The University of Chicago Press and the Wenner-Gren Foundation collaborate to produce SAPIENS

The University of Chicago Press and the Wenner-Gren Foundation have expanded their long-standing relationship to include collaboration on SAPIENS, a free online magazine that is dedicated to sharing anthropological research with a public readership. The new initiative supports the missions of both the Press and the Foundation, while maintaining SAPIENS’ editorial independence.

As the largest and one of the oldest university presses in the United States, the University of Chicago Press will provide SAPIENS with economies of scale and expertise in scholarly marketing and administrative services. This will allow the SAPIENS editorial team to focus on developing the stories and writers that serve their wide readership and the Wenner-Gren Foundation’s commitment to broadening the reach of anthropology.

“SAPIENS has been successful in demonstrating the relevance of scholarship to the broader public and we’re proud to align with the Wenner-Gren Foundation—our partner on Current Anthropology since 1971—to serve the academy and the public in new and timely ways,” said Journals Division Director Ashley Towne.

SAPIENS launched in 2016 with the goal of transforming how the public understands anthropology, themselves, and the people around them. Contributors to SAPIENS include anthropologists and science journalists who explore the human experience through news coverage, features, commentaries, reviews, and photo essays all grounded in anthropological research. The articles published on SAPIENS.org are read by millions of non-anthropologists worldwide, and in syndication through publications like ScientificAmerican.com, TheAtlantic.com, and DiscoverMagazine.com.

“We’re so excited about SAPIENS’ continued growth.  We have a smart team of editors and writers.  They’ve built a broad audience through engaging and relevant writing, an active social media presence, and robust podcast programming,” said Wenner-Gren Foundation President Danilyn Rutherford, Ph.D. “The magazine has now reached over 8 million readers.  With its reputation for excellence, the University of Chicago Press will help us build on this momentum and amplify the impact of anthropology in the wider world.”

Interested readers and potential contributors can learn more about SAPIENS at sapiens.org, and at upcoming conferences hosted by the Society for American Archaeology, the Law and Society Association, the American Sociological Association, the American Anthropological Association, and the American Schools of Oriental Research.

The University of Chicago Press publishes more than 80 scholarly journals that cover a wide range of disciplines, from the humanities and the social sciences to the life and physical sciences. In addition to working with departments and faculty of the University of Chicago, the University of Chicago Press publishes influential scholarly journals on behalf of learned and professional societies and associations, foundations, museums, and other not-for-profit organizations. All are peer-reviewed publications, with readerships that include scholars, scientists, and practitioners, as well as other interested, educated individuals.

The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc. is a private operating foundation dedicated to the advancement of anthropology throughout the world. Located in New York City, it is one of the major international funding sources for anthropological research and is actively engaged with the anthropological community through its varied grant, fellowship, conference, and capacity building programs. It founded and continues to publish Current Anthropology and disseminates the results of its symposia through open access supplementary issues of this international journal. It also publishes SAPIENS, an award-winning open access magazine read by millions of non-anthropologists worldwide. The Foundation works to support all branches of anthropology and closely related disciplines concerned with human biological and cultural origins, development, and variation.

Engaged Anthropology Grant: Robin Nelson

Dr. Robin Nelson, (left), and research assistant, Bridgett Robinson

In 2011 Dr. Robin Nelson received a Post-Ph.D. Research Grant to aid research on “Residential Context, Non-Kin Care and Child Health Outcomes in Jamaica”. After being awarded an Engaged Anthropology Grant in 2016 Dr. Nelson had the opportunity to return to the field to carry out her project, “Talking Back: Community Dialogues, Residential Care Settings, and Child Thriving in Jamaica”.

In 2010, I began wondering if we could study contemporary manifestations of parental investment and alloparenting when the home, as it is typically constructed in Caribbean communities, is unavailable. With this project, “Residential Context and Non-Kin Care in Jamaica,” I investigated the growth and development of children living in state-regulated institutional care settings, or children’s homes, as compared to their peers living in familial homes. Over the course two field seasons my research assistant, Bridgett Robinson, and I collected ethnographic and biometric data from over 200 children living in a variety of care settings in Manchester Parish, Jamaica.

