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Program of African Studies Marks 60th Anniversary With Public

An exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Program of African Studies will run through Dec. 17.

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October 28, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- An exhibition celebrating the 60th anniversary of Northwestern University's internationally renowned Program of African Studies (PAS) will open Friday, Nov. 7, on the University's Evanston campus and run through Dec. 17.

"Focus on Africa: Celebrating 60 Years of the Program of African Studies" will be displayed at Northwestern's Dittmar Memorial Gallery, located on the first floor of Northwestern's Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive. The opening reception begins at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7. The exhibition and opening reception are free and open to the public.

A mixed-media exhibition, "Focus on Africa," was curated by anthropology and PAS alumna Justine Cordwell. It brings together many stunning and priceless art objects commissioned by or donated to the Program of African Studies. The exhibition includes materials from the archives of Northwestern's Herskovits Library of African Studies -- the largest separate collection of Africana anywhere in the world -- and photographs donated by many of the program's early alumni.

"Focus on Africa" will provide a picture of what African studies was like in the discipline's early years and will trace the African travels of PAS founder and anthropologist Melville J. Herskovits. Herskovits, who began teaching at Northwestern in 1927, was among the earliest scholars to study and recognize the importance of the African heritage of black people of the New World. The exhibition also will take visitors to the Dittmar on an audio and visual "walk" through PAS today.

"Focus on Africa" is part of a yearlong series of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Program of African Studies. For a complete listing of PAS events -- which include conferences, films, plays and lectures -- visit http://www.northwestern.edu/pasanniversary/.

The exhibition will be on display with support from the Herskovits Library of African Studies, the Northwestern University Library Archives, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, the Dittmar Memorial Gallery and alumni of PAS.

During the PAS exhibition, the Dittmar Gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the gallery at (847) 491-2348 or Norris University Center at (847) 491-2300, e-mail dittmargallery@northwestern.edu or go to the Dittmar Web site at http://www.dittmar.northwestern.edu.