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.