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Militarizing academia? UK university receives £400k from UK military for ‘cultural advice’ – report

Militarizing academia? UK university receives £400k from UK military for ‘cultural advice’ – report
The British MoD has reportedly paid a UK university at least £400,000 ($500,000) for “cultural advice” on how to operate in former colonies, leading to accusations of the “militarization of academia.”

The freedom of information (FOI) requests obtained by student group, Decolonizing Our Minds, revealed that hundreds of thousands of pounds was paid by the British military to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London since the end of 2016, according to the Morning Star.

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The money has been dished out by the MoD’s Defense Cultural Specialist Unit (DCSU), a body set up in 2010 after the failed wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s gone towards academic staff teaching the history and culture of former colonies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to military personnel, according to the paper.

The revelations have prompted an angry response from a spokesperson for SOAS Students’ Union, who branded the university’s engagement with the military as “outrageous.”

We would like to join the Decolonizing Our Minds collective in condemning SOAS for supporting the militarization of academia. It is outrageous that... the school is still engaging in such projects…

In February, a SOAS anthropologist gave military staff an overview of the “war in the Sahel” region – an area covering a number of countries across the African continent.

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On Monday, the now-former defense secretary Penny Mordaunt announced that 250 British troops were being deployed to Mali as peacekeepers “in recognition of the increasing instability in the Sahel region.”

A spokesperson for SOAS rejected allegations that they were “militarizing higher education or perpetuating a colonial approach between the UK and other nations.”

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