Announcing the 2021 Global Initiatives Grants New Approves

Wenner-Gren is excited to announce the 2021 new approves for our Global Initiatives Grant!

The Black Feminist Archive Pandemic Preservation Project of Black Women Practicing Anthropologists

Dr. Irma McClaurin received funding to encourage and guide Black and Indigenous women who are anthropologists working outside the academy as independent consultants and community-based activists to preserve and archive the invaluable knowledge about social justice issues in their communities and beyond. At a time when many states are prohibiting the teaching of critical race theory, preserving these important historical materials and archiving these collections communicates the value and historical relevance of the work of practicing BIPOC anthropologists to broader communities, as well as to practitioners themselves.

Decanonization: The Global Anthropology Syllabus Project

Dr. Heather O’Leary received funding for the initial stage of an ongoing collaborative initiative aimed at promoting global conversations and collaboration.  The initiative will work towards the creation of a curriculum that expands the narrow focus from knowledge production in traditional academic institutions to a more inclusive, diverse representation of anthropological traditions produced outside hegemonic centers.  This preliminary phase supports the recruitment of a globally diverse and inclusive group of 40 scholars who will serve as an advisory council.

Inclusivity and Ethics in Archaeological Training: The ARF Field School

Dr. Christine Hastorf received funding to pilot an 8 week commuter field school designed to make archaeology more accessible. It provides stipends for BIPOC students and boosts the inclusion of low- and middle-income students entering the career. At the same time, the training will promote community-engaged archaeology and more sustainable ethical stewardship practices by using low impact methods to inventory and analyze orphaned collections and their legacy sites.

Southern African Field Archaeology

Dr. Dipuo Kgotleng received funding for the revival of Southern African Field Archaeology as an open access, peer-reviewed, online journal. The proposed platform encourages and subsidizes African-based scholars, students and practitioners of archaeological and cultural heritage studies by providing free editorial services. It aims to boost the participation of African scholars in disseminating their research results, at the same time it increases readership, public awareness and local participation in the research process.

UnderstandingRace.org Website Upgrade

Dr. Edward Liebow received funding to support the upgrade of the American Anthropology Association’s UnderstandingRace.org website.  This educational resource uses current findings from across the subfields of anthropology to challenge the notion that racial identities are biologically based and fixed. Its teaching guides help to rectify misconceptions about human biological variation and contribute to timely public conversations regarding social injustices.

COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fundraising Effort Meets the Challenges of the Day

Photo credits (l to r): Alessandra Rosa, Dada Docot, Dawn Burns

In 2020 the American Anthropological Association received a Global Initiatives Grant to help support the AAA Emergency Relief Fund for Anthropologists.

At the American Anthropological Association, we are committed to bringing together scholars, practitioners, educators, and the public to advance the field of anthropology and its role in the world. That is why at the onset of the COVID-19 health pandemic, we knew that many members in our community needed emergency support, and that a meaningful way to advance our mission was by ensuring they have the financial resources they need to get through this challenging moment. These are members who make valuable contributions to our field but who, by virtue of being independently employed, working in a small business, or occupying a position at the margins of a university, suddenly find themselves in a position of financial uncertainty and hardship.

The AAA Emergency Relief Fund for Anthropologists offered financially vulnerable members one-time grants and a registration waiver for the fall virtual event series, “Raising Our Voices.” Two of our sections, the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) and the Society for Linguistic Anthropology (SLA) also created relief funds. Over the course of a few months, we witnessed an outpouring of generosity from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, which was matched on a 9-1 basis with donations from our Board, Sections, and members around the world.

In total, we were able to raise sufficient funds to make grants to 190 individuals from 18 countries. In addition, we invited all 190 grantees to join the fall virtual event series, Raising Our Voices, which replaced the Annual Meeting that had to be canceled due to the pandemic. Funds from the COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund were used to cover the registration fees for these individuals. The funds provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation were disbursed to 20 individuals, all living outside the United States, in keeping with the spirit of the Foundation’s Global Initiatives Grant program.

We received a good deal of feedback from grant recipients, all of it expressing appreciation for being able to provide assistance in a time of acute need:

I am so, so grateful to have received the AAA COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund. It really makes such a difference as a freelancer, also balancing a PhD and with lost income from this situation. Thank you for your generosity and this wonderful initiative.

Please extend my gratitude to the AAA and to the donors that made this possible.

Thank you very much for establishing this series of grants; it really means the world to know that the AAA is looking after unemployed anthropologists such as myself during this difficult period.

Thanks so much for informing me about this award, it is so helpful in this time of uncertainty and I am grateful to know that my colleagues are supporting me and others who need a little boost right now. I hope I can pay this forward in the future when I get a chance.

Thank you for the emergency grant, my family and I really need it at this time. I would also, through you, like to thank the AAA. It is my wish that in the future it will be my turn to assist, not to be assisted.

Thank you so much for this grant – it is coming right as the spring semester ends and helps fill the gap while I figure out what my next employment can be.

The global disruptions brought about by the pandemic and associated public health interventions were abrupt and precipitous. Recovery is proving to be much slower and uneven. The Foundation’s willingness to step in and strengthen the fabric of the safety net supporting some of the more vulnerable members of our anthropology community will almost certainly mean that as we make sense of this profoundly influential moment, anthropologists who might otherwise have had to seek their livelihoods elsewhere will be around to contribute to this sense-making.