Saheed Aderinto: Nigerian Professor Wins ‘Largest History Prize In The World’

Saheed Aderinto

A Professor of History and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University, Saheed Aderinto, has won the Dan David Prize, characterized as “the largest history prize in the world”.

The Dan David Prize is a prestigious worldwide award that recognizes and promotes excellent contributions to history and other disciplines that illuminate the human past.

Each year, the Dan David Prize gives up to nine $300,000 prizes to outstanding early and mid-career historians and practitioners.

The 2023 Dan David Prize winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by colleagues, institutions and the general public in an open nomination process. The finalists were chosen by a global committee of experts that changes annually.

Nine emerging scholars of history from around the world were winners of the 2023 prize award.

Announcing the winner on Tuesday, the Dan David Foundation said Mr Aderinto is among the nine winners who will receive $300,000, each, in recognition of their outstanding scholarship in the historical discipline.

With a total monetary prize of $2.7 million, the Dan David Prize “recognises outstanding scholarship that illuminates the past and seeks to anchor public discourse in a deeper understanding of history,”.

Recipients must be engaged in “outstanding and original work related to the study of the human past, employing any chronological, geographical, and methodological focus.” They “should exhibit strong potential for future excellence, innovation, and leadership that will help shape the study of the past for years to come.”

While the Prize winners “must have completed at least one major project, the prize is not given for that project, but rather in recognition of the winner’s overall achievements as well as their potential for future excellence,”.

The Washington Post described the Dan David Prize as “the new MacArthur-style ‘genius grant’ for history.” Selection is by nomination.

The awards ceremony will be held in Israel in May.

The selection committee commended Mr Aderinto’s work “for situating African history at the cutting edge of diverse literatures in the history of sexuality, nonhumans, and violence, noting that it is exceptional to see a single person leading scholarship in all of these fields,”.


Mr Aderinto has published 8 books, 37 journal articles and book chapters, 41 encyclopedia articles, and 21 book reviews. His latest book Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa examines the role of animals in Nigerian history.

He is currently working on a book and a documentary about Fuji music. Mr. Aderinto is also the founder of the Lagos Studies Association and a Senior Research Fellow at the French Institute for Research in Africa.

Mr Aderinto, who was born in Ibadan in 1979, obtained his Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Ibadan in 2004 and his Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010. He began teaching at Western Carolina University in 2010 and will be promoted to full Professor of History in 2021. In 2022, he transferred to Florida International University.

The other 2023 winners include Ana Antic from the University of Copenhagen, Karma Ben Johanan from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Elise Burton from the University of Toronto, Krista Goff from the University of Miami, Stephanie Jones‑Rogers from the University of California Berkeley, Anita Radini from the University College, Dublin, Mirjam Brusius from the German Historical Institute in London, Bartow Elmore from Ohio State University and Tyrone Freeman from Indiana University and Purdue University.



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