Infographic shared with directors of the children’s homes in Manchester Parish and the Child Protection and Family Services Agency in Kingston Jamaica

Families in Jamaica, like their counterparts around the world, are fluid and dynamic entities responding to external stressors and interpersonal dynamics. Due to its colonial history and proximity to the United States, Jamaica’s economy is largely dependent upon the exportation of goods and laborers to other, often larger, countries. Economic shocks, the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar, and the policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have created systems that have left many Jamaican families economically insecure. Financial precarity and the out-migration of adult women, coupled with long held practices of communal caregiving have resulted in many children being cared for by extended family. When family members are unable to provide appropriate care or when children experience neglect or abuse from either their parents or extended kin, state-regulated children’s homes often become a child’s primary home setting.

In this study, we found that children living in familial homes were experiencing better growth and health, as assessed by measures of height, weight, skinfold thickness, and immunological function, than their peers living in children’s homes. However, the residents of one children’s home had growth outcomes that were comparable to their age and gender matched peers living in familial homes. These growth outcomes were correlated to the receipt of supportive psycho-social care. Additionally, girls were generally healthier than their male peers at both the initial period of data collection, and two years later.

Meeting with an official at a children’s home in Manchester Parish, Jamaica

With this Engaged Anthropology Grant, I returned Manchester Parish and Kingston Jamaica in 2018 to disseminate the findings from my 2011-2014 study on the lives of children living in institutional care settings. Over the course of a few weeks, I shared an infographic of my findings, and my published articles with officials at the Child Protection and Family Services Agency in Kingston, Jamaica, and the directors of the children’s homes that were involved in my study. I also spoke to community members about the findings in several informal meetings. The Child Protection and Family Services Agency in Kingston, Jamaica is the primary government organization responsible for the well-being of children throughout the country. In this capacity, they both monitor reports of neglect and abuse of children living in familial homes, and assess the quality of care provided to children who have been removed from natal homes and placed in institutional or foster care settings. It was vital for me to share my findings with these officials as they provided permissions for the collection of data in children’s homes throughout the country.

While only 320 square miles in size, Manchester Parish in the central mountainous regions of Jamaica, is home to six children’s homes. Qualitative information gathered from the directors and staff of these children’s homes provided key information central to the framing of the findings of this study. These interviews were central to both the completion the study and analyses of these data.  In meetings with these directors during this return trip, I learned of continued challenges facing the directors of the children’s homes including limited funding, and the need for clinical psychological support. I also learned of on-going successes including the creation of new facilities, high achieving student residents, and trips abroad for some of the children.

The development of The Engaged Anthropology Grant, and my receipt of this funding marked a shift in the way that I both conceive of and plan my research projects. By overtly valuing public research, The Wenner-Gren Foundation enables anthropologists who are committed to this kind of work to actively involve the publics in our research. For me, this means being provided the opportunity to both explain my findings to directors of children’s homes who supported my study, and gaining the opportunity to receive their valuable insights about this research. It also enabled me to return to the community and meet with families who granted me entree into their homes. It has informed the development of future projects. An ethically minded Anthropology requires a commitment to working in collaboration with community members rather than simply “in” communities, and engaging with the public about both the development of our research and our findings.

NYAS Lecture 4/20: COVID-19 and Anthropology: Disease, Social Justice, and Well Being

Image “COVID Message in chalk on pavement” from March 31, 2020 by Ballofstring. File licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Full information on wikimedia commons page for the image.

On April 20th The New York Academy of Sciences will be hosting a webinar entitled “COVID-19 and Anthropology: Disease, Social Justice, and Well Being” featuring the following panelists:

Shirley Lindenbaum

Merrill Singer

James H. Jones

Thurka Sangaramoorthy

Amber Wutich

Tonya Taylor, Assistant Professor, PhD/MS, College of Medicine, SUNY Downstate will serve as moderator.

The lecture will begin at 6:30pm (ET). Webinar access via RSVP, live stream on Facebook.

Join us for a webinar focused on our current pandemic (COVID-19), contextualizing the global comparative, disease and treatment, issues of social and economic inequity, immigrant health, questions of stigma, and policy.

