From the News column of the September 2009 issue of Perspectives on History

The AHA Announces the Martin A. Klein Prize in African History

AHA Staff, September 2009

The American Historical Association is pleased to announce the establishment of the Martin A. Klein Prize in African History, which will be conferred annually, starting at the January 2011 annual meeting. The prize will recognize the most distinguished work of scholarship on the history of continental Africa published in English during the previous calendar year.

The prize is named for Martin A. Klein, who is currently professor of history at the University of Toronto. Funding for the prize was completed thanks to a substantial donation from Dr. Mougo Nyaggah of California State University at Fullerton and his wife Dr. Lynette Nyaggah. Mougo Nyaggah was Klein’s first graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley. Nyaggah credits the completion of his doctorate to Klein’s mentoring, guidance, enthusiasm, and commitment to the research and teaching of African history. He observed, “There are many Martins who have or will mentor and inspire many Africanist students in American universities. Those mentors will be honored by this prize for their human and scholarly contribution.”

The effort to establish a prize in African history began almost five years ago, when Carolyn Brown (Rutgers Univ.-New Brunswick) noted the absence of a prize for works published on the history of the continent while she was co-chairing the AHA Program Committee. Since that time, Dr. Brown has been working with a 13-member fundraising committee to raise the funds necessary to endow the prize. Through their good efforts, the AHA received contributions from more than 50 members of the profession (see box on this page for a list of the initial donors). But the fund remained less than halfway to the amount necessary to endow a new prize until the Nyaggahs stepped in with their very generous gift.

The fund-raising committee was composed of Carolyn Brown, chair; Jean Allman (Washington Univ.); Ralph Austen (Univ. of Chicago); Judith Byfield (Cornell Univ.); Lee Cassanelli (Univ. of Pennsylvania); Mamadou Diouf (Columbia Univ.); Steven Feierman (Univ. of Pennsylvania); Sandra Greene (Cornell Univ. ); Allen Isaacman (Univ. of Minnesota); Paul Lovejoy (York Univ.); Patrick Manning (Univ. of Pittsburgh); Richard Roberts (Stanford Univ.); Ahmad Sikainga (Ohio State Univ.); Barbara Y. Welke (Univ. of Minnesota).

A more detailed prize announcement will be published later this fall, after the three members of the first prize selection committee are named. The first award will be presented at the General Meeting of the Association in 2011 (to be held in Boston on January 7, 2011) for a work published between May 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

Klein Prize Donors