Penn Audio-Visual Resource List

Penn Audio-Visual Resource List

                         African Studies Center
                       University of Pennsylvania
                             Resource List

The following is a list of the audio-visual and other materials owned by the University of Pennsylvania that have to do with sub-Saharan Africa. This list was last updated on 6/27/94.


Contact person: Lee Cassanelli

Dr. Cassanelli has the slide collection purchased by Paula Ben-Amos to be used by the African Studies Program. There are some fifty images, mostly representing the ethnographic diversity of West Africa.


Contact person: varies

The Anthropology Department has c. one thousand slides. None of them pertain to Africa. The approximate breakdown is as follows: ten percent primates, ten percent archaeology technology, twenty percent Paleolithic Europe, twenty percent Neolithic Middle East, twenty-five percent Mesoamerica, and ten percent the Classical world.

The slides are located in the Anthropology Department's Computer Lab.


The Museum archives houses a collection of over four hundred photographic images including black and white prints, stereographs, glass plate negatives and lantern slides from sub-Saharan Africa. The images date from the late nineteenth century to the present.

a) Main Archives
Contact person: Douglas Haller or Alessandro Pezzati

The main archives contain prints, maps, and textual materials relating to sub-Saharan Africa. It also contains the cataloguing system for the entire collection. There are four boxes of prints (legal-size or smaller). Brenda Chalfin did an inventory of these prints for Kris Hardin. Subject-wise, the images concentrate on musical instruments, textiles, masks, and fetishes; geographically, the collection includes representations of the Bolom (Sierra Leone), Ashanti (Ghana), Baule (Ivory Coast), Yoruba (Nigeria, Benin), various groups in Zaire, Fang (Gabon), Maasai (Kenya, Tanzania), and Ethiopia. Highlights include the W. Henry Kerr collection (northern Cameroon from 1892-1899); the Amandus Johnson collection (Angola/Ambundu from 1922-1924); and the Henry Usher Hall collection (Sierra Leone/Bolom from 1936-1937). These collections are both large (and consequently more coherent) and accompanied by other textual data. There are field notes for the Johnson and Hall collections. The Maasai collection (1910-1920) is another large and interesting collection.

This is primarily a research collection (the material cannot leave the premises of the archives) but the images can be duplicated. The collection is open for viewing by museum staff members only from 9h30 to 15h, Tuesday through Friday. Non-museum staff need to complete a research application. To view the commercial prints (prints the museum has purchased), permission must be obtained from Douglas Hall. Permission to view prints resulting from museum expeditions require Kris Hardin's permission.

b) Film Archives
Contact person: Charles or Jean Kline

The film archives contain negatives and films. The negatives are catalogued by number which can be obtained by consulting the catalogue in the main archives. The catalogue is organized by nation-state with subheadings indicating the material and function of the objects depicted (less than six percent of the negatives represent general views). The Kintner Film collection contains fifty-seven reels of 16mm film depicting "natural" scenes and artisanal activities. Each film is approximately ten minutes in duration. The films are in color but without sound. There are three reels on Zanzibar (1952), seven reels on East African game parks and the Maasai (1952), eight reels on Niger (1967), three reels on Chad (1967) and thirty-six reels on Ethiopia (1969). There are an additional sixteen movies which the Museum owns and the Basil Davidson "Africa" BBC series. These films date from 1916 to 1970. For the most part they tend to represent peripheral and "exotic" peoples: Pygmies, Zhu Twasi, and Tutsi. African dance and music is similarly represented.

The films are catalogued and accessible to anyone. Copies of the slides are similarly accessible. Obtaining copies takes time, however, and can be expensive.

c) Women's Committee
Contact person: Alison Goff

The women's committee is collecting and processing 35mm slides. These slides which are gleaned from member's photo albums, are accessible to all. Slides are being catalogued with relevant information noted on 3 x 5 cards. There are approximately one hundred slides dealing with sub- Saharan Africa. These slides represent an ethnographic, as opposed to aesthetic, approach to Africa. They are, however, of mixed quality.

d) Museum Education Department
Contact person: Gillian Wakely

The Museum Education Department has approximately three hundred slides, many of which are duplicates. Ninety percent are of African "art" objects, the remainder are images of the Zhu Twazi and the Kalahari Desert. Of the art objects, sixty percent are evenly divided (approximately twenty each) between Dogon, Bolom, Baga, Akan, Ejagham, Kongo, Kuba, Penda, Songhye, and Limba. The remaining slides (one hundred) represent Benin ivories and the investiture of a Benin oba. This collection is for the exclusive use of the museum education department.

