Ousmane Kane, a renowned scholar of Islamic studies and comparative and Islamic politics, has been appointed as the first Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Professor of Contemporary Islamic Religion and Society at Harvard Divinity School with a joint appointment as Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He took up the new position on July 1, 2012, and will begin teaching in the spring 2013 term. Kane comes to HDS from Columbia University, where he has been associate professor of international and public affairs at the university’s School of International and Public Affairs since 2002.
Kane studied at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales (National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations) in Paris, where he obtained an advanced degree in Islamic studies, a BA in classical Arabic, and a BA in colloquial Arabic. He has an MA in translation and documentation from the École supérieure d’interprètes et de traducteurs (Graduate School of Interpreters and Translators), and he received an MPhil and a PhD in political science from the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies).
After earning his PhD, Kane was appointed senior lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the Université de Saint-Louis in Senegal, where he worked from 1993 to 2002. He has held academic appointments at the University of Kansas, the School of African and Oriental Studies in London, Yale University, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin.
"Professor Kane is a distinguished historian and interpreter of Islamic religion and practice in West Africa, as well as a discerning analyst of transnational connections between African immigrant communities and their West African homeland," said William A. Graham, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor (HDS Dean 2002-12). "He will be a major new resource for both the Divinity School and the wider University in the study of African religion and society and transnational Islam."
Kane is a member of various professional organizations, including the African Studies Association of North America and the Council for the Development of Social and Economic Research in Africa, a leading African social science consortium.
His books include Muslim Modernity in Postcolonial Nigeria (Brill, 2003), which examines the transformation of Islamic identities in Nigeria during the postcolonial period; The Homeland Is the Arena: Religion, Transnationalism and the Integration of Senegalese Immigrants in America (Oxford University Press, 2010); Non Europhone Intellectuals, Codesria, 2012; Iand Timbuktu and Beyond: Rethinking African Intellectual History forthcoming.
He has published articles in numerous journals, including the Harvard International Review, Politique étrangère, Afrique contemporaine, Cahiers d’Etudes africaines, and African Journal of International Affairs. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from, among others, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, Columbia University, Northwestern University, and the Gerda Henkel Foundation.
Text prepared by Jonathan Beasley, Assistant Director of Communications at Harvard Divinity School.