Image courtesy dur.ac.uk
Guest-blogger Bob Simpson is Professor and Chair of the Board of Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University and has participated in past Wenner-Gren symposia. Since 2007 he has been conducting a series of intensive two-day workshops aimed at honing the writing skills of social science PhD students, called “Writing Across Boundaries”.
In 2006, a call came out from the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council for projects to support researcher development. The call prompted Robin Humphrey and I to set about thinking about what was missing from current doctoral training in the UK. It struck us that whilst there was extensive foundational training in methods and field preparation in place, little was being done about the return from the field and more specifically the business of writing ‘up’. For many, the very idea of writing ‘up’ is a bit passé; writing should take place at all stages of the research process. We would not quibble with this basic assertion, but we both recalled those early stages of trying to write once fieldwork was completed and deadlines for completion began to loom. This exercise in writing brought its own particular challenges. How do I go about wringing text from that intimidating pile of notes, interviews, photographs, scribbled memoirs and so forth? In fact, do I have anything to say at all that is worth saying? Is my writing too simplistic, too prolix, where to start, where to stop? Our reflections on this very important part of the process of becoming a fully fledged doctoral researcher resulted in a successful application for funds to run an annual, residential workshop for doctoral students who were using qualitative methods. The workshop had a simple aim: to help those attempting to write post-fieldwork by trying to figure out what the sticking points actually are.
» Read more..
Wenner-Gren is at the 110th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Montreal where over 6000 anthropologists are expected for five days of discussion and debate. Things start Wednesday, however the World Council of Anthropological Associations met Tuesday. This is a meta-association of 38 national anthropological associations worldwide
devoted to establishing a means for networking and communication for international anthropology. Over 20 presidents of these associations attended to discuss plans for WCAA symposia at future national meetings (see www.wcaanet.org for more information) and two new and exciting initiatives. » Read more..
In our mission to support the international community of anthropology researchers and to promote discussion and debate in all areas of our discipline, we are pleased to introduce the Wenner-Gren Blog.
In addition to announcing funding decisions and reporting on various foundation-sponsored events, the blog will highlight innovative projects funded by Wenner-Gren, feature interviews with grantees, and post news items from anthropological conferences and other happenings around the world. We’ll share valuable teaching tools from our History section, like streaming historic lectures from the discipline’s legendary forebears, and even offer tips on preparing successful grant applications.
The Anthropology community has a robust and growing presence on the Internet, and blogs across the four fields are becoming increasingly influential. By joining this conversation, we will draw attention to the foundation and the accomplishments of our grantees, foster discussion and scholarly exchange on an international level, and promote the unique value and insights that anthropological research brings to topics of common concern beyond the academic.
So visit our blog — follow and friend us on Twitter and Facebook — and stay tuned to Wenner-Gren!
In 1947 Miguel Covarrubias was commissioned by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (then known as the Viking Fund) to design the Viking Fund Medal. The medal was awarded to honor outstanding intellectual leadership and exceptional service to the discipline of anthropology. It was originally struck in heavy bronze with a three-inch diameter and depicts four dancers, representing the diversity of humankind. » Read more..