Thanks to all who joined us at the reception for the reception for the exhibit opening of Imagining the World: Unexplored Global Collections at Columbia on April 17. Some pictures of the opening (and the exhibit itself) are included below. The exhibit will be in the Chang Octagon Room of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library through June 24, so please do come visit!
For a short list of “open access” articles and essays reflecting a wide range of approaches to the first visit by a sitting American president to both Kenya and Ethiopia and the first speech by an American president to be made at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, see the selections on offer from Columbia University Libraries’ “African Studies Virtual Library.” There are also links to other aspects of recent US foreign policies toward Africa.
Columbia faculty and students can now access the full text of digitized selected documents from the British National Archives on South Africa during the “apartheid” era. The “Archives Direct” collection on South Africa from Adam Matthew includes files from the Foreign, Colonial, Dominion and Foreign and Commonwealth Offices spanning the period 1948 to 1980; divided into three sections: 1948-1966, 1967-1975, and 1976-1980. For more details, see: Nature and scope of the collection.
This new digital resource complements other “primary resource” materials relating to 20th century South Africa and the southern Africa region available to researchers at Columbia, including: Aluka–The Struggle for Liberation in Southern Africa ; South African Government Gazettes–1910-1993 and 1994 to the Present ; Digital National Security Archive: South Africa: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1962-1989 ; The Gay J. MacDougall South Africa and Namibia Papers ; and, The Papers of The Committee for Health in Southern Africa.
For earlier historical periods, researchers at Columbia can search other “online” sources in Confidential Print: Africa, 1834-1966 ; Nineteenth Century Collections: Europe and Africa ; and, World Newspaper Archive–African newspapers before 1923.
A “subject” search in CLIO, using the terms “South Africa Sources”, will provide a greater sense of the “primary resource” offerings on South Africa at Columbia in print, microform, and electronic formats.
Columbia University Libraries access to Ethnographic Video Online has been expanded to Volume III, which emphasizes indigenous issues and perspectives, with much content created by indigenous film makers. Volume III currently contains nearly 100 hours of content and footage from the Oceanic regions of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. The collection will continue to expand with films from Australia, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Volume III complements the video material already available in Volume I and Volume II.
The Shoah Visual History Archive is largest database of first-person Holocaust testimonies, founded by Steven Spielberg. With over 50,000 testimonies from Holocaust survivors and liberators, carefully indexed in short segments for ease of searchability and use, the VHA is a tremendous resource for the history of the Holocaust.
Recently, the VHA has expanded to include other genocides, and now also holds 65 indexed testimonies of survivors from the 1994 Rwandan Tutsi Genocide.
To search the database, visit the Visual History Archive. Once you create a username and password, you will be allowed access to the tremendous index within the database. You can search by basic keyword, but also limit by qualifiers like "Warsaw" or 'ghetto bribery," to narrow your search and make it extremely specific.
Due to the large size of the database, the videos are not held locally at Columbia, but are uploaded upon request to a Columbia server. Once you find a testimony that looks appropriate for your research, click on the link to "request this testimony." You will receive an email notification when it is available for viewing. Because the uploaded videos are held on a Columbia server, the testimonies can only be viewed on the physical campus. If you are not in New York, or can't get to Columbia, you can view testimonies at one of many access sites (sfi.usc.edu/locator/) located around the world.
(Cross-posted on the Jewish Studies blog: https://blogs.cul.columbia.edu/jewishstudiesatcul)
Columbia University Libraries’ Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Gay J. McDougall South Africa and Namibia Papers and the records of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Southern Africa Project.
Ms. McDougall served as the Director of the Southern Africa Project for 14 years and was the only American to be appointed to the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC). The IEC was the South African governmental body established through the multi-party negotiations to set policy and administer the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, resulting in the election of President Nelson Mandela and the transition from apartheid.
The McDougall papers contain unique documentation of the activities and decisions of the IEC from the perspective of a member of the Commission and reveal a day-by-day detailed picture of the challenges confronted by the commission in mounting South Africa’s first democratic elections.”For nearly two decades, I was privileged to have a front-row seat to one of the greatest human dramas of the twentieth century: the defeat of apartheid,” said Ms. McDougall. “I was also fortunate to be able to play a substantive role in that struggle. I hope that the donation of my papers to Columbia will increase the chance that future scholars will benefit from the lessons of that victory.”
The papers document a pivotal period between 1980-1994 when Ms. McDougall and lawyers in South Africa and Namibia collaborated on the defense of and gained the release of thousands of political prisoners and detainees imprisoned during the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and Namibia. Among the papers is a collection of nearly 100 files on the trials of the political activists supported by the Southern Africa Project including non-confidential communications between Ms. McDougall and the lawyers representing those activists. Additionally, the papers document Ms. McDougall’s role in the United States-based anti-apartheid movement and the international networking that took place among activists, including efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy. Other key events and topics reflected in the collections include the establishment of the Commission on Independence for Namibia, and the development of judicial and constitutional norms, institutions, and legislation during the post-apartheid transitional period.
The Gay J. McDougall South Africa and Namibia Papers include correspondence, memoranda, photographs, videos, ephemera such as election ballots, original local news coverage, and Ms. McDougall’s diaries from trips to South Africa, Namibia and the Frontline States. Unique collections of publications by South African organizations including books, reports and briefing papers are also part of this remarkable collection. “Scholars and students researching the history of South Africa and Namibia during the final decade of apartheid and the transition years 1990-1994 will find that these papers are a treasure trove of information,” stated Professor Gail Gerhart, editor of the book series From Protest to Challenge: A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa, 1882-1990. “Columbia is privileged to receive this collection assembled by Gay McDougall, a major figure in the international antiapartheid movement.”
***Please note that research access to The Gay MacDougall Papers collection will not be possible until April 2014 or soon thereafter.
The Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research supports the community of teachers, students, researchers, and law and social justice advocates working in the multidisciplinary sphere of human rights.
For more about the Center:: http://library.columbia.edu/indiv/humanrights.html
For more information about the African studies collections at Columbia: http://library.columbia.edu/indiv/global/africa.html