Panelists:

Shirley Lindenbaum (Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology, The Graduate Center, CUNY), Merrill Singer (Professor Emeritus of Medical Anthropology, The University of Connecticut and in Community Medicine at The University of Connecticut Health Center), James H. Jones (Associate Professor of Earth System Science & Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University), Thurka Sangaramoorthy (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Maryland), and Amber Wutich (President’s Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Global Health in Arizona State University’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change).

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship: Laura Coppens

Wenner-Gren is proud to present the following blog post and trailer from Laura Coppens who in 2018 received a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship to aid filming on Taste of Hope.

Taste of Hope I Official Trailer from Srikandi Productions on Vimeo.

Taste of Hope

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

‘Taste of Hope’ is a feature-length observational film and tells the fascinating and complex story of a workers’ cooperative in the small town of Gémenos. The film aims to convey how precarious workers are making sense of economic uncertainty in the midst of the ongoing crisis of capitalism by cultivating hope and desires for a potentially better future. Where idealism clashes with harsh reality, I observed the factory workers as they faced inevitable challenges. In 2010, Unilever announced the closing of the profitable Fralib tea processing and packaging plant in the South of France. After 1336 days of resistance, the workers celebrated their victory against the giant multinational and became owners of the factory. Now, with the take-over of the company and production under workers’ control, a new struggle has begun. Can this alternative project be viable within an oversaturated, highly competitive market? For two years, I accompanied the workers in their daily struggles. Between general assemblies, cash-flow problems and tea tastings with potential clients, deception, and conflict emerge. Ultimately, the documentary poses the question: How do we need to work today so we might live in a better world tomorrow?

‘Taste of Hope’ premiered at the Visions du Réel film festival in April in 2019 and won two awards: the Jury Price of the SSA/ SUISSIMAGE and the Zonta Award for the most promising female filmmaker to watch out for. After one year of successful festival run, the film continues to be screened in mainstream and ethnographic film festivals all over the world.

The film emerged from my ethnographic research about different manifestations of what can be called ‘economies of hope.’ The Postdoctoral Fellowship for 2018-2019 allowed me to work on the editing and post-production of the film and to explore visual modalities for telling the tale of a hopeful worker’s struggle. ‘Taste of Hope’ builds on recent documentaries that address the resurged phenonemon of autogestion in the South of Europe, such as Next Stop Utopia (2005) in Greece and The Nothing Factory (2017) in Portugal. However, both these films focus on the actual strike and factory occupation and do not show the daily life under worker’s control. I have used the film medium as a research method to explore and capture the processes and social interactions through which political subjects come into being affectively and hope is materialized. Through audio and images, I aim at conveying the hopes and imaginations of the workers and demonstrate how affect opens up new emancipatory possibilities in the domain of workers’ self-management.

As I further show in the film, the hope invested in a workers’ economy is not only an aspiration but also consists of a tangible dimension, implying that the political and economic future possibilities inherent in workers’ control projects are also always realized in the present. This sphere of social and political activity can be described as a workers’ economy of hope in which becoming knowledgeable about the economy and autogestion, in addition to building and maintaining solidarity networks as well as heightening awareness of ecological and democratic modes of production, are important sites in which individual and collective hopes are materialized. Thus, hope is produced and entailed in a wide range of workers’ knowledge practices like work and labor processes or product development, among others. Self-managed factories are sites of political struggle that must continually be enacted. It is precisely this process of enactment on a daily basis, the conceptualization of autogestion as a social practice and political activity that is the focus of my film.

Past and scheduled Screenings (selection):

  • Visions du Réel, Nyon (world premiere) | Winner Prix du Jury SSA/ SUISSIMAGE & Prix ZONTA
  • Kaleidoskop Film Festival, Vienna
  • Open City Documentary Festival, London
  • DokuBaku International Documentary Film Festival, Baku | Winner Audience Award
  • Margaret Mead Film Festival, NYC | Nominated for the Margaret Mead Filmmakers Award
  • DOK Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival, Leipzig |Nominated for the Healthy Workplace Award
  • Duisburger Filmwoche, Duisburg
  • Ethnographic Film Days, Bremen
  • FIPADOC, Biarritz | Nominated for the Impact Award
  • Soluthurner Filmtage, Solothurn
  • DocPoint Helsinki
  • Festival Millenium, Brussels
  • Dokfilmwoche Hamburg
  • ”Between Women Filmmakers” Caravan/ Cairo International Women’s Film Festival, Bilbao
  • International Documentary Film Festival ELBE DOCK | Competition

