Historians Appointed to Prominent Washington Positions

Two historians have recently been appointed to prominent positions in Washington. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced that historian Adele Alexander is joining the National Council on the Humanities. In addition, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed William Roger Louis, historian from the University of Texas at Austin, to the John W. Kluge Center Chair.

The National Council on the Humanities council is NEH’s 26-member advisory body. Alexander was nominated by President Barack Obama on Sept. 29, 2009 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Dec. 24, 2009. The National Council on the Humanities meets four times a year to review grant applications and to advise NEH’s chairman. Alexander is replacing Marguerite Sullivan on the council. Alexander will be sworn in at the February 2010 meeting; her term will run until Jan. 26, 2014.

Alexander is Adjunct Professor of History at George Washington University, where she has taught since 1983. She teaches classes on the history of slavery, the civil rights movement, and African-American women. Alexander has also taught at Howard University, University of Maryland-College Park, and Trinity College.

Professor Louis will be at the Kluge Center, from January through May. Louis is currently working on a history of the Oxford University Press.

Louis is the Kerr Professor of English History and Culture at the University of Texas (UT). He is also editor-in-chief of The Oxford History of the British Empire and director of the American Historical Association’s (AHA) National History Center.

The author and editor of approximately 30 books, Louis is best known for his work on the British Empire, focusing mostly on official British policy and decolonization in Asia, Africa and the Middle East in the period after the Second World War.

Louis became a Fellow of the British Academy in 1993, and in 1999 the Queen made Louis a Commander of the British Empire for professional achievement. He is also the former chairman of the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee and former president of AHA.

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