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How to Propose a Symposium

Proposals for symposia should be sent via e-mail to Laurie Obbink, the Foundation's Conference Associate ( by April 1 for consideration at the Foundation's May Board meeting or by October 1 for consideration at the November Board Meeting. Note that Symposia topics are determined approximately 18 months before the date of the symposium.

We are always looking for promising themes for upcoming symposia.  If you have a suggestion, we would love to hear from you.  Please send us a two to three page, single spaced statement including the following:

  1. A paragraph or two describing the theme.  What is the issue that would be addressed in this symposium? How would a symposium on this topic advance the conversation in our discipline?  Why is this a particularly pressing topic to take up now?
  2. A paragraph or two explaining the theme’s broader resonances.  How might the theme set the stage for a conversation bridging different traditions of scholarship?  How does it relate to existing work in the various subfields of anthropology?  How does it speak to work in other disciplines?
  3. Evidence of how the theme can serve as the basis for an inclusive conversation.   Provide a list of possible participants, including scholars from different countries, disciplines, intellectual approaches, and, if appropriate, subfields.
  4. The names of three or four individuals who could potentially serve as organizers.  Organizers are responsible for working with Wenner-Gren to develop the theme, the list of participants, and the topics they will address in their papers, and for serving as editors of a supplementary issue of Current Anthropology based on the symposium.  Include your own name, if this is a role you’d be interested in playing.

In formulating your proposal, you may want to look at a list of previous symposium themes. See