MD, April 27.

    •    2009  Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium, July 6. 

    •    2008  Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia. AAA Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Nov 20.   

    •    2008  Development & Destruction in the Indian Ocean: History of the Chagossians. “The Fate of the Chagossians,” VU University, Amsterdam, Aug 22.  2008  The Right to Return: The Secret History of Exile and Empire on Diego Garcia. 

    •    2007  Anthropologists Find another Way in the War on Terror. Washington Association of Practicing Anthropologists, Nov 13.

    •    2007  Making Anthropology a Tool for Progressive Social Change. Department of Anthropology, University of Virginia, Oct 26-27.

    •    2006  “Who Responsible?”: Cause & Prevention in Involuntary Displacement & the Question of “Environmental Refugees.” UNFPA, Marrakech, May 11.

    •    2001  Development or Displacement?: The Brooklyn Academy of Music & Gentrification in Fort Greene. Gotham History Festival, CUNY, Oct 7.


  • 2008  The Struggle: Race and the Presidential Election. October 27.
  • 2008  What Lies Beneath: Uncensored Views about Obama. October 20. 
  • 2007  CultureTube Segment 1: Human Terrain System and War In Iraq.

Professional Services

  • Steering Committee Member. Network for Concerned Anthropologists.
  • Expert witness. Research for US and UK lawsuits brought for Chagossians by attorneys Michael Tigar (Washington, DC) and Richard Gifford (London), 2001-present.
  • Co-editor, "Public Anthropology Reviews," American Anthropologist, 2009-2012.

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