by Corinne A Kratz, Emory U
The online archive of Ivan Karp’s published papers has moved and gotten a new look! Emory University launched the popular online archive in 2012 in order to keep Karp’s (1943–2011) work widely available. Karp was a social anthropologist and a leading scholar of social theory, museum and heritage studies, and African studies. He began his long-term research with Iteso communities in western Kenya in 1969. Karp wrote extensively about power, personhood and agency, about African societies and systems of thought, and he published groundbreaking work about museums and exhibitions.
The updated Ivan Karp Archive includes new photos and links and a new homepage design. The archive organizes Karp’s papers thematically, with sections devoted to Social Theory and African Systems of Thought; Museums, Exhibitions and Public Scholarship; African Philosophy; and the Iteso People of Kenya. Important features include: a) downloadable links to Karp’s published papers; b) video clips from his presentations, including one on writing successful grant proposals; c) links to the finding guide for the Ivan Karp Collection at the National Anthropological Archives, where Karp’s fieldnotes and unpublished papers have been deposited; d) an In Memoriam section with a praise poem written about Karp in Kenya and audio from the memorial in his honor held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in November 2011. The archive also includes complete lists of Karp’s books and of the works published in the two book series for which he served as editor: the African Systems of Thought series at Indiana University Press and the Smithsonian Series in Ethnographic Inquiry at Smithsonian Institution Press.
Karp was the National Endowment for the Humanities Professor at Emory University before his death in September 2011. He served previously as the Curator of African Ethnology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and as a professor at Indiana University and Colgate University. He founded the Center for the Study of Public Scholarship at Emory and for over a decade co-directed it with Corinne Kratz, fostering ongoing collaboration with colleagues in universities, museums, and other cultural institutions in South Africa through the Institutions of Public Culture program. The redesigned archive also features information about efforts to honor and continue Karp’s collaborative work in South Africa through the African Critical Inquiry Program, supported by gifts to the Ivan Karp and Corinne Kratz Fund.