Danny Hoffman’s new essay explores the expansive role of militaries as “armed first responders,” which has become “the new normal of humanitarian intervention.” Based on his research on both the US and Liberian armies as they intervened in the 2014 Ebola crisis, Hoffman shows the connections between the actions of the two forces. In particular, he examines how the focus on training Liberian forces to counter violent extremism by the Americans shaped how the Liberian military, with tragic consequences, approached its role in containing the Ebola epidemic. This essay is cross-posted on Kujenga Amani, the digital forum of the African Peacebuilding Network of the Social Science Research Council.
Danny Hoffman is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Washington. He is the author of two books on contemporary Sierra Leone and Liberia, The War Machines: Young Men and Violence in Sierra Leone and Liberia (2011) and Monrovia Modern: Urban Form and Political Imagination in Liberia (2017), both published with Duke University Press. Hoffman was the recipient of two fellowships from the SSRC in 2001: the Global Security and Cooperation research fellowship and the International Dissertation Research Fellowship.