Publication Date

February 1, 2010

Perspectives Section


Wm. Roger LouisLibrarian of Congress James H. Billington has appointed Wm. Roger Louis, former AHA president and distinguished historian from the University of Texas at Austin, to the John W. Kluge Center’s Chair for Countries and Cultures of the North.

While at the Kluge Center, from January through May, 2010, Louis will be working on various projects including the completion of a history of Oxford University Press and updating his work on the history of the British Empire in the Middle East.

Louis is the Kerr Professor of English History and Culture at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also editor-in-chief of the Oxford History of the British Empire and is the director of the National History Center, an initiative of the AHA. He also serves as the director and faculty leader of a series of summer seminars on decolonization that have been cosponsored by the Library of Congress and the National History Center, with the financial support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In early 2009, Louis was named Professor of the Year, at the University of Texas an award given in recognition of unwavering dedication and service to students (see the report in the April 2009 Perspectives on History, available online at

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. An anthology of his essays that was recently published by I.B. Tauris with the title, Ends of British Imperialism: The Scramble for Empire, Suez and Decolonization, was widely praised.

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 chaired the U.S. State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee for several years.
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. Further information on the Kluge Center is available at

Adapted from a press release from the Library of Congress.

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