Professor of Anthropology
Professor Ngom’s current research interests include the interactions between African languages and non-African languages, and Ajami literature — records of West African languages written in Arabic script. He hopes to help train American scholars to have direct access to the wealth of knowledge still buried in West African Ajami literature and the historical, cultural, and religious heritage that has found expression in this manner. Another area of Ngom’s work is language analysis in asylum cases, a subfield of the new field of forensic linguistics. His work in this area addresses the intricacies of using knowledge of varied West African languages and dialects to evaluate the claims of migrants applying for asylum and determine if the person is actually from the country that he or she claims.
In November 2017, Prof. Ngom was awarded the African Studies Association’s Melville J. Herskovits Prize for his book, Muslims beyond the Arab World: The Odyssey of Ajami and the Muridiyya.