A Passage to Africa

A Passage to Africa: Revisiting Jung’s Historic 1925 Journey
Host: John Beebe
Wednesday 15 August 2007

Part One:  Jung in Africa: The Historical Record (a film presentation)
Part Two:  Contemporary Perspectives on Jung’s “Journey to Africa” (a panel)


A Passage to Africa: Revisiting Jung’s Historic 1925 Journey
Host: John Beebe

Part One:  Jung in Africa: The Historical Record (a film presentation)

In 1925, As recounted in Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections, collected by Aniela Jaffe, Jung’s Apprentice: A Biography of Helton Godwin Baynes, by Diana Baynes Jansen, and Blake Burleson’s recent Jung in Africa, Jung made a ‘Psychological Expedition’ to Kenya and Uganda, where, at the foot of an extinct volcano called Mount Elgon, Jung encountered the Elgonyi people who had had little contact with Europeans. Fortunately, his assistant, the Jungian analyst H.G. (“Peter”) Baynes brought a movie camera along, and so we have a record of the expedition.

Blake BurlesonPresenter:  Blake Burleson, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor University, where he teaches world religions and African studies.  A frequent traveler on the African continent since 1978, Dr. Burleson directed the African Studies program at Baylor from 1996 to 2003.  He is the author of Pathways to Integrity: Ethics and Psychological Type (2001) and Jung in Africa (2005), the most complete and authoritative account of the Bugishu Psychological Expedition.  Dr. Burleson will show individual filmed sequences from the home movies taken by Helton Godwin Baynes during Jung’s five-month safari in East Africa with Baynes and Ruth Bailey in 1925.  In addition to presenting the clips and sketching in the historical background of the journey, Dr. Burleson will give the personal, geographical, cultural, and archetypal context for each of the sequences, so that the viewer can appreciate what being in Africa meant for Jung, and what Jung’s having been in Africa signifies for contemporary analytical psychology.

Part Two:  Contemporary Perspectives on Jung’s “Journey to Africa” (a panel)

Responding to Dr. Burleson’s presentation of Jung’s journey to Africa, the panelists will focus on what it means for a white European sensibility to attempt to come to terms with the perspectives of a non-white non-European culture.  The panel will explore the influence, in shaping such an experience, of notions of “race” and color, the meanings of cultural journeys, and the unconscious interface between native traditions and colonial complexes.  The final thirty minutes will be devoted to dialogue with the audience around these issues, and its sense of their significance for both Jung’s encounter with Africa and our own.

Panel:

Michael Vannoy AdamsMichael Vannoy Adams, Jungian analyst, (JPA New York), New York; Clinical Associate Professor at the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis; author of The Multicultural Imagination: “Race,” Color, and the Unconscious).  Dr. Adams’ most recent book is The Mythological Unconscious, which advances his formulations of the way culture inevitably affects the transmission and reception of the archetypal dimension of the unconscious (Chapter 3 of this book is titled, “African-American Dreaming and the ‘Lion in the Path’: Racism and the Cultural Unconscious”).

Nadine GordimerNadine Gordimer, novelist and short-story writer, author of July’s People, The Pick-Up, and other works of fiction about cultural encounters and journeys in Africa; winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, 1991.  Her most recent novel, Get a Life, published in November, 2005, is about a 35-year-old activist ecologist working to prevent development of the South African bush who learns that he is diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Ms. Gordimer was born in Springs, Transvaal, an East Rand mining town outside Johannesburg, which provides the setting for her first novel, The Lying Days (1953).  She was a founding member of the Congress of South African Writers.  Her 1994 Norton Lectures at Harvard, Writing and Being, examining the works of Naguib Mahfouz, Chinua Achebe and Amos Oz, bring into one frame the perspectives of “the Arab, the African, the Jew,” all of which have all informed her own writings. .

Sam Kimbles, Vice President-elect of the C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, co-editor (with Thomas Singer) of The Cultural Complex: Contemporary Jungian Perspectives on Psyche and Society and contributor to Dr. Singer’s The Vision Thing: Myth, Politics and Psyche in the World, which contains Dr. Kimble’s essay, “The Cultural Complex and the Myth of Invisibility,” about his experiences as an African American in Jungian analytic training.

Blake Burleson, author of Jung in Africa (see Part One, above).

John BeebeIntroducing Both Parts and Moderating the Panel

John Beebe, past president of The C. G. Jung Institute of San Francisco, editor of Money, Food, Drink, and Fashion and Analytic Training: Depth Dimensions of Physical Existence: The Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress for Analytical Psychology, 1980; author of Integrity in Depth.