A US federal law prohibiting the provision of "material support" or resources to terrorist groups has broad implications for anthropologists and other academics working with groups who may be designated as terrorists and the populations that support them or live under their influence. The broad scope and vague language of the law raises the possibility that individuals engaging in some forms of humanitarian aid, charitable giving, peace-building or academic activities could be prosecuted for offering material aid to terrorists. Problems with the material support law are critically examined as are the dangers faced by anthropologists whose ordinary research, writing and speaking activities might be seen as violating the law. Historical context and the chilling effect on anthropological research and analysis are considered.
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