April 17, 2003 Romila Thapar Named as First Holder of the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South at Library of Congress

Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940; Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Romila Thapar as the first holder of the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South at the Library of Congress. The holder of this chair, which is located in the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, pursues research on the regions of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, or the islands of the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand, using the immense foreign language collections in the specialized reading rooms of the Library of Congress.

As occupant of the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South, Thapar will spend ten months at the John W. Kluge Center pursuing "Historical Consciousness in Early India" as her area of research.

Romila Thapar, emeritus professor of Ancient Indian History at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Dehli, who has served as visiting professor at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, is a recognized authority on Indian history. The author of many seminal works on the history of ancient India, her volume of the Penguin History of India has been continuously in print since 1966. Her latest publication is "Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300." Other recent works are "History and Beyond," "Cultural Pasts: Essays in Early Indian History," and "History and Beyond." In her published works, Thapar has pioneered both the study of early Indian texts as history and the integration of the critical use of archaeology with written sources.

During her illustrious career, Thapar has held many visiting posts in Europe, the United States and Japan. She is an Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She has honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, the University of Oxford and the University of Calcutta.

Through a generous endowment from its namesake, the Library of Congress established the John W. 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, D.C. 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 (Henry A. Kissinger Chair, Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics, and the Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education); and nearly 25 post-doctoral fellows.

For more information about the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South or any of the other fellowships and grants 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, web: https://www.loc.gov/loc/kluge/.


PR 03-068
ISSN 0731-3527