Speaker to Discuss Year as Embedded Professor

Published on April 23, 2016

You’ve heard of embedded reporters on the world’s battlefields.

But embedded professors?

Dr. Katherine Blue Carroll will visit Eastern Kentucky University on Tuesday, May 3, to address “What Do You Bring to the Fight? A Year in Baghdad as an Embedded Professor.” Her talk, free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 108 of John Grant Crabbe Main Library.

Carroll joined Vanderbilt University in 2001 as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Science. Since 2006, she has served in the Department of Political Science, where she directs the undergraduate program in public policy studies and teaches courses on terrorism, political Islam, Middle East politics, and the War in Iraq.

From 2008 to 2009, she worked as a social scientist on a human terrain team in Baghdad. Human terrain teams were established by the U.S. military in 2006 to provide expert social and political advice to brigade commanders and soldiers on the ground in war zones. Ultimately, a group of professors, many of whom had no direct experience of either the U.S. military or their destinations, donned body armor and joined brigade combat teams, hoping to lend their assistance.

The result of the experiment was sometimes tragic, sometimes comic and often scandalous, as many commentators have noted. But sometimes it also succeeded, though perhaps in ways not foreseen by its founders. Drawing on her own experience as a human terrain team social scientist in Iraq and on emerging accounts of others’ work in the program, Carroll will help her audience understand what use an academic can be on the battlefield and whether, in the future, more professors should be prepared to go to war.

To read more of Carroll's story, visit www.nashvillescene.com/nashville/katherine-carroll-the-battlefield-professor/Content?oid=1465057.

Since returning from Iraq, Carroll has continued to focus on various aspects of Iraqi culture and politics, as well as on the interaction of the American military with Iraqi society. She has also worked as a consultant for Decisive Analytics Corporation, a defense contractor, and has given several invited talks on her experience in Iraq and on Arab culture and politics to military audiences.

The EKU program is sponsored by the University’s Asian studies and intelligence studies programs, the Student Government Association, and the Bluegrass State Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence.

The University’s Asian studies program offers a minor (18 credits) and a certificate (12 credits). For more information, visit asianstudies.eku.edu or contact Dr. Minh Nguyen at minh.nguyen@eku.edu.