Carnegie Mellon University

Lansiné Kaba

Lansiné Kaba

Distinguished Visiting Professor of History, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar


Dr. Lansiné Kaba is Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University at Qatar. He headed the Department of African American Studies from 1986 to 1995, and served as Dean of the Honors College from 1996 to 2001. He was President of the US /International/ African Studies Association from 1998 to 2001. He has received many awards and has lectured in many countries in Africa, Europe and the Middle East on both academic and current issues. His radio interviews and television appearances have made him a “public intellectual” in French-speaking Africa.


Ph.D.: Northwestern University 1970


Kaba’s doctoral research on the role of Muslim clerics and merchants in African nationalism in Mali and neighboring countries in West Africa resulted in a dissertation that was published as a monograph, The Wahhabiyya: Islamic Reform and Politics in French West Africa, 1945-1960 (Northwestern University Press, 1974). This book received the Melville J. Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association for 1975 for the best work in English in African Studies. His articles on the origin, growth and fall of the Askiya dynasty of Songhay / Timbuktu represent a significant contribution to the study of Islam and society in 16th-century West Africa. His interest in modern politics has resulted in many articles in refereed journals and in three monographs: Le “non” de la Guinée à de Gaulle (1989) which explored why Guinea rejected General de Gaulle’s 1958 project of a French-African community and chose independence instead; Kwame N’ Krumah ou le rêve de l’unité africaine (1991) which discusses President N’Kumah’ s rise in Ghana and his problematic quest for African unity; and Lettre à un ami sur la politique et le bon usage du pouvoir (1995) in which he reflects on freedom and democracy and makes an informed plea for good governance. His 2005 book, Cheikh Mouhammad Chérif et son temps, 1874-1955 (2004) deals with cultural transformation in an urban setting as well as charisma, spirituality and tolerance in the Islamic tradition of a Sufi leader in Kankan, Guinea, under the French colonial rule. His new book, Allahou akbar: islam, terrorisme et tolérance, une perspective africaine (2010), is both a reflection on how Islam has advocated forbearance and a plea for an interfaith symphony for peace in today’s world.

Department Member Since: 2009