Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed David Laitin, a political science professor at Stanford University, to the Chair of the Countries and Cultures of the North in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.
At the Kluge Center, from December 2010 through March 2011, Laitin will analyze data he has collected over the past several years on the social and economic integration of Muslims into contemporary France. He hopes to use the Library’s vast resources to provide him with materials on the historical origins of French secularism and the cultural context of Senegal, the country of the Muslim migrants whose descendents he has studied.
Laitin is the James T. Watkins IV and Elise V. Watkins Professor of Political Science in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford. He has conducted field research on issues of language, religion and nationalism in Somalia, Yorubaland (Nigeria), Catalonia (Spain) and Estonia.
Laitin has published extensively on ethnic cooperation and conflict, religion-based discrimination and the organizational sources of suicide terrorism. He is the author of numerous articles and six books, including “Nations, States and Violence” (2007), “Identity in Formation: the Russian-speaking Populations in the Near Abroad” (1998) and “Language Repertoires and State Construction in Africa” (1992).
A graduate of Swarthmore College, Laitin earned his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board at Sciences Po Paris (the Paris Institute of Political Science). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 2007.
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 and energize one another to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit www.loc.gov/kluge/
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