Book Launch In Honour Of Professor Emeritus J.H. Kwabena Nketia

Ghanaian Professor Emeritus Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia, one of the most influential scholars of African music and African studies in general will be honoured with a Festschrift on Thursday 2 July, 2015 at the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, Legon.

Titled, “Discourses in African Musicology”: J.H. Kwabena Nketia Festschrift, the volume is an academic tribute reserved for outstanding scholars who have made enduring contributions to their disciplines. The official book launch which is expected to attract an array of scholars and practitioners will take place at the Kwabena Nketia Conference Hall, Kwame Nkrumah Complex, Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, Legon at 4pm on the day.

With essays written by scholars and practitioners across the world and across disciplines, the Festschrift is edited by Kwasi Ampene (University of Michigan) with Akosua Adomako Ampofo (University of Ghana), Godwin K. Adjei (University of Ghana), and Albert K. Awedoba (University of Ghana).

The collection is published by MAIZE, an Imprint of Michigan Publishing (USA) with funding from the African Studies Center University of Michigan, Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Michigan and the Institute of African Studies University of Ghana, Legon.

The present volume is the outcome of a two day international conference organized by the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, in Accra in September, 2011. The conference on the theme “The Life and Works of Emeritus Professor J.H. Kwabena Nketia” served the purpose of exploring the many facets of African music studies by a broad array of scholars and performers.

Prof. Kofi Asare Opoku, Director, Centre for Africana Studies, African University College of Communication said: “This festschrift will honour the eminent Ghanaian scholar, Professor J. H. Kwabena Nketia, whose many-sided scholarly accomplishments are reflected in the varied themes of the essays contained in this collection. Professor Nketia’s crystal brilliance has left a lasting legacy, not only in African musicology but also in other areas of African Studies“.

Prof. Nketia, 94, who retired from the University of Ghana in 1979 was the first African Director of the Institute of African Studies. Other positions he has held include, Acting Principal, Presbyterian Training College, Akropong-Akuapem; Professor of Music, University of Ghana; Professor of Music at UCLA; Horatio Appleton Lamb Visiting Professor at Harvard University and Visiting Cornell Professor at Swarthmore College.

Others are, Distinguished Hannah Professor of Integrative Studies at Michigan State University, East Lansing; Visiting Professor at the University of Brisbane in Australia; Visiting Professor at the China Conservatory of Music, Beijing; Andrew Mellon Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh, and Langston Hughes Professor at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

He is also the Chancellor, Akrofi-Christaller Institute of Theology, Mission and Culture, Akropong-Akuapem; a Foundation Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts & Sciences; Honorary Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society of Great Britain, and Ireland; Honorary Member of the International Music Council (IMC-UNESCO); Honorary Fellow Of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Honorary Member of the Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA); Member of the International Jury for the Proclamation by UNESCO of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and Board Member of the National Commission on Culture, Ghana.

Emeritus Professor Nketia, is a renowned Africanist, ethno-musicologist, composer and poet, linguist and sociologist. “The diverseness of his works coupled with his world acclaimed brilliance in the arena of African music and arts sets him apart from his contemporaries”.

His numerous Awards include Cowell Award of the African Music Society, Companion of the Order of Star of Ghana, Grand Medal of the Government of Ghana (Civil Division), Ghana Book Award, ECRAG Special Honour Award (1987), Ghana Gospel Music Special Award (2003), ACRAG Flagstar Award (1993), ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for his book on the Music of Africa, IMC-UNESCO Music Prize for Distinguished Service to Music, Prince Claus 1997Award for Distinguished Service to Culture & Development, the Year 2000 Distinguished Africanist Award of the African Studies Association of the USA for Life-long Devotion to African Studies, and DLitt (Honoris Causa) of the University of Ghana.

His Foundation, The Nketia Music Foundation was incorporated in 2009 and seeks to promote and preserve his intellectual legacy.

Prof Nketia was educated at the University of London, Birkbeck, University of London and Columbia University. The Festschrift climaxes the celebration of J. H. Kwabena Nketia’s life and work.

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