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David Vine Professor Anthropology

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

Languages Spoken
English and decent French, Morisyen (Mauritian Kreol), Seselwa (Seychelles Kreol); some Spanish and Italian
Favorite Place in Washington DC
Malcolm X Park

I am the author of The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State (University of California Press, 2020), which is the third in a trilogy of books about war and peace, US foreign policy, and human rights. The United States of War was a finalist for the 2020 L.A. Times Book Prize for History. The prior books in this trilogy are Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton University Press, 2009) and Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (Metropolitan/Holt, 2015).

More broadly, my work focuses on issues including inequality, social movements, forced displacement, refugees, US military bases abroad, race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and nationalism.

AU students and I have worked together in the AU Public Anthropology Clinic to assist social movements and organizations working on issues related to displacement, war and militarization, environmental damage, and refugees, among others. To learn about the Public Anthropology Clinic, visit:

With the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, I helped write and compile Militarization: A Reader (Duke UP, 2019) and the Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual, or Notes on Demilitarizing American Society (Prickly Paradigm, 2009).

My other writing has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, the Guardian, Mother Jones, Politico, Foreign Policy in Focus, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and International Migration, among others.

I have also conducted research about gentrification in Brooklyn, NY, environmental refugees, homelessness and mental illness, and DC-area basketball. I was previously, briefly, a dancing waiter.

For links to my most recent writing, upcoming and past speaking events, and more information, see and

In the Interest of Transparency: My annual AU salary is $120,869. I'm lucky enough (thanks to my class privilege) to be debt free, and thus I donate all royalties and honoraria from books and speaking appearances to the Chagos Refugees Group and other not-for-profit organizations assisting victims of war and other forms of violence.

See Also
David's Website
Website for David's book "Base Nation"
AU Public Anthropology Clinic
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Partnerships & Affiliations

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

My 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, medical anthropology, urban anthropology, cities and urban development, the Indian Ocean, ethnography and writing ethnography for non-academic audiences, how scholarship can support social movements, and public anthropology.

Professional Services

Expert witness, Research for US and UK lawsuits brought for Chagossians by attorneys Michael Tigar (Washington, DC) and Richard Gifford (London), 2001-present

Board Member and Contributor, Costs of War Project, Brown University

Steering Committee Member, Network for Concerned Anthropologists

Co-editor, "Public Anthropology Reviews," American Anthropologist, 2009-2012


Design and Communication Arts Work

Maps of US Military Bases Abroad,

Lists of U.S. Military Bases Abroad, 1776-2021. Spreadsheets, American University Library Digital Research Archive.

The Chagos Archive. An online human rights documentation archive,, designed by AU students and dedicated to collecting archival materials about the Chagossian people exiled during creation of the US military base on Diego Garcia.

The United States of War Social Media Videos, and

United States of War Coloring Book Maps,

Selected Publications

Major, selected publications. See c.v. and for additional publications.


2020 The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. Oakland: University of California Press. [Finalist, LA Times Book Prize in History 2021; Winner, UC Press Series in Public Anthropology International Book Competition 2018.]

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.

Co-Authored/Edited Books

2019  Militarization: A Reader. Edited by Roberto González, Hugh Gusterson, and Gustaaf Housman, with David Vine, et al. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

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

Articles and Book Chapters

2021  Drawdown: Improving U.S. and Global Security Through Military Base Closures Abroad. With Patterson Deppen and Leah Bolger. Quincy Brief no. 16, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and World BEYOND War, September 20.

2021  Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars, 2021 Update. With Cala Coffman, Katalina Khoury, Madison Lovasz, Helen Bush, Rachael Leduc, and Jennifer Walkup. Costs of War Project, Brown University, August 19.

2021  This Was a Corrupt War to Its Core. The Guardian, August 19.

2021  Why the U.S. Is Trapped in “Endless War.” Big Think, August 12.

2021  Anthropology Must Advance Progressive Social Change. In “Collaborative Manifesto for Political Anthropology in an Age of Crises,” with Gwen Burnyeat, et al. Anthropology News, July 16.

2020  Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars. With Cala Coffman, Katalina Khoury, Madison Lovasz, Helen Bush, Rachael Leduc, and Jennifer Walkup. Costs of War Project, Brown University, September 8.

2020  Unpacking the Invisible Military Backpack: 56 Suggestions for Teaching about War. Radical Teacher. Vol. 117 (August).

