Emory University recently launched an online archive of Ivan Karp’s (1943–2011) published papers in order to keep his 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 new online archive 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. Downloadable links to Karp’s published papers are an important feature of the archive, which also includes video clips from his presentations and audio from the memorial held in his honor at the National Museum of African Art in November 2011. 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. The archive can be found online at http://international.emory.edu/karp_archive.
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. Plans are under way for Karp’s unpublished papers to be deposited with the National Anthropological Archives at the Smithsonian Institution.