March 13, 2013 Indian Historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam Appointed Chair At The John W. Kluge Center

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Jason Steinhauer (202) 707-0213

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Sanjay Subrahmanyam as the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South at the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. Subrahmanyam will begin his tenure on March 15.

A distinguished professor of history at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and founding director of UCLA’s Center for India and South Asia, Subrahmanyam has published extensively on the medieval and early modern history of India, the Indian Ocean world and Eurasia.

He will spend four months at the Library of Congress researching two themes connected to South Asia. The first and major theme will concern first-person narratives from early modern South Asia. The second theme concerns French contacts and dealings with South Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries.

“Having worked extensively in the past on travel accounts, the history of trade, court culture, and history writing, my current projects continue along similar lines,” Subrahmanyam says. “In one project, I will re-examine first-person materials produced in India between 1500 and 1800. These writings have often been the object of both popular and scholarly misunderstandings. In a second project, I will pursue an examination of early French encounters with India, as part of a history of the beginnings of Orientalism. In both cases, I hope to make use of the Library’s unique collections.”

Subrahmanyam’s publications on Indian and world history date back nearly 30 years, and include “The Political Economy of Commerce: Southern India, 1500-1650,” “The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500-1700,” and two volumes on “Explorations in Connected History.” He is a managing editor of the Indian Economic and Social History Review, an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he is on the board of the multi-volume Cambridge History of the World.

The Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South is a distinguished senior research position in residence at the Library, appointed by the Librarian of Congress. Using research facilities and services at the Library of Congress, the scholar is expected to explore the history of the regions of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and the islands of the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand, using the immense foreign language collections in the specialized reading rooms of the Library.

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 more information about the Kluge Center visit

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at


PR 13-049
ISSN 0731-3527