Burke’s writing combines ethnographic fieldwork with her training as a folklorist in books that document the lives of Midwestern farm families (Plain Talk and Back in Those Days), female inmates in U.S. prisons (Vision Narratives of Women in Prison), and members of the armed services (Camp All-American, Hanoi Jane, and The High-and-Tight). For the past decade and a half, she has documented the experiences of members of our all-volunteer military, particularly those “boots on the ground” who have been sent on repeated deployments to wage contemporary wars of counterinsurgency. In 2008, Burke embedded with a combat unit in Iraq and published articles on the dangers faced by local Iraqi interpreters working for American military units, on the threats to the few remaining independent journalists working in northern Iraq, and on the U. S. Army’s controversial Human Terrain System. In 2010, she took a leave from her faculty position at the University of California, Irvine to train and then deploy as a cultural advisor to the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. 

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