Yale University. Calendar. Directories.
People Who Play a Part

Lamin Sanneh

D. Willis James Professor of Missions &World Christianity and Professor of History

Director, World Christianity Initiative at Yale

(203) 432-5336

Lamin Sanneh is the D. Willis James Professor of Missions and World Christianity and Professor of History at Yale. Born in The Gambia and descended from an ancient African royal family and a naturalized U.S. citizen, Professor Sanneh was educated on four continents. He earned degrees in history and Islamic studies and has taught in several Universities, including the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and Harvard, before coming to Yale in 1989.

Professor Sanneh is the author of some two hundred articles on religious and historical subjects and more than a dozen books on Islam and Christianity. His works include, Abolitionists Abroad: American Blacks and the Making of Modern West Africa and Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in “Secular” Britain (with Lesslie Newbigin and Jenny Taylor), The Crown and the Turban: Muslims and West African Pluralism; Religion and the Variety of Culture: A Study in Origin and Practice; Piety and Power: Muslims and Christians in West Africa; and Het Evangelie is Niet Los Verkrijgbaar. Most recently, he has published Whose Religion is Christianity?, The Gospel Beyond the West, as well as Disciples of All Nations: Pillars of World Christianity, the inaugural volume in the Oxford Studies in World Christianity series of which he is series editor, and co-edited The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West, and the World. He writes articles for scholarly journals, including Church History: Studies on Christianity and Culture; Newsletter of the International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (University of Leiden, The Netherlands); The Times Literary Supplement; The Review of Faith & International Affairs; and The Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion. He is working on a book on Islam and the Transmission of Values under contract with Harvard University Press and has a forthcoming memoir, Summoned from the Margin: African Homecoming.

He is Honorary Research Professor in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, a recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge University. Dr. Sanneh serves as the Director of the World Christianity Initiative at Yale and is chair of Yale’s Council on African Studies. He is an editor-at-large of the ecumenical weekly The Christian Century and a contributing editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, and he serves on the editorial boards of several academic journals and encyclopedias. He has served as consultant to the Pew Charitable Trusts and been listed in Who’s Who in America. He was an official consultant at the 1998 Lambeth Conference in London and is a member of the Council of 100 Leaders of the World Economic Forum. He was appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Commission of the Historical Sciences, and by Pope Benedict XVI to the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with Muslims. He was the recipient of the John W. Kluge Chair in the Cultures and Societies of the South by the Library of Congress. For his academic work, he was made Commandeur de l’Ordre National du Lion, Senegal’s highest national honor. M.A. University of Birmingham (England); Ph.D. University of London.



Chloë Starr

Assistant Professor of Asian Christianity and Theology, Yale Divinity School


(203) 432-1424

Chloë Starr was educated at Cambridge, Harvard and Oxford Universities, completing her doctorate in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford in 2000. She taught at the universities of Durham and Oxford, before joining Yale in 2009.

Professor Starr is the author of Red-light Novels of the Late Qing (2007), editor of Reading Christian Scriptures in China (2008) and co-editor of The Quest for Gentility in China (2007). She has written numerous articles on late imperial literature and on Chinese Christian texts. She has appeared regularly on BBC radio broadcasts discussing Christianity in China; makes frequent trips to China and Hong Kong for research and lectures, and hosts visiting Chinese scholars. 

She is an honorary Researcher at the Institute for the Promotion of Chinese Language and Culture, Renmin University of China and an honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Sino-Christian Studies, Hong Kong



Jim Ehrman


James E. Ehrman

Program Coordinator , World Christianity Initiative at Yale



James Ehrman is the Executive Director of the World Christianity Initiative at Yale. Prior to this appointment, he served thirteen years as an international service worker with the Evangelical Congregational Church before being named the denomination's Director of Global Ministries.  Having traveled in over 25 nations he has had the privilege of working closely with a broad spectrum of national church leaders throughout the majority world on projects ranging from education and organizational development to numerous relief and development initiatives.