Archive for Foundation News

Paul Fejos’ “Lonesome” Now Out on Criterion DVD

Paul Fejos (1897 – 1963) is a figure that looms large in the history of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, serving as original Director of Research of the Viking Fund and President of the Foundation until his death and providing much of the style and flair that drove the organization’s development in its early years.

Trained as a medical doctor in Hungary and coming to anthropology later in life by way of his keen interest in ethnographic filmmaking, Fejos had previously made a brief but successful career as a director under contract for Universal Studios during Hollywood’s so-called Golden Age. His most infamous and well-regarded picture, 1928′s “semi-talkie” Lonesome, sees its first home video release this month from New York-based art house publishers The Criterion Collection. We worked to provide Criterion with materials to help produce this seminal release, and we are very proud to see Paul’s films reach a wider contemporary audience.

Prized by cinephiles for its experimental technique and strong European avant-garde influences, Lonesome‘s DVD and Blu-Ray release comes at the tail-end of a recent revival of interest in the film and the colorful renaissance man who helmed it. Criterion’s edition includes a new digital restoration, along with Fejos’ 1929 silent The Last Performance, a photo essay on the life of the director, essays, interviews, and rare photographs, all wrapped up in Criterion’s trademark impeccable packaging. It’s a beautiful package that offers up a rare gem of the late Silent Era, as well as a piece of Wenner-Gren history.

If you are in New York City this weekend, there will be free screenings of Lonesome running throughout the day on Sunday, September 23rd, on Queen Of Hearts boat docked at Pier 36, courtesy of All Tomorrow’s Parties.

Read an essay included with the DVD release, “The Travels of Paul Fejos”, by McMaster University’s Graham Petrie.

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.

Bob Simpson and “Writing Across Boundaries”

Image courtesy

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 at the AAA’s : World Council of Anthropological Associations

World Council of Anthropological AssociationsWenner-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 for more information) and two new and exciting initiatives. » Read more..

Announcing the Wenner-Gren Blog

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!


Return of the Covarrubias Logo

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..