John W. Kluge Center

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Romila Thapar at the Kluge Center inaugural
In June 2014, the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress held a seminar focusing on astrobiology. Panel members (l to r) Robin Lovin, Derek Malone-France, and Steven J. Dick

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The John W. Kluge Center provides senior scholars, post-doctoral fellows, and doctoral candidates opportunities for research and study at the Library of Congress. Established in 2000 within the restored Thomas Jefferson Building, the Center is named for its benefactor, John W. Kluge who donated $60 million to support an academic center where accomplished senior scholars and junior post-doctoral fellows might gather to make use of the Library's collections and to interact with members of Congress. [1] In addition, his gift established a $1 million Kluge Prize to be given in recognition of a lifetime of achievement in the human sciences. [2]

The Kluge Center hosts frequent public lectures, conferences, symposia and other events in support of and based on the work of its resident scholars. Past resident scholars have included Václav Havel, Jaroslav Pelikan, John Hope Franklin, Robert V. Remini, William Roger Louis, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Abdolkarim Soroush, Klaus Larres, Xiang Lanxin, Melvyn P. Leffler, Ambassador Teresita Schaffer, David Grinspoon, Steven J. Dick, Morton Kondracke, and Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick.

The Center also comprises The Kluge Scholars' Council, a body of distinguished scholars, convened by the Librarian of Congress, to advise on matters related to scholarship at the Library, with special attention to the Kluge Center and the Kluge Prize.

Charter[edit]

Preamble

WHEREAS, American self-government was created by a very small group of people who were thinkers as well as doers; and among them, Thomas Jefferson asked to be remembered as the founder of an educational institution rather than as President of the United States; and building on Jefferson's own library, the Congress of the United States has built the Library of Congress into the largest collection of knowledge in human history; and

WHEREAS, The Library of Congress is located beside, and is uniquely positioned, and statutorily part of, the world's most important law-making body, and the Library has an opportunity as it enters its third century to reinvigorate the interconnection between thought and action at a high level; and

WHEREAS, The Library has been collecting the world's cultural heritage in the languages of the world and preserving through copyright deposit the mint record of American creativity in almost every media, and its expert staff preserves and makes accessible the nearly 121 million items in its collections, and a growing body of material from the emerging electronic technologies; and

WHEREAS, The United States of America is in an age where power and influence depend far more on knowledge than in the past and where our country's leaders will need to tap the wisdom of mature scholars who will make broad use of the Library's varied resources and whose judgment and objectivity would bring fresh perspectives to the city of government;

WHEREAS, John W. Kluge has shown by his generous benefactions to the Library of Congress an abiding concern with education and the opportunity for people to use knowledge for their own and the institution's and the Nation's benefit;

In consideration whereof, now, therefore, the Library of Congress has established The John W. Kluge Center

to bring a small number of the world's best thinkers into residence at the Library of Congress. The Center will assemble the finest minds characterized by broad historical or philosophical vision and capable of providing dispassionate wisdom and intelligent mediation of the knowledge in the Library's collections and of the information streaming into the Library via the Internet. They will have the opportunity through residence in the Jefferson Building both to distill wisdom from the rich resources of the Library and to stimulate, through informal conversations and meetings, Members of Congress, their support staffs and the broader public policy community. The Center's Scholars and Fellows will help bridge the divide between knowledge and power.

The Kluge Center will seek to be catalytic rather than bureaucratic and to deepen rather than merely recycle the work of the many other fine institutions and individuals in the Washington, D.C. area who also seek to narrow the gap between thinkers and doers. The Center will encourage its resident scholars to make wide-ranging use of the print and electronic multi-lingual, multi-medial, multi-disciplinary resources of the Library, and to bring their inquiries and rich learning into the intellectual life of the Library, the Congress, and the Nation.

Resident in the Kluge Center will be Senior Distinguished Scholars, occupying the Kluge Chairs, post-doctoral Fellows, and such other appropriate categories as the Librarian may designate. Kluge Scholars will normally be expected to be in residence for a period between six and eighteen months.

There will be five broadly defined Kluge Chairs, the occupants of which will be people of great scholarly accomplishment chosen solely for their intellectual and communicative abilities and free to pursue their own research in the Library's collections. The Kluge Chair-holders will be chosen by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a distinguished Scholars' Council composed of leading and wide-ranging scholars. The five Chairs are initially described as:

American Law and Governance, focusing on the development of government in the United States, using the world's largest Law Library and the finest collection anywhere of manuscripts on the formation of the American Republic

Countries and Cultures of the North, focusing on regions of the northern hemisphere, taken to include Canada, Europe, Russia and East Asia, using the immense foreign collections in the specialized reading rooms of the Jefferson Building

Countries and Cultures of the South, focusing on the regions of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and the islands of the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand, using the immense foreign collections in the specialized reading rooms of the Jefferson Building

Technology and Society, focusing on the impact of fast-changing technology on human societies, using the rapidly growing digital and on-line resources of the Library as well as the massive grey literature of science and technology to use and spread awareness of scientific materials, largely in the reading rooms of the Adams Building

Modern Culture, focusing on modern arts and media and their impact on society, using the Library's comprehensive music, film, television, architecture, literature, multi-media and folklore collections, largely in the reading rooms of the Madison Building

The Kluge Center will welcome and accommodate other distinguished Chairs in the Library of Congress, including three that have already been established:

The Harissios Papamarkou Chair in Education to focus on the Library's role in education, especially at present on the interaction between the new electronic and traditional artifactual knowledge;

The Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations to present both a distinguished annual lecturer in international affairs and an annual Kissinger Scholar who will occupy the Kissinger Chair at the Library of Congress;

The Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics to explore the history of America with special attention to the ethical dimensions of domestic economic, political, and social policies.

The Kluge Center will also accommodate at any given time up to a dozen Fellows, pursuing particularly at the post-doctoral level resident research usually for periods from five to ten months. Interdisciplinary and cross-cultural topics of a kind normally not encouraged in specialized departmental settings will be welcome. The selection of a diverse group of Fellows will be by competition in the human sciences, with some emphasis upon the five broadly defined categories of the Kluge Chairs as set out above. Kluge post-doctoral Fellows will have an opportunity to discuss their research with the Kluge Scholars and to explore possibilities for intellectual collaboration. Applicants for Kluge postdoctoral Fellows will be required to provide a statement of research, an indication of the ways in which a variety of Library of Congress collections will be used for the proposed research, a curriculum vitae, and three letters of reference from those who know the applicant and are able to evaluate the proposed research.

From time to time by invitation, a few Distinguished Visiting Scholars, may also be asked to spend shorter periods of time at the Kluge Center pursuing special research projects.

The Kluge Center will also accommodate as space is available other resident Scholars and Fellows working in the Library's collections.

The Kluge Center will be responsible for awarding the John W. Kluge Prize in the Human Sciences.

This article incorporates text from the Library of Congress website [1] which is a product of the US Government and in the public domain.

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