At the 125th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Boston, Ghislaine Lydon (Professor of History at University of California at Los Angeles) received the Martin A. Klein Prize in African History for her book On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks, and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Western Africa (Cambridge University Press). Lydon received her PhD in African History at Michigan State University in 2000.
First awarded at the annual meeting on January 7, 2011, the Klein Prize in African History recognizes the most distinguished work of scholarship on African history published in English during the previous year. The prize committee, consisting of Edward A. Alpers, Jean Allman, and Benedict Carton, described On Trans-Saharan Trails in the following manner:
Lydon’s elegantly written book overturns received historiography by encompassing Sudanic and North Africa, while challenging associated notions of identity characterized by race. Based on exhaustive archival research and some 200 interviews, this transnational gendered study engages multiple historiographies to reveal the intricate multilingual history of how the trans-Saharan tradeoperated. Lydon’s curiosity, respect for her subjects, and meticulous reading of her sources make this book a model for all historians.