Each winner will receive $300,000 to recognise their achievements and support their future work.
By Hope Ibiale
African historians, Professor Saheed Aderinto, and Chao Tayiana Maina, have been announced as some of the winners of the 2023 Dan David prize, which is the largest history prize in the world. Other recipients are Stephanie Jones-Rogers, Krista Goff, Adam Clulow, Ana Antic, Elise Burton, Anita Radini, and Karma Ben Johanan. Each winner will receive $300,000 to recognise their achievements and support their future work.
“Our winners represent a new generation of historians,” said Ariel David, board member of the Prize and the son of its founder. “They are changing our understanding of the past by asking new questions, targeting under-researched topics and using innovative methods. Many of the winners we are recognizing today are still in the early stages of their careers, but they have already challenged how we think about history. Understanding the past, in all its complexity, is critical to illuminating the present and confronting the challenges of the future.”
While announcing on his Facebook page, Professor Aderinto said, “I just won the largest history prize in the world. It’s $300,000. For me, alone. One lump sum. 220 million, in Nigerian currency.”
Professor Saheed Aderinto, a Professor of History and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University, is known for his work on African history, politics, and culture. According to the Dan David Prize, his work challenges historians “to think about what constitutes the past in completely new ways, to ask new questions about the makers of history, and to question conventional assumptions about power, agency, and authority.”
On the other hand, Chao Tayiana Maina, the founder of African Digital Heritage, a non-profit organization in Nairobi, Kenya, uses innovative ways to highlight her country’s history. The Dan David Prize says she “uses digital technologies to capture and preserve previously hidden or suppressed historical narratives in Kenya, enabling communities to engage with their cultural heritage and centring African histories within digital spaces.” Maina is also the co-founder of the volunteer collective Museum of British Colonialism and the Open Restitution Africa project.
Established in 2001 by Romanian-born entrepreneur and philanthropist, Dan David, the Dan David prize first highlighted the notable contributions made to humanity but later turned its focus to history. The Prize is awarded by the Dan David Foundation each year to outstanding early and mid-career scholars and practitioners in the historical disciplines. This year’s winners were selected from scores of nominations submitted by colleagues, institutions, and the general public in an open nomination process. A selection committee of eminent scholars and practitioners in history and related fields recommended the winners.