23.02.21 – “Foundational work ‘on the ground'”. Gestaltpsychologists, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the production of knowledge in American Social Psychology in the 1930s and 1940s: Reflections on material from the archive“ – Christine Ludl.

In the 1930s and 1940s, numerous German scholars fled Nazi Germany and emigrated to the United States. The Rockefeller Foundation played an important role in organizing the emigration and financing the establishment of some of these scholars in the U.S. In this presentation, I will revisit archival material collected at the Rockefeller Archive Center that relates to German Gestaltpsychologists who emigrated to the United States in the 1930s. The material shows that how employments and research projects were negotiated through concrete interactions between Rockefeller officers and scholars as well as the day-to-day workings of the Foundation were central to these processes. I will give examples of these negotiations and ask how “examining foundational work ‘on the ground’” can contribute to debates on the role of private foundations for the circulation and production of knowledge in American Social Psychology in the 1930s and 1940s.* The citation refers to Buxton W (2009) Civil Society and its Discontents: Bringing Culture, Communications, and the Humanities into the History of Philanthropy. In: Buxton W (ed) Patronizing the public: American philanthropy’s transformation of culture, communication, and the humanities. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, pp. 1-21, p. 10. The presentation will be in German.

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