Oral history interview with Richard Elphick, 2016 June 8.
Professor Richard Elphick talks to Heather Zavod in great detail about his academic history, including studying under and with Conrad Thompson, Jeffery Butler, Alan Smith, Louis Mink, and Don Moon at Yale, UCLA, The University of Wisconsin, and CSS. Richard also talks about his tenure as a Professor of African and Asian studies in Wesleyan after receiving a position from Judith Brown, then Vice President of Wesleyan, and the struggles he went through immigrating from Canada to the United States at the time. The professor also talks about how his field of studies provided him with a unique experience regarding South African Aparthied and interactions with individuals like Nico Smith and organizations like the Afrikaan Broederbond and Stellenbosch. Due to this, Elphick remembers being asked by President Colin Campbell to help take part in the Board of Trustees Social Implication Committee to deal with the topic of Disinvestment from South Africa, along with students Jim Brenner, Bob Booker, Tom Moran, Deryl Messinger, administrators Philippa Coughlan and Bob Kirkpatrick, and trustees Steve Pfeiffer and John Woodhouse. The consequences of Wesleyan’s disinvestment strategy, based on the ideas of Reverend Leon Sullivan, are also recounted, including the firebombing of President William Chace’s office and the murder of student Nicholas Haddad.