The Museum Education Department also conducts guided tours of the Africa Gallery (by reservation) for groups and schools. The Africa Gallery is especially strong in its West and Central African artifacts. The collections include the famed bronzes and ivories from Benin; dramatic masks from Mali and Gabon; nail figures from Zaire; a variety of musical instruments; and artifacts from the Kalahari Desert of Southwestern Africa. In addition to the guided tour service, teacher guides and other educational materials are available with some of the exhibits.

e) Outreach Lecture Program
Contact person: Elizabeth Neaves Straw

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funds the Outreach Lecture Program of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Its mission is to make the resources of the Museum available throughout the library system of the state of Pennsylvania. The 1994-95 lecture topics for adults include: Nubia; Egypt's Rival in Africa; Dances of the Old Mali Empire; Hair Itage: The Art of African-American Hair Sculpting; the History and Mystery of Belly Dance; Kente Cloth: A Window into Ghana; Moving Perspectives on Dance; and Tunisia: Crossroads of Culture; To Visit the African Continent. The 1994-95 lecture topics for children include: Myths and Tales of Ancient Egypt; Dance in Egypt as a Celebration of Daily Life; Life in Ancient Egypt; Building Positive Self-Images in Children through African Dance; the Continent of the Drum; and Daily Life of the Ancient Egyptians.

e) International Classroom
Contact person: Mary Day or Sue Dike

International Classroom arranges for international students and residents of Philadelphia to give presentations about their countries and cultures. International classroom currently involves about 150 speakers from more than 50 countries. Programs are offered for school classes and assemblies, community organizations, college courses, teacher workshops, and adult study groups. Speakers visit the schools or presentations can be offered at The University Museum. "World: Ancient and Modern" programs combine a guided tour of a Museum gallery with a presentation by a speaker from a culture associated with that gallery. For example, a tour of the African Gallery could be combined with a speaker from Nigeria. The 1994 Speaker Topic List includes various topics by speakers from Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, and Uganda.


Contact person: Micheline Nielson

The Art History Department and the Architecture School have combined their collections in the basement of the Furness Building. There are about a thousand slides. The collection has been developed from 1947 to the present as a teaching collection. All of the slides are copies. Half of the collection contains images of art objects in Zaire (two hundred slides) and Nigeria (three hundred slides). There are a hundred slides of Malian art objects and fifty slides of Gabonese art. Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, and Angola have forty slides each; Liberia and Sierra Leone have twenty-five slides each; Togo and Benin have fifteen slides each; and Congo, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have five slides each. Only one hundred and forty slides have ethnographic content.

This collection is not available for viewing or borrowing. M. Nielson emphasized that this collection is of no significance for researchers; it is a teaching collection for the use of Art History and Architecture Faculty.


Contact person: Stephanie Wardwell and Lars Jenner

The Folklore Department has two audio-visual cassettes of African events held at Penn: Xhosa oral poetry and Alhaji Ba Kente's Kora playing. Each are approximately one hour. They also have a thirty minute tape of a Senegalese griot and an Ethiopian story-teller put out by the National Federation of Community Broadcasters in Washington, D.C.

Anyone can use these cassettes and tapes. Those wishing to present them in a class room situation need to make copies of them. Those wishing to use them for research purposes need to obtain permission from the respective producers.


Contact person: Luke Sullivan

The SAS Audiovisual center has audiovisual tapes of all performances taking place on the Penn campus, movie cassettes, language tapes, and SCOLA foreign news shows. The center has two audio-visual cassettes relating to Africa: Ancient African Music" and "Benin Kingship Rituals." The former is a one hour taping of African music performances for the Philomathean Society. The latter is a purchased tape of the investiture of a Benin oba. The center has no movies by African producers. It does, however, have a French movie "Coup de Torcheron" which takes place in colonial Senegal. The center has Swahili language tapes and Kenyan news programming, thirty minute sessions shown at 2h30 weekdays and 0h on weekends. Their most recent acquisition is a complete set of Beginning Amharic Language audio cassette tapes, with accompanying text.


The Annenberg school has no African materials of any kind.


Contact person: Mary Martin

Middle East Center Audio Visual Resource Library October 6, 1993

To reserve a film/video, phone (215) 898-6335. Films/video should be returned within 24 HOURS of your viewing date to University of Pennsylvania, 839 Williams Hall, 36th & Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305. Because of the heavy demand for some films, please make requests at least a month in advance.


