Northwestern

Vansina, Jan Papers Edit

Summary

Identifier
030

Dates

  • 1718-2010 (Creation)
  • Date acquired: 07/31/2010 (Other)

Extents

  • 136.00 Boxes (Whole)

Names

Subjects

Notes

  • Abstract

    Jan Vansina was born in Antwerp, Belgium on September 14, 1929 and received his PhD in history from the University Leuven in 1957.

    He is a major figure in the study of Africa and is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He published twenty monographs, over two hundred articles, and was the co-author, editor, compiler, annotator etc. for many other works.  His extensive fieldwork and study of oral tradition established the context and methodologies for reconstructing African history through the use of oral tradition.

    The Jan Vansina Papers fill 136 boxes and span the years 1718-2010. The collection is made up of working files containing field notes, correspondence, photographs, maps, manuscripts, drafts, and more used by Vansina in his research, writing, and teaching during his over fifty years of professional activity. The original arrangement of his papers has been preserved.

  • Scope and Contents

    The Jan Vansina Papers fill 136 boxes and span the years 1718-2010. The collection is made up of working files containing field notes, correspondence, photographs, maps, manuscripts, drafts, and more used by Vansina in his research, writing, and teaching during his over fifty years of professional activity. The original arrangement of his papers has been preserved.

    The Jan Vansina papers were processed by Pamela Khanakwa, Leigh Brissenden and Kristy Collazo under the direction of Jason Nargis.The papers are divided into nine series preceded by Box 1 which contains biographical materials.  The nine sections are as follows:

    Research Notes Libya: Oral History of the Italo-Libyan war (1911-1933); Other Research Topics and Data; Central Africa: Documents about Ethnography and History; Professional Correspondence; Teaching Records; Papers Given at Various Events; Offprints; Around Vansina’s works; and Personal (closed until January 1, 2015).

    1.Research Notes Libya: Oral History of the Italo-Libyan war (1911-1933)-boxes 2-3

    This section contains research methods, procedures, and the interview tool used to collect the oral histories. Also included are maps, general information on the Libyan Studies Centre, and related essays on Libya.

    2.Other Research Topics and Data-boxes 2-10

    This segment is made up of general research and reference materials arranged by these subjects: Religious Movements; Bantu Linguistic Materials; Agricultural History; African Art; Ambundu Religion; Oral Tradition; and Governance.

    3.Central Africa: Documents about Ethnography and History-boxes 11-85

    This is the largest section in the collection and represents the core focus of Vansina’s professional career: Central Africa. While there are some sections arranged by subject headings such as Ethnography, Historiography, and General History, the bulk of the files are grouped by country and/or geographic region.

    4.Professional Correspondence (1953-1997)-boxes 85-112

    This section is arranged alphabetically by the name of the correspondent. The content is predominantly incoming, with the occasional copy of outgoing letters. The files include essays, ephemera, memos, notes, etc. that were part of the ongoing exchanges.

    5.Teaching Records (1959-1994)-boxes 112-117

    This section contains material used by Vansina in teaching his many courses from all stages of his academic career. The contents include syllabi, reading lists, exams, and more. There is also a section containing course material from colleagues and former students.

    6.Papers Given at Various Events (1960-2009)-boxes 117-120

    This series holds copies of papers Vansina presented in various professional settings. The material is broken into five sub-series by decade and arranged chronologically. The folder list contains specific titles and dates and the papers are written in Dutch, English, and French. These are mostly typescripts, often with manuscript notes and corrections.

    7.Offprints-boxes 120-122

    This series is made up of individual offprints of Vansina’s many articles. They are arranged chronologically and some are official offprints and others photocopies of articles.

    8.Around Vansina’s works-boxes 122-134

    This section contains research material and drafts for Vansina’s monographs, both published and unpublished. Again, the folder list includes individual titles. The contents include drafts, notes, edits and are mostly typescripts with manuscript notes and corrections.

    9. Personal (closed until January 1, 2015)-boxes 134-135

    This section contains material relating to CVs, salaries, annual reports, grants, honors, fellowships, and some personal correspondence.

    Box 135 and 136 contain legal sized manuscripts from eariler series.

  • Source of Acquisition

    Jan Vansina

  • Method of Acquisition

    The Jan Vansina papers were donated by Professor Vansina to the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University, in August 2010.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    Series 9, the Personal section, is closed until until January 1, 2015.

Components