Reviews (selection):

“Unobtrusive and humane, ‘Taste of Hope’ is reminiscent of American documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s studies of institutional cultures and workplaces. Proper to her training as a social anthropologist, director Laura Coppens is keenly sensitive to place and people. This skill for observation comes through in the film’s treatment of the factory as a unique environment, as well as its attention to daily rhythms and the interpersonal dynamics of people.”

– Stephani Lam, Film and Visual Studies, Harvard University

“Instead of making grand gestures or political statements, the filmmaker works with the camera and with a thoughtful editing in order to understand how to weave together new possibilities of communal existence. The result is a superbly crafted observational exercise. A little manual of self-defense and resistance in the face of a neoliberalism that wishes for workers to keep their heads down. A taste of hope indeed.

– Giona A. Nazarro, programmer and film critic

“The fact that the filmmaker is allowed to be present when delicate topics are discussed is a testament to the relationship of trust that she has built up during the two years of shooting. The example of ScopTI shows how existence in a market economy demands compromises – which is not new, but it is always important to discuss together. After all, the wishful thinking about how workers’ self-managed companies should function cannot be reflected often enough under real circumstances, which are very different depending on the industry, size etc. ‘Taste of Hope’ is quite well suited to contribute to a solidarity exchange in movements and networks of collective economies.”

– Elisabeth Voss, economist and publicist

“Employee-owned business are the future. There have been too many narratives about people losing jobs and security lately, and this is extremely important to acknowledge. But we also need stories that instill hope, that show that there are other options available. ‘Taste of Hope’ is an incredibly smart film, that it doesn’t only concentrate on the force of spirit that led the ScopTI employees to become their own bosses: it also asks ‘what’s next?.’ Coppens arrived to film the factory when the rush of resistance had already worn off, and the more mundane, but crucial challenges started adding layers to the new labor system at place. This way, ‘Taste of Hope’ became a more complex, thought-provoking case study of workers reclaiming their agency, with emphasis on the essential practical side of things. Necessary viewing for those interested in how labor relationships will evolve in the future, with a delightful field trip to a tea-making factory as a bonus.”

– Katya Kazbek, Editor-in-chief supamodu.com

Link to website: https://tasteofhope-film.com

 

COVID-19 and Wenner-Gren Foundation Funding

At the Wenner-Gren Foundation, we are deeply concerned about the impact of the global coronavirus epidemic on those we serve.   It’s harder than ever to be an anthropologist, and yet our research is more relevant than ever.   We have an ethical duty as a Foundation to protect the safety of the anthropologists we fund and the broader communities affected by their projects.  But we also have an ethical duty to help our discipline survive and thrive.   Given our limited resources, we are being forced to make hard choices.  At the same time, we are eager to support anthropologists who are seeking new ways to do their work in these strange and uncertain times.

Over the coming months, we will take the following measures so we can continue to award grants and fellowships:

  • We are proceeding with our review of applications for the Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grants submitted at the November 1, 2019 deadline. Applicants will have an opportunity to submit additional information on how their plans have changed.  The Foundation will be in touch directly with each eligible applicant with more information on the process and timeline.

 

  • With much regret, we will not be accepting applications for Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grants at the May 1, 2020 deadline. This is a temporary pause.   We will be accepting applications for Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research grants at the November 1, 2020 deadline.   We remain committed to funding the research of anthropologists at every stage in their careers.  For more information, see the Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grant program pages.

 

  • We will be accepting applications for the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship at the May 1, 2020 deadline. Candidates for the Fejos are only eligible if they are able to complete their project safely and ethically, which may preclude applicants requiring additional research and/or filming.  For more information see the Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship, and Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship program pages.

