"The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences." – Ruth Benedict
Welcome back to our series on the future of anthropology. For the second session, we spoke with biological anthropologists and archaeologists from different countries and traditions. In the following posts, they reflect on the current moment and what it means for the future of the field. Be sure to check out the first installment in the series here.
In the following weeks, we’ll be publishing brief blog pieces from the scholars who are taking part in the discussion about the future of anthropology in the age of COVID-19. For the first session, we spoke with sociocultural anthropologists from different countries and traditions of anthropology with deep experience training students.
On Wednesday, June 17, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and SAPIENS joined forces to share excerpts from four critically significant and deeply relevant books and a conversation with the authors on how their work speaks to our times. We were delighted to have an opportunity to introduce to a broad audience some of the most important and provocative thinkers working in our field. Watch the webinar here.
Wenner-Gren is welcoming letters of intent for webinars focusing on the future of anthropological research. We particularly welcome proposals from pairs of scholars, one established and the other an advanced graduate student or recent PhD in the early stages of their career. Webinars can focus on methodological, ethical, or conceptual aspects of anthropological research in these times of upheaval and change. We will consider letters of intent on a rolling basis, until our budget for this program is depleted, and provide funding for up to $5,000, which we expect organizers to use to cover technical costs.
At the Wenner-Gren Foundation, we are deeply concerned about the impact of the global coronavirus epidemic on those we serve. It’s harder than ever to be an anthropologist, and yet our research is more relevant than ever. We have an ethical duty as a Foundation to protect the safety of the anthropologists we fund and the broader communities affected by their projects. But we also have an ethical duty to help our discipline survive and thrive. Given our limited resources, we are being forced to make hard choices. At the same time, we are eager to support anthropologists who are seeking new ways to do their work in these strange and uncertain times.
Over the coming months, we will take certain actions so we can continue to award grants and fellowships. Click here for further information.
As a Foundation, we have an ethical obligation to ensure that the research we fund is not detrimental to the broader communities affected by our work. In light of the emergence and spread of COVID-19, we are asking our active grantees to suspend research activities involving face-to-face contact at this time. This should not come as a surprise, as many countries have called for social distancing as a means of slowing the spread of the disease.
Please know that we are committed to working with our grantees on modifications to methodologies, budgets, and timelines to respond to their particular needs. If you need to leave your field site and return home to ensure your safety, and the safety of your interlocutors, please feel free to do so and contact us afterwards.
Conference and Workshop grant recipients should modify their plans in light of the evolving situation. No meetings should be held at this time. We will work with grant recipients who wish to reschedule their event for a later date.
If you have any questions about an active grant or fellowship, please contact the Grant Administrator for your program directly.
If you have a question regarding a pending or future application please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note should your pending application be approved and a delay is needed, we will work with you at that time.