Hugh Gusterson

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Hugh Gusterson
Nationality British
Alma mater Cambridge University (B.A.)
University of Pennsylvania (M.A.)
Stanford University (Ph.D.)
Scientific career
Fields Anthropology
Institutions George Washington University
George Mason University

Hugh Gusterson is an anthropologist at George Washington University,.[1] His work focuses on nuclear culture, international security and the anthropology of science. His articles have appeared in the LA Times,[2] the Boston Globe, the Boston Review[3] the Washington Post,[4] the Chronicle of Higher Education,[5] Foreign Policy,[6] and American Scientist.[7] He is a regular contributor to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and has a regular column in Sapiens, an anthropology journal.[8]


Hugh Gusterson grew up in England. He has a B.A. in history from Cambridge University, a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania (as a Thouron Scholar), and a PhD in anthropology from Stanford University. He taught at MIT from 1992-2006 before moving to George Mason University. One of the founders of the anthropology of science,[citation needed] his early work was on the culture of nuclear weapons scientists and antinuclear activists. More recently he has written on teenage use of alcohol.[9] and counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan.[citation needed] A leading critic of attempts to recruit anthropologists for counterinsurgency work, he is one of the founders of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists.[10]

Gusterson served on the American Association of Anthropology's Executive Board from 2009–12, co-chaired the committee that rewrote the Association's ethics code 2012, and currently serves on the Association's Task Force on Engagement with Israel/Palestine. He is President-elect of the American Ethnological Society.

He is married to Allison Macfarlane, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). They have two children.


  • Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War, University of California Press, 1998, ISBN 978-0-520-21373-9
  • People of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex, University of Minnesota Press, 2004, ISBN 978-0-8166-3860-4
  • Drone Remote Control Warfare, MIT Press, 2016, ISBN 978-0-2620-3467-8


  • Why America's top pundits are wrong: anthropologists talk back, editors Catherine Lowe Besteman, Hugh Gusterson, University of California Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-520-24356-9
  • The insecure American: how we got here and what we should do about it, editors Hugh Gusterson, Catherine Lowe Besteman, University of California Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-520-25969-0
  • Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger, editors Jutta Weldes, Mark Laffey, Hugh Gusterson, and Raymond Duvall, University of Minnesota Press, 1999.
  • The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual: Or, Notes on Demilitarizing Anthropology, edited by Network of Concerned Anthropologists, Prickly Paradigm Press, 2009


  • "Surprising Fact about Political Views of Nuclear Weapons Scientists", March 1, 2015 talk at the Helen Caldicott Symposium: The Dynamics of Possible Nuclear Extinction
  • "Who are nuclear weapons scientists?", July 6, 2016 talk at TedxFoggyBottom at the George Washington University


  • "Remembering Hiroshima at a Nuclear Weapons Laboratory", Living with the bomb: American and Japanese cultural conflicts in the Nuclear Age, editors Laura Elizabeth Hein, Mark Selden,M.E. Sharpe, 1997, ISBN 978-1-56324-967-9
  • "Nuclear Weapons Testing", Naked science: anthropological inquiry into boundaries, power, and knowledge, editor Laura Nader, Psychology Press, 1996, ISBN 978-0-415-91465-9
  • "Becoming a Weapons Scientist", Technoscientific imaginaries: conversations, profiles, and memoirs, editor George E. Marcus, University of Chicago Press, 1995, ISBN 9780226504445
  • "A Pedagogy of Diminishing Returns: Scientific Involution across Three Generations of Nuclear Weapons Science", Pedagogy and the practice of science: historical and contemporary perspectives, editor David Kaiser, MIT Press, 2005, ISBN 978-0-262-11288-8
  • "Missing the End of the Cold War in International Security", Cultures of insecurity: states, communities, and the production of danger, editor Jutta Weldes, U of Minnesota Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-8166-3308-1


  • "AE Interviews Hugh Gusterson (George Washington University): A conversation on his latest book Drone: Remote Control Warfare"
  • Conversations in [email protected] (Episode #10): Hugh Gusterson

Other Scholarly References



  1. ^ "Hugh Gusterson - The Department of Anthropology - The George Washington University". 
  2. ^ GUSTERSON, HUGH (29 July 2001). "If U.S. Dumps Test Ban Treaty, China Will Rejoice" – via LA Times. 
  3. ^ Intern (29 June 2012). "The Auditors". Boston Review. 
  4. ^ "McDonnell should beware of donors with gifts". Washington Post. 
  5. ^ Gusterson, Hugh (23 September 2012). "Want to Change Academic Publishing? Just Say No" – via The Chronicle of Higher Education. 
  6. ^ "When Professors Go to War". 
  7. ^ "Hugh Gusterson (Biography)". American Scientist Online. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  8. ^ "Columnist: Hugh Gusterson". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Network of Concerned Anthropologists". Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
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