History of the Foundation

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Symposium Publications

bookcover collageWenner-Gren Symposium publications began in the early 1950s with the publication of three volumes that resulted from the “International Symposium on Anthropology,” held in 1952. This meeting was convened by the Foundation to take a total inventory of the field and set new directions for the Foundation’s funding Since that time, the Foundation has organized and sponsored more than 170 symposia and other events on topics spanning the breadth of Anthropology and many landmark publications have resulted from these meetings. These symposia publications appeared either as part of the Foundation’s Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology or through various publishing houses or as special editions of appropriate journals. References to these volumes can be found in the Cumulative List of Symposia

In 2002, Richard Fox (Wenner-Gren President, 2000-2005) established the Wenner-Gren International Symposium Series with Berg Publishers (Oxford, United Kingdom). Twelve volumes appeared in this series between 2002 and 2010. From 2010, symposia publications appear as supplementary issues of Current Anthropology. Academic publication is changing rapidly and the Foundation believes that Wenner-Gren symposia publications will reach a wider audience and have a greater impact in journal format. Publication in Current Anthropology has the added advantage of electronic access and continued availability, as well as distribution through various programs such as CENI (the Chicago Emerging Nations Initiative), HINARI, AGORA, and OARE, which provide free (or low-cost) access in many areas of the developing world.

In the modern age of electronic publishing, the decision to make Wenner-Gren Symposia available as supplementary issues of CA is in the spirit and tradition of the Wenner-Gren Foundation, together with CA and the symposium program, to bring the results of international anthropological research and debate to the widest possible audience.

Over the years, groundbreaking books such as the following have appeared as symposia publications: Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth (Thomas 1956), Courses toward Urban Life (Braidwood and Willey 1962), The Biology of Human Adaptability (Baker and Weiner 1966), Man the Hunter(Lee and DeVore 1968), Primates: Studies in Adaptation and Variability (Dolhinow 1968), Law in Culture and Society (Nader 1969), After the Australopithecines (Butzer and Isaac 1975), Molecular Anthropology (Goodman and Tashian 1976), Early Hominids of Africa (Jolly 1978), The Great Apes (Hamburg and McCown 1979), and Human Ecology in Savanna Environments (Harris 1980).

More recent volumes include Cloth and Human Experience (Weiner and Schneider 1989), The Time of AIDS (Herdt and Lindenbaum 1992), Relative Values:  Reconfiguring Kinship Studies (Sarah Franklin and Susan McKinnon, 2001), Tools, Language and Cognition in Human Evolution (Gibson and Ingold 1993), World Anthropologies (Ribeiro and Escobar 2006), and Indigenous Experience Today (Cadena and Starn 2007) among others.