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Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.). Program of African Studies


Northwestern University's Program of African Studies, founded in 1948, was the first program on Africa in the nation and the first multidisciplinary program at Northwestern. Developed by anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits to train a corps of scholars maintaining African interests across disciplinary lines, the Program grew to include core and associated faculty from such diverse disciplines as African-American studies, art history, history and literature of religions, law, management, medicine, music, and technology, as well as anthropology, history, political science, and sociology.

Following Herskovits' death in 1963, Gwendolen M. Carter, formerly of Smith College, became director of the Program in 1964. Assisted by Associate Director Ibrahim Abu-Lughod, Carter presided over considerable expansion of the Program and of African studies in general. At Carter's retirement in 1974, linguist Abraham Demoz became director, assisted by Assistant Director Fay A. Leary. In September 1980, political scientist John Paden became the director of the Program.

Founded with Carnegie Corporation funding, the Program has received support from a number of public and private sources outside the university, among them the Ford Foundation, the Office of Education, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Private benefactors have also been cultivated. Numerous special projects and seminars have been conducted by the Program, including a Ford Foundation funded project to study factors affecting national unity; summer institutes in Ghana and Ethiopia; Office of Education sponsored seminars for high school teachers; and a project, also sponsored by the Office of Education, to design curriculum for a basic course in African Studies.

African languages, which were not stressed in the Program's early years, became a major part of the curriculum in 1964 with the establishment of the Department of African Languages (later the Department of Linguistics). Supported by Office of Education Language and Area grants, this department has offered training in a wide range of African languages, including, at various times, Yoruba, Twi, Swahili, Hausa, Amharic, Akan, and Arabic.

The Program has long maintained close contact with Africa and with Africanists from around the world. Visiting professors and lecturers are traditional, the Monday Night Lecture Series, one of the Program's oldest activities, draws both the Northwestern community and the general public to hear prominent Africanists. In addition, the Program strongly encourages both students and faculty to do field work in Africa, often supporting such research with various fellowships and grants.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Dennis Brutus Defense Committee, Records of the

Identifier: 026
Abstract Dennis Brutus was a South African anti-apartheid activist, poet, and educator. The Dennis Brutus Defense Committee was formed in response to efforts by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport him following the invalidation of his Rhodesian passport. When British Rhodesia became independent Zimbabwe, Brutus' passport was revoked. As a result, Brutus was technically rendered an illegal alien. The United States government began deportation proceedings against Brutus in...
Dates: 1963 - 1983; Other: Majority of material found within 1982 - 1983