UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
Consortium library collections reflect and are enhanced by several Africa-related programs, centers and institutes across the Consortium campuses. Brief descriptions of the various programs are included here. More information can be obtained by contacting the African Studies Center.
African Demography Training and Research Program
This program offers a unique and vital link to Africa. As part of the Population Studies Center, the program has produced more than 40 Ph.D.'s and many more M.A.'s, sponsored numerous post-docs, and hosted short-term visitors. The Program has pioneered the use of micro-computers in Africa, training researchers who can operate without the support of a large staff of specialists and mainframe computers. It has close ties to several universities and associations with other institutions throughout Africa. The opportunity to collaborate with researchers in both Francophone and Anglophone Africa is one of the Program's major strengths. Current funding is from the Mellon Foundation.
Afro-American Studies Program
The Afro-American Studies Program is devoted to understanding and evaluating the cultural, social, and economic factors that shape African and African-American experiences. Students major and minor in this interdisciplinary program, taking courses under the aegis of several university departments and through Penn's graduate and professional schools. The program is directed by John Roberts of the Department of Folklore and Folklife.
Annenberg School of Communication
The Annenberg School has undertaken one of the most extensive research programs in policy development for sub-Saharan Africa at Penn. This program involved child health research for development agencies in six African countries for a seven year period.
Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture
The Center was founded in 1987 to serve as a graduate and postdoctoral research institution. In the past, CSBLAC has served as a site for a Rockefeller Resident Fellowship Program and a Ford Foundation Seminar in Afro-American Studies. CSBLAC serves as a host for seminars, lecture series, reading groups, internship programs and visiting scholars from abroad and from universities in the United States. It is directed by Houston A. Baker Jr., who is the Albert M. Greenfield Professor of English.
In conjunction with the African Studies consortium colleagues at Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges, Penn is establishing exchange programs in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana and Senegal. Penn also maintains a comprehensive exchange agreement with the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.
Literacy Training and Development Program for Africa
This program has been established as part of the Graduate School of Education's International Literacy Institute. Funded by grants from UNESCO and USAID, the program concentrates on research, dissemination, instruction, and curriculum development. Two training workshops are held annually, one at Penn and the other in one of the targeted regional centers, Botswana, Tunisia or Nigeria. The Program also co-sponsored the 1995 Southern Africa Regional Forum on Literacy, held at the University of Cape Town.
The Medical School, as part of a Philadelphia consortium of medical schools, organized by the Kapnek Charitable Trust, participates in an exchange of students and faculty with the University of Zimbabwe Medical School. The School of Veterinary Medicine participates in a bio-medical research project in Kenya and is arranging a training program in southern Africa.
Penn Language Center
African language study is not restricted to specialists and is open to the entire Penn community and to students of nearby universities. The courses are structured to make the broad range of African source material accessible to researchers. Swahili is regularly taught through the third year; Yoruba through the second year; Amharic through the second year, and Hausa is available according to need. Arrangements can be made for the study of other African languages through individualized instruction at the first-year level. These have included Ewe, Ge'ez, Kinyarwanda, Wolof, Bambara, Oshivambo, Douala, Twi, and Zulu. Instruction in Arabic is available through the Middle East Center, and Egyptian, Coptic and Demotic are available through the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Program.
School of Nursing
The School of Nursing is engaged in training projects in Central and East Africa. Under a three year grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Nursing School--as part of a WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery--is planning a safe motherhood Trainer of Trainer (TOT) program in Kenya, Lesotho, Uganda and Zaire. It recently completed a five-year nurse mid-wife training project with Kamazu College of Nursing of the University of Malawi.
School of Social Work
Penn's School of Social Work has maintained an active exchange program with the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Penn's faculty were instrumental in helping to establish West Africa's first professional social work degree, based on a multidisciplinary course of study at Ibadan in 1985-86.
One of the largest collections of African art and material culture in the United States is located in the University Museum. Collected for a century, the 10,000 African objects in the Museum came primarily from research projects in sub-Saharan Africa, from major purchases of African objects made between the 1890s and World War II, and small donations and purchases thereafter. The Museum's long involvement in Africa adds a valuable historic dimension for scholars interested in material culture.
University Museum Archives
(Contact Persons: Douglas Haller and 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. The four boxes of prints in this collection 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 1922-24), and the Henry Usher Hall collection (Sierra Leone/Bolom from 1936-37). These collections are large and accompanied by 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, but the materials can be duplicated. Non-museum staff need to complete a research application for access. To view the commercial prints, permission must be obtained from Douglas Hall.
The Emerging Economies Program functions primarily as a research center focusing on emerging and transition economies in African, Asian, and Latin American countries and newly emerging states. Training in the development of housing finance systems is sponsored by the Real Estate Department of the Wharton School. The International Housing Finance Program operates a three-week intensive training course for senior officials from developing countries and emerging economies, 25 percent of whom are from African nations. Special training courses for South African housing and finance officials from both public and private sectors are also being offered.
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