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Wenner-Gren Symposia and Seminars

Burg Wartenstein Castle

Wenner-Gren Symposia and Seminars bring together small groups of invited scholars for intensive discussion and debate.  The Foundation administers and fully supports (logistically and financially) both kinds of events. 

The Foundation pioneered this program in its earliest days, when anthropologists gathered at Burg Wartenstein, its European conference center (1958-1980), to discuss big questions in anthropology.  The Foundation eventually sold the castle, but it continued to host symposia at venues that provide a congenial atmosphere with minimal distraction.  Over the years, the program changed, with new topics on the agenda and new faces in the room.   But at all these gatherings, the same spirit of intimate conversation and daring collaboration prevailed. 

The Foundation’s Symposium and Seminar Program builds on this history.   Each year, we host two events:  

  • In the Spring, we host a Wenner-Gren Symposium, a five-day workshop bringing together scholars who might not otherwise be in conversation.  Some symposia include scholars from different disciplines; others include scholars from different specialties within anthropology.  Either way, the exchange breaks new ground.
  • In the Fall, we host a Wenner-Gren Seminar, a three-day workshop designed to foster intergenerational engagement.  Held in conjunction with major international conferences, these gatherings convene accomplished junior and senior anthropologists who are working to change the debate on an emerging research question or theme.

Wenner-Gren Symposia and Seminars play a key role in helping the Foundation fulfill its mission: advancing anthropological knowledge, increasing the impact of anthropology, addressing the precarity of anthropology and anthropologists, and promoting an inclusive vision of the field.  Symposia and Seminars focus on problems of urgency within and beyond anthropology.  By crossing boundaries, they move forward work in the field.

Wenner-Gren Symposia are scheduled through March 2022.  We will accept proposals for the Spring 2023 symposium by October 1, 2021.  Letters of Intent for the Seminar Program are due on April 1, 2022, for a Fall 2023 Seminar. If you have questions, please contact