Archive for August 24, 2012

Upcoming September Conferences

As we roll into the beginning of Autumn here in the northern hemisphere, we look forward to two Wenner-Gren-sponsored conferences in Europe.

 

Issues of Legitimacy: Entrepreneurial Culture, Corporate Responsibility and Urban Development

September 10-14, 2012

Naples, Italy

This conference will bring together a large field of anthropologists based in various countries and specializing in a wide range of ethnographic settings. Joining them will be an assortment of professionals in the fields of law, jurisprudence and economics to address issues of high contemporary intellectual relevance and of burning public concern raised by today’s increasingly competitive global economic scenario.

Urban areas are a dominant form of associated life that encapsulate the socioeconomic impact of increasingly significant international regulations and flows of capital and people. Governance have generally failed to constructively meet the challenges posed by the complexities and implications of this worldwide phenomenon. Anthropological analysis has identified entrepreneurial cultures rooted in the morality and ramifications of a ‘strong continuous interactions’ between the material and the non-material. Delegates will reflect on the significance, ramifications and impact on the broader society of such an empirical sine qua non. The role that individual and collective entrepreneurialism, and the attendant culture and social impact, have to play in such a scenario is too often frustrated by selective policies and the law. Eschewing confusion between individuality and individualism, anthropologists have demonstrated hoe this both encourages exclusion and widens the gap between governance and the govern across the world. The conference will reflect on the distinction between individual action and individualistic goals and on issues of legitimacy and responsibility in socioeconomic action and the management of political decision-making.

 

14th International Conference Of The European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists

September 18-21

Dublin, Ireland

The European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists (EurASEAA) brings together scholars working in Southeast Asian archaeology, anthropology, art history and philology. The EurASEAA conference is by definition international, uniting groups of people who do not otherwise normally meet, but who share a common interest in Southeast Asian heritage. The conference facilitates communication between different disciplines, addressing shared issues in anthropological debate and brings together the international community of research scholars to discuss, report, plan and promote new research. In 2012 the conference will run from the 18th-21st of September, hosted by University College Dublin, School of Archaeology. This is the first time EurASEAA has been held in Ireland, providing exciting opportunities for new engagement and collaborations in international heritage research and teaching. 2012 is also the year that Dublin is European City of Science; EurASEAA14 will be a ‘partner conference’ in this celebration, enabling involvement in a nationwide promotion of heritage and science studies. Video from the conference will be presented online, allowing public, student and academic participation nationally and internationally.

 

Reality and Myth: A Symposium on Axel Wenner-Gren

Our President, Dr. Leslie Aiello, guest blogs on the recent symposium held in Sweden examining the life, career and politics of Foundation founder Axel Wenner-Gren.

One of the highlights of the summer for the Foundation was the two-day symposium on “Reality and Myth: A Symposium on Axel Wenner-Gren.” This meeting was co-sponsored by the Swedish Wenner-Gren Foundations and ourselves and was held May 30-31, 2012 at the Wenner-Gren Center in Stockholm, Sweden. The Chair (Seth Masters) and Vice Chair (John Immerwahr) of our Board of Trustees and a number of Foundation staff attended.

Axel Wenner-Gren is an enigma because in the 1930s he was one of the wealthiest men in the world, but has now slipped largely into obscurity.  His surviving legacy is his philanthropic achievements through the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Swedish Wenner-Gren Foundations that specialize in scientific research and international scientific exchange. The main purpose of the meeting was to understand more about his life and career.

The two-day symposium grew out of the research into the politics of Axel Wenner-Gren by Ilja Luciak (Professor of Political Science at Virginia Tech University)  who was jointly funded by both foundations. The symposium also provided the welcome opportunity for the Swedish and New York Foundations, which have been largely independent throughout their existences, to make contact and discuss common areas of interest.

Seth J. Masters, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, with Sydel Silverman, President Emerita

The symposium itself covered all aspects of Axel Wenner-Gren’s life and was divided into four sessions. The first session on the economic dimension of his life covered his career at Electrolux where he made his fortune in vacuum cleaners and refrigerators as well as his later economic ventures in Latin America and Canada. The second session on the political dimension surveyed his political ambitions and activities in Europe and the Bahamas leading up to and during World War II. It also covered the relationship between Sweden and Nazi Germany during the war years. The third session on the social dimension focused primarily on the histories of the New York and Swedish Foundations but also included an interesting presentation on the legacy of the Wenner-Gren scientific expedition to Peru in 1939-1940, which discovered many of the important archaeological sites along the Inca trail and lead to the founding of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cuzco. The concluding session on the social dimension provided the opportunity to hear from some of the surviving Wenner-Gren family and others who knew him personally about life during the height of his influence in Sweden and in the following years in the Bahamas and Mexico.

You can also listen to Sydel Silverman, a past Wenner-Gren President, talk about the story of New York’s Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Download “The History of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, New York” now.

Download the official conference booklet featuring an extensive introduction on the life of Wenner-Gren by Dr. Luciak.

To learn even more about Wenner-Gren and the larger history of the Foundation, visit our History page.

Frank Wadsworth (1919-2012), Wenner-Gren Foundation Trustee

We are saddened to announce that Dr. Frank Wadsworth, former Trustee and Board Chair, passed away on August 8, 2012.

Frank Wadsworth worked tirelessly for the Foundation from 1970 to 2006.  Throughout his tenure, beginning as a promising young English professor who brought fresh ideas to the Board, through the long period of his inspired leadership, to his later years as elder statesman and astute advisor, he was a guiding light for Trustees, four presidents, staff, and anthropologists associated with the Foundation. His thirty-six years of service included ten years as Chairman of the Board of Trustees (1977-1987), ten years as Vice Chairman (1994-2004), membership in the Executive Committee since its inception (1992-2006), Chairman of the Nominating Committee (1986-2004), and crucial roles on three presidential Search Committees

During the time he was Chair of the Board, he steered the Foundation through a period of profound crisis and more than anyone else in the Foundation’s history, is responsible for its survival and wellbeing. He had to make decisions that were hard and unpopular at the time, but were instrumental in putting Wenner-Gren on a sound fiscal basis. Through his scholarly integrity and personal grace, he also restored the trust of the anthropological profession in the Foundation and its activities. His diligence, courage, wisdom, and dedication ensured that Wenner-Gren would continue to benefit anthropology long into the future.

On his retirement in 2006, the Foundation renamed its Fellowship programs for international students in his honor. The Wadsworth International Fellowships and Wadsworth African Fellowships will be a lasting memorial to his involvement with the Foundation and the appreciation in which he is held by the Wenner-Gren community.