 

  • We are launching a Global Initiatives Program that will support collaborative, capacity-building projects of benefit to the discipline. We encourage anyone interested in collaborating on a topic connected to the pandemic’s impact on anthropology to submit a letter of intent at the May 15, 2020 deadline.   For more information see the Global Initiatives Program page.

 

  • We will only be accepting Workshop Grant applications at our June 1, 2020 deadline. We will only be funding virtual events.  Applicants for Conference Grants should wait until our December 1, 2020 deadline, when we will run an expedited review process for events held in 2021. For more information see the Conference and Workshop Grants program page.

 

  • We will accept Wadsworth International Fellowship renewal applications at the July 1, 2020 deadline. For more information see the Wadsworth International Fellowship program page. We will accept Wadsworth African Fellowship applications at the December 15, 2020 deadline.  Click here for more information regarding the Wadsworth African Fellowship.

 

  • We will accept applications for Engaged Anthropology Research Grants at the August 1, 2020 deadline. However, we will only fund projects that the researcher can undertake safely and ethically, most likely through virtual forms of engagement.  See the Engaged Anthropology Grant program page for more information.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.  In the meantime, we wish you and yours the best.   Please be well.

Wenner-Gren Coronavirus Guidance

As a Foundation, we have an ethical obligation to ensure that the research we fund is not detrimental to the broader communities affected by our work. In light of the emergence and spread of COVID-19, we are asking our active grantees to suspend research activities involving face-to-face contact at this time.  This should not come as a surprise, as many countries have called for social distancing as a means of slowing the spread of the disease.

Please know that we are committed to working with our grantees on modifications to methodologies, budgets, and timelines to respond to their particular needs.  If you need to leave your field site and return home to ensure your safety, and the safety of your interlocutors, please feel free to do so and contact us afterwards.

Conference and Workshop grant recipients should modify their plans in light of the evolving situation.  No meetings should be held at this time.  We will work with grant recipients who wish to reschedule their event for a later date.

If you have any questions about an active grant or fellowship, please contact the Grant Administrator for your program directly.

If you have a question regarding a pending or future application please contact applications@wennergren.org.  Please note should your pending application be approved and a delay is needed, we will work with you at that time.

 

Meet Our Wadsworth African Fellows: Leyya Hoosen

This month the Foundation would like to introduce Leyya Hoosen, who thanks to the Wadsworth African Fellowship will continue her PhD training in social anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, under the supervision of Matthew Wilhelm-Solomon. Read the previous entry in this series here.

Islam in Johannesburg, South Africa, is shaped by multiple historical and contemporary migrations. While the Sunni sect of Islam predominates here, dynamic movements of Muslims into the city create fast growing populations of other sects of the religion, particularly Shia and Sufi influences. This brings great diversity to everyday practices of the religion. In addition, the advent of new forms of media and digital technologies reshapes everyday practices by making new connections and modifying gendered identities and spiritual ontologies. My research explores these re-shapings of narratives of Islamic practice in the context of the emergence of the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) with a view to unearthing ways in which Islam is re-imagined through future narratives.

To address the changes that come with 4IR, particularly in the context of the Global South and in a climate of severe Islamophobia, we need to think beyond simply the commercial implications of 4IR in order to understand its implications for narratives of lived experience. I explore (re)interpretations of Islam through its changing and adaptive practices, through ways in which Islam is (re)thought in the present and for the future, and how these (re)imaginings prompt a series of adaptations to lived religious practices. I focus on the influence of media and digital technologies on how Muslims engage with each other and with their religion as they reshape it to fit their current context. My study is located in diverse sites of Johannesburg which are underrepresented in the literature on Islam in this city.

By pursuing a PhD, I wish to add to local and global academic discourse regarding different and changing practices of Islam in this digital age. In this time of widespread Islamophobia, I wish to offer narratives that expand our understandings of Islam and how it is practiced and lived. I want to illuminate diverse factors – ranging from theologist and feminist movements to the re-imagination of Islam – which affect the negotiations of identity within Islam. This will enable my role as both a public intellectual in the Islamic community and a critical scholar of the severely under-researched new forms of Islam in South Africa in the wider context of digital transformation.

