Guide to the Program of African Studies Lecture Series Audiotapes

Collection Title: Program of African Studies Lecture Series Audiotapes
Dates: 1965-1978
Identification: 75/35/1
Extent: 13 Boxes
Abstract: The Northwestern University Archives’ audiotapes from Program of African Studies lectures date from the period 1965-1974. They include recordings from the Monday Night Lecture Series, which sponsored speakers to visit Northwestern’s Africa House and speak on some topic relating to Africa. Speakers ranged from academics to political figures to authors and artists and included members of Northwestern faculty and staff as well as faculty from other major universities and colleges around the world. Other Africa related lectures and events are also included, notably a group of radio broadcast feeds from The Voice of America’s “African Panorama” series.
Note: Other Information:Tapes 5, 67, 87, 94, 99, 101, 115, 137, 143, 269, 294, 324-326, 334, 345, and 354 appear to be unusable. Either no sound is recorded or the sound quality is so poor as to render them inaudible. A note included with tape 101 states that the sound is poor and unintelligible. The assessment is correct. Tapes 20, 259, 260 and 277 are missing from the collection.There are also a number of discrepancies between the tapes, the original labels on their containers, and the pertinent written records from the Program of African Studies. The information on the spreadsheet (located in the Inventory folder for this series located in the University Archives Reading Room) is based on both written and auditory information; it is the most definitive description of the recordings to date.Information recorded on the spreadsheet includes, when available, the name of the speaker, the date of the lecture, the topic of the lecture, notes on the sound quality and physical condition of the recording, the recording speed used, and other information of potential use or relevance to listeners. In some cases categories of information may be missing. In other cases only estimates of the date of the lecture could be provided. Likewise, occasionally only a last or partial name for a speaker was available; that information has also been provided. When a formal title or topic or a lecture was not available, a brief topical heading based on an auditory review of the recording has been provided.The series consists of 354 sequentially numbered open-reel audiotapes relating to Africa, African politics and government, and African culture. Most were made as part of a Monday night lecture series sponsored by Northwestern University’s Program of African Studies, circa 1965 to 1974. Also included with these are recordings of a few Program staff meetings, seminars, Voice of America radio feeds pertaining to Africa, and occasional lectures not part of the Monday night series. Lecturers featured on the recordings include not only academics from many disciplines within the field of African studies, but also government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and African political figures, writers, and musicians. Some of the academics recorded in the series were members of the Northwestern University faculty; others were from universities all over the world.An additional Tape List gives basic information for each tape: Tape #, Date, Speaker, Topic, Sound Quality, and Notes.More detailed information relating to these tapes has been added to a University Archives Microsoft Excel database. A printout of the database along with instructions on using it and directions for locating specific audiotapes is located in the Inventory folder for this series located in the University Archives Reading Room.
Acquisition Information: Transferred to the Northwestern University Archives by the Northwestern University Library Herskovits Library of Africana on November 9, 1983 (Accession 83-156).
Processing Information: Nick Perry; August 10, 2006.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Related Materials: Information on the Monday Night Lecture Series (though very little on the tapings) can be found in the University Archives’ records of the Program of African Studies (Series 35/13, Boxes 46-49). A list of approximately half of the tapes in the series appears in Box 48, Folder1. Most of the written records pertaining to the lectures include correspondence between Program faculty (usually Carter, Abu-Lughod, Demoz, Leary, Richard Lobban, or Michael Culane, though sometimes other administrators or professors) and the speakers themselves, potential speakers, or their representatives. Occasionally there are also letters from other Northwestern faculty or faculty from other universities interested in the upcoming events. The most useful items found here, however, are transcripts or recordings. These exist for several of the lectures and, though they are not perfect transcriptions, they serve as very good aids to the taped lectures, especially to those that were not well recorded or in poor physical condition. The speakers for whom transcripts exist are: Dr. Desmond Cole: “The Problem of Language Differences in Africa” (Box 47, Folder 3); Chinua Achebe: “Commitment of the African Writer”; E. Mphalele: “Tradition in Africa”; Gwendolen Carter: “The Future of African Studies”; Dean ffrench-Beytagh: “Experiences in South African Prison;” two interviews with C.L.R. James, one conducted by Northwestern professor Sterling Stuckey, the other with an unnamed interviewer (Box 48, Folder 1); “Imperialism in South Africa” by a speaker unnameded in the transcript (Box 48, Folder 3); George Shepperson: “Joseph Booth and the African Diaspora”; Monica Shuler: “Ethnic Slave Revolts in the Caribbean and South America”; a summary of the remarks of C. Payne Lucas on the subject of “Black America and the Peace Corps” (Box 46). Other papers, press releases, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, and speaker biographies can also be found among the written material relating to the lecture series.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Scope and Content

