Departmental Papers (HSS)

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Journal Article

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Current Anthropology





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The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research has played a critical but little-understodd role in the development of the social and biological sciences after 1941. For anthropology particularly, its programs have often helped redefine scholarly priorities and research trajectories. Its grants to doctoral students have functioned as an important early sign of scholarly legitimacy, a mark of belonging to the profession. The foundation's history also reflects general transformations in scientific partronage as new landscapes of federal, military, and private funding re-configured opportunities in the social sciences. In this account we track the evolution of the foundation in tandem with the evolution of anthropology during a period of dramatic change after 1941, looking at the Second World War context from which the foundation emerged and the ideas and experiences of those who played a key role in this history. We examine the long-term influence of a philanthropic foundation on the postwar emergence of an internationally oriented anthropology from a tiny, almost clubby discipline with a few key institutions and leaders to a mahor academic and scientific enterprise with sometimes revolutionary ideas about evolution, human biology, race, culture, power, gender, and social order.

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© 2016 by The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.



Date Posted: 24 October 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.