Conference Program Associate Position Announcement

 

Conference Program Associate
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc.
New York, NY

The Wenner-Gren Foundation is a private operating foundation dedicated to the advancement of anthropology throughout the world.  Located in New York City, it is one of the major international funding sources for anthropological research and is actively engaged with the anthropological community through its grant, fellowship, conference, publication, and capacity building programs. We are committed to playing a leadership role in anthropology.  We help anthropologists advance anthropological knowledge, build sustainable careers, and amplify the impact of anthropology within the wider world. We are dedicated to broadening the conversation in anthropology to reflect the full diversity of the field.

The Foundation is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for all employees and seeks to recruit from a broad pool of talented candidates. We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply for this position. Addressing the precarity of anthropology and anthropologists is a key element of our mission, which we will take into account in the selection process.


Position Description

 The Conference Program Associate is responsible for all aspects of Wenner-Gren’s broad slate of academic gatherings.  As an integral member of a small, hardworking staff, the Associate oversees the Conference and Workshop Program, which provides funding to organizers of small working sessions and major international meetings, and works with the President to host Wenner-Gren’s Symposia and Seminars, which are designed to foster new conversations in anthropology and lead the discipline into new terrain.  The ideal candidate will have an advanced degree in anthropology, be intellectually curious and discerning, and have an expansive vision of the discipline.  This individual will also be exceedingly well-organized and collegial, and have experience executing the wide range of administrative tasks essential to making an academic meeting a success.  The Conference Program Associate must be an excellent writer, have extraordinary interpersonal skills, and enjoy serving and collaborating with a diverse community of scholars and professionals.

Key Responsibilities

  • Oversee Conference and Workshop Grant Program:
    • Field inquiries.
    • Participate in application review process, collate results, and rank proposals.
    • Cooperate with President in final selection.
    • Communicate results with applicants.
    • Administer grants and evaluate final reports.
    • Update web information and application materials.
    • Participate in program evaluation and long-term planning.

 

  • Oversee Wenner-Gren Symposia:
    • Publicize program and field inquiries
    • Receive and circulate letters of intent with President and Advisory Council.
    • Collect, collate, and circulate feedback from Advisory Council.
    • Lead discussion of proposed themes at Advisory Council meeting.
    • Cooperate with President in theme selection and the recruitment of organizers.
    • Research possible sites, cooperate with President in venue selection, and manage all communications with hotels and vendors.
    • Organize virtual and in person meetings with organizers. Lead discussion of format, venue, and process for refining the theme and selecting participants and paper topics.
    • Manage communications with participants and organizers.
    • Manage travel arrangements for participants and organizers.
    • Collaborate with President and organizers to plan supplemental activities.
    • Join President in representing the Foundation at event. Document proceedings.  Serve as liaison for hotel management and vendors.  Take responsibility for all logistical arrangements and address any issues that arise.
    • Oversee preparation of Symposium papers for publication in Current Anthropology. Recruit reviewers and oversee review process.  Manage deadlines.  Coordinate with organizers, journal editors and staff.
    • Update web information.
    • Participate in program evaluation and long-term planning.

 

  • Oversee Wenner-Gren Seminars:
    • Publicize program and field inquiries.
    • Receive and circulate letters of intent with President and Advisory Council.
    • Collect, collate, and circulate feedback from Advisory Council.
    • Lead discussion of proposed topics at Advisory Council meeting.
    • Cooperate with President in theme selection and recruitment of organizers.
    • Research possible sites, cooperate with President in venue selection, and manage all communications with hotels and vendors.
    • Research and brainstorm with President on possible formats.
    • Organize virtual and in person meetings with organizers. Lead discussion of format, venue, and theme and help the group arrive at a process for developing a list of senior participants, a process for recruiting junior participants, and a description of the roles each participant will play.
    • Manage recruitment of junior participants.
    • Manage communications with participants and organizers.
    • Manage travel arrangements for participants and organizers.
    • Collaborate with President and organizers to plan supplemental activities.
    • Join President in representing the Foundation at event. Document proceedings.  Serve as liaison for hotel management and vendors.  Take responsibility for all logistical arrangements and address any issues that arise.
    • Coordinate follow-up.
    • Update web information.
    • Collaborate with President in program evaluation and long-term planning.