*(Videos are starred)

7.* Al-Andalus (1992, 57 min., color, HS/C). This program is based on the 1992 exhibition "Al-Andalus, Islamic Art in Spain, held in Granada and at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It depicts the artistic and cultural achievements of Islam in the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghrib in the years 711 to 1492. This Islamic heritage is presented by Mohammed, a learned man of the Nazari court, providing a retrospective account staged on the eve of Granada's conquest. His story takes us to the Cordoba of Caliph Abd el-Raman III. Taifa's kingdom in Saragossa, Almohade Mamkesh and the Granada of the Nazari. The program is a joint production of Sogetel, S.A., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

13.* Between Two Worlds (1/2" VHS, 50 min.). Film by Abdullah Hammoudi. The manners, beliefs and ideas which Arabs share today, set against the image of the Arabs' unique medieval society. The film explores the life of a man from Fez, Morocco from his traditional childhood to a diplomatic career.

14.* Cairo: The City Victorious (1983, 55 min., color, 1/2" VHS, C). (The Arabs: A Living History Series).

18.* Egyptian Peaks (1/2" VHS, HS). This series provides brief overviews in three broad areas interest: History, Geography, and Culture. Each program surveys the "peaks", or major contributions, of this ancient civilization. In each program, students from Colorado join tour guide Reynelda Muse in a brief visit to both ancient and modern Egypt.

19. Egyptian Village: Guezeret Eldahab (1960, 18 min., color, 16mm, HS/C). A picture of Egyptian family life, agricultural methods, culture. (FADED PRINT).

23. Folk Music of Libya (10 min., color, 16mm, n.d.). Old footage of Libyan folkloric dance troupe.

37.* Letter from Morocco (1992, color, 1/2" VHS, HS/C)

40.* Merchant of Art (1986, 1/2" VHS, color, C). Recitation of the Bani Hillal epic by an Upper Egyptian poet. Produced by folklorist, Susan Slymovics.

53.* Orient/Occident (1984, 30 min., color, 3/4" & 1/2" video, HS/C). Relations of Islam and the West from the Crusades to the Algerian revolution.

60. Price of Change (1982, 26 min., color, 16mm, Study Guide, C). Changing attitudes to work, the family, sex, and women's place in Egyptian society.

61.* Routes of Exile: A Moroccan Jewish Odyssey (90 min., 1/2" VHS). This film looks at the remnant of the Jewish community left in Morocco, shot on location.

62.* Quranic School in a Changing World (23 min., color, 1/2" and 3/4" video, Study Guide, HS/C). Traditional form of learning in Morocco, Yemen, Senegal, and Indonesia.

63. Saints and Spirits (1977, 26 min., color, 16mm, Study Guide, C). Islamic experience of women from Marrakech, Morocco.

69.* Studying Literacy in Morocco (1989, 20 min., color, 1/2" VHS, C). This film is provided by Prof. Daniel Wagner of the School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, and grows out of his studies of acquisition of literacy and Islamic schooling. (Available for purchase).

77. Veiled Revolution (1982, 26 min., color, 16mm, Study Guide, HS/C). Egyptian women discuss history and reasons for and against veiling.

79.* Ways of Faith (50 min., 1/2" VHS). Film by Ali el Meh. The daily experience of Islam in a rural Muslim community. Three expressions of Islam - orthodox, sufism, and reliance on baraka - are presented in one city, Umdurman, Sudan. (The Arabs - A Living History Series).

Arabic Foreign Language Films with English Subtitles in Video

82.* Al Aragouze (The Puppeteer) (125 min., color, 1/2" VHS, HS/C). This 1989 Egyptian film marks the return of Hollywood star, Omar Sharif, to the Egyptian film industry where he got his start. He stars as an aging puppet master who loves to entertain, with the purpose of conveying the message of justice for all. He struggles to save money to send his beloved son Bahloul to the university in Cairo. When Bahloul leaves the small village for the Cairo he turns into a heartless businessman setting up a confrontation between father and son, idealism and opportunism.

83.* Alexandria... Why? (125 min., 1/2" VHS). An autobiographical film of film director Yusef Chahine's childhood in Alexandria at the time of WW II.

84.* Dreams of Hind and Camelia (120 min., color, 1/2" VHS, HS/C). In this 1989 film, Egyptian director, Mohamed Khan, specialist in capturing the feeling of the urban milieu, traces the friendship of two exploited servant women of Cairo. Camelia, divorced and unable to bear children and dreams of independence and Hind, a widow from the countryside who longs to return to her native village. The story follows their lives and loves until Hind gives birth to a girl "Ahlam" (which means dreams.)

85.* Hyenas Under the Sun (100 min.). Tunisia

87.* Qahir al-Zalam (Conquest of Darkness) (1/2" VHS). An Egyptian feature film about Taha Hussein's education.

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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