Press contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Public contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

June 1, 2004

Lamin Sanneh Appointed to Kluge Center Chair of Countries and Culture of the South in the Library of Congress

Sanneh to Take Up Residence in September

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced the appointment of Lamin Sanneh, D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity and professor of history at Yale University, to the Chair of Countries and Cultures of the South in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

Prosser Gifford, head of the Office of Scholarly Programs, who oversees the Kluge Center, said of Sanneh's appointment: "To have someone with Professor Sanneh's knowledge and experience using the Library's extensive resources to examine the history of northern Nigeria will be a great boon to Scholarship."

At the Library of Congress, Sanneh will be inquiring into the institutions of Islamic governance and law before, during and after British rule in Nigeria.

A Gambian-born convert from Islam to Christianity, Sanneh graduated from the University of London with a doctorate in Islamic history and later taught at the University of Ghana and the University of Aberdeen. He served for eight years as assistant and associate professor of the history of religion at Harvard University before moving to Yale University in 1989.

A highly respected author and sought-after lecturer and public speaker, Sanneh has written extensively on a number of religious and historical subjects. Among his many books are: "Abolitionists Abroad: American Blacks and the Making of Modern West Africa" (1999); "The Crown and the Turban: Muslims and West African Pluralism" (1997); and "Encountering the West: Christianity and the Global Cultural Process: The African Dimension," (1993). For his academic work, Sanneh was made Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Lion, Senegal's highest national honor.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the Library's rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. The Kluge Center houses five senior Kluge Chairs (American Law and Governance, Countries and Cultures of the North, Countries and Cultures of the South, Technology and Society and Modern Culture). Other senior-level chairs are the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics, the Henry Alfred Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations and the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education and Technology. The center also accommodates some 25 postdoctoral fellows.

For more information about the Kluge Chairs or any of the other fellowships, grants and programs offered by the John W. Kluge Center, contact the Office of Scholarly Programs, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue S.E., Washington, DC 20540-4860; telephone (202) 707-3302, fax (202) 707-3595, or visit the Web at

# # #

PR 04-114
ISSN 0731-3527

Back to top