 

  • Assist with the Dissertation Fieldwork and Post-PhD Research Grant Programs:
    • Participate in identification of reviewers.
    • Participate in internal review process.
    • Use data on applications to identify possible Symposium and Seminar themes.

Qualifications and Experience

  • PhD or ABD in anthropology or closely aligned discipline.
  • Track record of service to anthropology.
  • Track record of success in fostering conversation in diverse groups.
  • Proven commitment to an inclusive vision of anthropology.
  • Professional experience in event planning and management.
  • Self-starter with a high degree of energy and careful attention to detail.
  • Highly flexible, creative problem solver, with a strong ability to multi-task.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Excellent social media skills.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills.
  • High level of professionalism and demonstrated good judgement.
  • Superb organizational and time management skills.
  • Proficient or advanced skill in Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, and Outlook).
  • Proficient skill or willingness to learn Salesforce and other event management tools.

Compensation

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.  Benefits package includes 401(k) plan, health insurance, group term life and disability insurance, generous paid time off and flexible work arrangements.

 

How to Apply

Applications for this position are being accepted online via Ziprecruiter.com, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/job/db68ca79  You will be asked to upload your curriculum vitae or resume, a letter of interest, and salary requirements to the site. In the letter of interest, please comment on how your skills and experience are a good match for this position and where you learned about the position.

Applications will be accepted until March 31, 2020.  Due to the expected high volume of applications for this position, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.  Please note that candidates must be authorized to work lawfully in the United States. Wenner-Gren does not provide visa sponsorship for employment.

The ideal start date is June 1, 2020, but the Foundation will be flexible to accommodate the selected candidate’s circumstances.

 

NYAS Lecture 2/24: Forest for the Trees: Spirit, Psychedelic Science, and the Politics of Ecologizing Thought as a Planetary Ethics

On February 24th The New York Academy of Sciences lecture series returns when Dr. Eduardo Kohn, Associate Professor of Anthropology at McGill University, presents, “Forest for the Trees: Spirit, Psychedelic Science, and the Politics of Ecologizing Thought as a Planetary Ethics”. Dr. O. Hugo Benavides, Department Chair and Professor of Anthropology, Fordham University, will act as discussant.

The event will be held at 5:45 PM at the Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065.

Please note: the lecture begins at 6:30 PM, and while the event is free to attend pre-registration is required for entry into the building. Early registration is strongly recommended, since seating is limited. For the buffet supper, registration is also required.

What kind of guidance can those worlds I call forests provide for living well on Earth in times of planetary ecological trouble? I approach this question as an anthropologist. That is, as someone who is committed to cultivating forms of radical listening as I move among modes of being that can, at times, dissolve me in my quest to understand who I am amid a larger flow of life that vastly exceeds me. Reflecting on my ongoing anthropological, and increasingly collaborative, research in and around indigenous communities of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon, and drawing on and distorting immersive ethnographic technologies in the process, my goal is to use what I thus might learn to help find a path that can orient us (humans) in our attempts to live well in relation to the many kinds of others that make and hold us.

About the Speaker:

Eduardo Kohn is Associate Professor of Anthropology at McGill University. He studies the intimate relationships that the indigenous peoples of Ecuador’s Upper Amazon have with one of Earth’s most complex ecosystems. Focusing on how they understand and communicate with rainforest beings through hunting and gathering, as well as through dreams and psychedelic plant use, has led him to the audacious conclusion that complex living systems manifest “mind” at a variety of scales and in a variety of ways.  From this he develops an empirically robust framework to understand our broader relationship to such mind-like phenomena with the goal of rethinking how to live in the face of unprecedented anthropogenic climate change. His prize-winning book How Forests Think has been translated into nine languages and has inspired the planetary ecological imaginary in a surprisingly diverse number of ways ranging from an eponymous symphony premiering at Lincoln Center to international museum exhibits.

