Anthropologists who do research in regions in which armed conflict breaks out between ethnic or religious-heritage communities are often called upon to give opinions on the events there. When such a conflict becomes the subject of international moral discourses, the pressure on scholars to conform to dominant positions is acute, and can lead to analyses that are not well grounded in what can be reasonably understood as facts on the ground, but that adhere to moralizing discourses that not only favour one side over another, but that depict as illegitimate, and often immoral, discussions that do anything more than condemn the other side. In the 1990s, the wars in ex-Yugoslavia led to conflicts between scholars that were too often phrased as ad hominem moral disqualifications of those taking unpopular positions, even when the latter’s views were well grounded in what could be learned about the conflict. This article is a reflection by a veteran of such ad hominem attacks by scholars whose concerns were not with the accuracy of the writings they attacked, but rather with whether the positions assailed were supposedly in conflict with moral(ising) stances. The issues are not new, or unique to the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia, so perhaps this personal account can be of some relevance to others who may face similar issues.


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How to Cite

Hayden, R. (2023). MINERVA’S OWL FLEES FROM GUNFIRE:: AN AFTER ACTION REPORT FROM A VETERAN OF THE SCHOLARLY WARS ABOUT EX-YUGOSLAVIA. Ethnologia Polona, 44. https://doi.org/10.23858/ethp.2023.44.3387