The Northwestern University Archives’ collection of audiotapes from Program of African Studies lectures dates from the period 1965-1974. Soon after its own establishment, the Program initiated a “Monday Night Lecture Series.” This series sponsored speakers to visit Northwestern’s Africa House (or another lecture hall if an unusually large crowd was anticipated) and speak on some topic relating to Africa. The variety of speakers is extremely wide, ranging from academics to political figures to authors and artists. The tape recordings found here date from the period when Gwendolen M. Carter was director of the Program of African Studies, with Ibrahim Abu-Lughod as her associate director. Carter became director of the program in 1964, just before the audio tapes of the lecture series begin. It seems apparent that the recordings in this collection do not represent all of the Program lectures held during the period 1965-1974. Some years hold considerably fewer lecture tapes than others. Program records (University Archives’ Series 35/13) also mention other lectures that do not seem to be part of the recorded series. It does appear, however, that the recordings of this series feature the majority of the lectures sponsored from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s.

The recordings do not encompass only the events of the Monday Night Lecture Series. Other Africa related lectures and events are included as well. Numbered as part of this series is a group of radio broadcast feeds from The Voice of America’s “African Panorama” series. These recordings pertain to the Matebele tribe of what was then Rhodesia (audiotapes 271-276). Some other audiotapes record Program staff meetings or conferences. However, the majority of the recordings document events scheduled as part of the Monday Night Lecture Series.

The principal speakers recorded in this series come from many backgrounds and areas of academic study. They include members of Northwestern faculty and staff as well as faculty from other major universities and colleges around the world. Frequent speakers include Carter and Abu-Lughod themselves, Frank Willett, Remi Clignet, George Shepperson, Klaus Wachsmann, Richard Wilson, and Ronald Cohen, among others. Many of the speakers at Africa House during this lecture series were prominent figures in politics, academics, or literature. Prominent among the speakers were: Chinua Achebe (novelist), Oliver Tambo (South African leader and politician), Dean ffrench-Beytagh (anti-apartheid religious leader), Ali Mazrui (public intellectual), C.L.R. James (radical historian), Thurston Shaw (English archaeologist), Aidan Southall (English anthropologist), Ernest Gellner (philosopher and anthropologist), A. Ado Boahem (Nigerian historian), Nadine Gordimer (South African writer), Malcolm Guthrie (linguist), Eqbal Ahmad (Indian academic and radical activist), Ezekiel Mphalele (South African writer), Akin Mabogunje (Nigerian historian), Janheinz Jahn (authority on African religion), Dennis Brutus (Northwestern professor and South African poet and activist), and Shula Marks (South African historian). Speakers from out of town (or out of the country) usually stayed at Evanston’s Orrington Hotel with their travel and hospitality expenses paid by the Program of African Studies. Guest speakers typically received a $100-150 honorarium.

The audio tapes vary in both sound quality and physical condition. Some are perfectly audible, others difficult to hear at all. General notations on quality and condition are found on the appended spreadsheet. Recording identifying numbers, speaker names, presentation dates and topical references also are included. A few of the audiotapes included this series appear to be blank; whether they were erased or just too damaged or physically degraded is unknown.

Addition, Boxes 10-13

The addition includes 105 sequentially numbered open-reel audiotapes relating to Africa, African politics and government, and African culture, dating from the period 1967-1978 and supplementing the recordings found in the main body of the series. The majority of the tapes record lectures and conferences presented through the Program of African Studies. Lecturers featured on the recordings include academics, government officials, artists, and authors.

An additional Tape List gives basic information for each tape: Tape #, Date, Speaker, Topic, Sound Quality, and Notes.

More detailed information relating to these tapes has been added to a University Archives Microsoft Excel database. A printout of the database along with instructions on using it and directions for locating specific audiotapes is located in the Inventory folder for this series located in the University Archives Reading Room.

Subjects

Subjects

Africa--Study and teaching (Higher)--Illinois--Evanston


Container List / Contents

  • Audiotapes 1-41
  • Audiotapes 42-82
  • Audiotapes 83-120
  • Audiotapes 121-157
  • Audiotapes 158-195
  • Audiotapes 196-231
  • Audiotapes 232-267
  • Audiotapes 268-309
  • Audiotapes 310-354
  • Addition, 1967-1978
      Scope and Contents: The addition includes 105 sequentially numbered open-reel audiotapes relating to Africa, African politics and government, and African culture, dating from the period 1967-1978 and supplementing the recordings found in the main body of the series. The majority of the tapes record lectures and conferences presented through the Program of African Studies. Lecturers featured on the recordings include academics, government officials, artists, and authors. An additional Tape List gives basic information for each tape: Tape #, Date, Speaker, Topic, Sound Quality, and Notes. More detailed information relating to these tapes has been added to a University Archives Microsoft Excel database. A printout of the database along with instructions on using it and directions for locating specific audiotapes is located in the Inventory folder for this series located in the University Archives Reading Room.
    • Audiotapes 356-390
    • Audiotapes 391-419
    • Audiotapes 420-450
    • Audiotapes 451-460