All talks in this series take place at Roosevelt House, 47-49 E 65th St, New York, NY 10065. A dinner and wine reception will precede the talk: Buffet dinner at 5:45 PM. ($20 contribution for dinner guests/free for students).  Lectures begin at 6:30 PM and are free and open to the public, but registration is required

 

Engaged Anthropology Grant: Joseph Jay Sosa

Figure 1 2013 Protest Against Conversion Therapy Being Debated in Congress. Photograph by Author

In 2011 Joseph Jay Sosa received a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant to aid research on “Sao Paulo Has Never Been Pinker: Dilemmas in Representing LGBT People in the Public Sphere,” supervised by Dr. William Mazzarella. After Dr. Sosa received an Engaged Anthropology Grant in 2017 he was able to return to the field the following year to aid engaged activities on “LGBT Statistical Activists in Brazil: Training New Activists for the LGBT Pride Survey”.

Public debates over state recognition of LGBT rights has been a contentious site for political action in Brazil over the past decade. These ‘sex wars’ have taken place over anti-discrimination legislation, but also through moral panics about sex education and queer artistic censorship. And they have taken place against an increasingly hostile remarks by high profile politicians as well as the highest number of reported anti-trans and anti-gay murders in the world. For activists connected to Brazil’s LGBT social movement, these changes represent a historical reversal of early social movement victories in Brazil’s democratic period.

Figure 2 2018 Workshop activity. Participants are asked to provide examples of the “lack of representativeness of LGBT+ agendas and bodies in politics.” Photograph by author

With support from the Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, I conducted fieldwork from 2011 to 2013 with São Paulo-based LGBT activists who participated in civil society organizations, in social media and protest publics, and in public administrative offices on the municipal, state, and federal level. In hearings, street protests, and in organizational meetings held in union halls, classrooms, and municipal health clinics, activists described what they characterized as increasing anti-sex attitudes in their daily lives and in the media they consumed. Activists had different names to describe a growing erotophobic conservatism that they noted in the political public sphere and sometimes in their daily lives.

Since 2013, Brazil has entered what scholars and observers have characterized as the “long Brazilian Crisis,”[1] fueled by economic instability, corruption scandals, and political controversies and a rapid partisan shift. Mass protests across the ideological spectrum have become part of Brazil’s urban and news media landscapes. The instability led to the highly polarizing removal from office of Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president in 2016. In this context, ideological disputes over gender expression and sexuality have given a further cultural shape to this crisis and become a primary battleground in a highly polarized society. Moral panics over LGBT panics over artistic performances and educational policies have led to increasing censorship practices. In October 2018, presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro played upon a moral panic that the government wanted to implement a national public school curriculum teaching homosexuality and pedophilia to children. The successful disinformation campaign was a large factor in Bolsonaro’s electoral success.

With the support of a Wenner-Gren Engaged Anthropology Grant, I return to São Paulo in 2018 in order to re-engage with activists and community members about how queer life and politics had changed since my original fieldwork. I partnered with a community organization, Vota LGBT, a non-partisan collective of activists, researchers, and media producers who collect and publish information on the political views of the LGBT population. The collective was formed in 2014, and included university student activists with whom I had previously conducted fieldwork. Together, we presented information about the current challenges facing trans and queer communities in Brazil as well as current social movement campaigns to improve the lives of LGBT Brazilians. Vota LGBT also used the opportunity to show community members their data collection techniques and explored ways community members might generate research projects meaningful to them. In our four presentations, open discussion with led to different outcomes. In one meeting, we participated in a brainstorming exercise, where individuals mapped their most pressing needs on local and federal levels (see images 2 and 3). At another workshop, participants developed questions they would like to employ in future community surveys.

Figure 3 Session leaders discuss potential topics raised by participants. Photograph by author.

Although survey data is regularly collected by researchers regarding LGBT domestic status, violence victimization rates, and even consumer habits, less information has been conducted around their views on pressing social and political questions. Vota LGBT conducts crowd surveys at Queer Pride events in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Vota LGBT  hopes to increase its surveys and expand the reach of LGBT perspectives into Brazil’s news media.

[1] See Grigera, Juan, Jeffery R. Webber, Ludmila Abilio, Ricardo Antunes, Marcelo Badaró Mattos, Sabrina Fernandes, Rodrigo Nunes, Leda Paulani, and Sean Purdy. 2019. “The Long Brazilian Crisis: A Forum.” Historical Materialism 27 (2): 59–121.