2020  What 9/11 Taught Me about COVID-19. Anthro{dendum}. April 27.

2019  Reckoning with the Costs of War: It’s Time to Take Responsibility. The Hill, November 13.

2019  Military Spending Has Many Points of Contention: Closing Overseas Bases Isn’t One of Them. With Medea Benjamin, John Tierney, and Col. (Ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson. The Hill, July 17.

2019  No Bases? How Social Movements against U.S. Military Bases Abroad Are Challenging Militarization and Militarism. Current Anthropology 60, supp. 19, “Cultures of Militarism,” edited by Catherine Besteman and Hugh Gusterson.

2019  Troubling Past, Uncertain Future: How Disputed Islands, a US Military Base, and an Exiled People’s Fate Reflect a Transforming World. The Diplomat, July 1.

2018  Islands of Imperialism: Military Bases and the Ethnography of U.S. Empire in the Middle East. In Ethnographies of U.S. Empire, edited by Carole McGranahan and John Collins, 249-269. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

2018  After Kavanaugh’s Confirmation, Men Must Do More. The Eagle, November 16.

2017  Forty-five Blows Against Democracy: How U.S. Military Bases Back Dictators, Autocrats, and Military Regimes., May 16.

2016  Everyone Has the Right to Live on Their Island. Why Not Us? Foreign Policy in Focus, December 6.

2016  Doubling Down on a Failed Strategy: The Pentagon’s Dangerous “New” Base Plan., January 14.

2015  "My Body Was Not Mine, But the U.S. Military’s”: Inside the Disturbing Sex Industry Thriving around America’s Bases. Politico, November 1.   

2015  Garrisoning the Globe: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Undermine National Security and Harm Us All., September 13.

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

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

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.]

Media Appearances

Some major recent appearances only. See and CV above for other appearances.

2022  AJ+. Why 90% of Foreign Military Bases Are American, January 12. Featured.

2021  Democracy Now! United States of War: How AUKUS Nuclear Submarine Deal Could Inflame Tension, Provoke War with China. September 23. Guest.

2021  USA Today. “A Reckoning Is Near”: America Has a Vast Overseas Military Empire. Does It Still Need It? February 25.

2021  Johnny Harris Videos. The US Military is Everywhere, February 24.

2020  New York Times. At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced by America’s War on Terror, September 8. Quoted, data used as source for article.

2020  Costs of War: 37 Million Displaced by the U.S. "War on Terror" since 9/11, Democracy Now, September 11. Guest.

2019  Al Jazeera. “Did the UK steal the Chagos Islands?” May 14. Guest.

2019  Newsweek. "Russia Asks Why It Should Leave Venezuela When U.S. Military Bases Cover the Whole World,” April 3. Base Nation map used.

2019 "Is the United States about to Lose Control of Its Secretive Diego Garcia Military Base?" March 10. Quoted.

2019 "Bases, Bases, Everywhere... Except in the Pentagon’s Report: According to Author David Vine, There Could Be Hundreds of Off-the-Books Military Bases around the World," January 11. Featured.  

2019  Another Paradise. Directed by Olivier Magis. Clin d’oeil Films (Belgium).

2018  Newsweek, “V-J Day: U.S. Military Power in Asia Grew after World War II, But Do We Still Need Bases There?” August 22. Quoted.

2018  Los Angeles Times, “A Half-Century after Being Uprooted for a Remote U.S. Naval Base, These Islanders Are Still Fighting to Return.” August 14. Quoted.

2016 Cultural Anthropology: A Toolkit for a Global Age (W.W. Norton), Kenneth J. Guest. Two-page profile.

2016 Economist, “Go Home, Yankee,” August 13-19.

2016 Pivot TV, Truth and Power, “Camp Justice,” March 18. Profiled.

2016 NPR, Here and Now, January 27.

2015 NPR, On Point with Tom Ashbrook, “A New String of Military Bases Abroad?” December 14.

2015 NPR, To the Point, “Should the US Rethink the Huge Cost of Its Military Bases?” September 16.

2015 CSPAN-TV, “Book Discussion on Base Nation,” August 26. Book talk at Politics & Prose, Washington, DC.

2015 NPR, All Things Considered, “Do America’s Military Bases Abroad Help Or Hinder Global Security?” August 23.