Nigeria-Born American Scholar, Saheed Aderinto Awarded World’s Largest Prize for Outstanding Work in History

by Duchess Magazine

On February 28, the Dan David Prize, the largest history award in the world, named the 2023 recipients. Professor Saheed Adetinto, a researcher from Nigeria who teaches at American universities, is one of this year’s honorees. Nine early and mid-career researchers and practitioners from Kenya, Ireland, Denmark, Israel, Canada, and the United States will each receive $300,000 to acknowledge their accomplishments and support their future work.

Ariel David, a board member of the prize and son of its founder said, “Our winners represent a new generation of historians. 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.”

Saheed Aderinto is a professor of history and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University. Aderinto is a historian who specializes in Nigeria but also examines colonial subject-hood and identity in contemporary Africa.

He is the author of a number of books, including When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900–1958 (University of Illinois Press, 2015), Guns and Society in Colonial Nigeria: Firearms, Culture, and Public Order (Indiana University Press, January 2018), and Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa: The Human and Nonhuman Creatures of Nigeria (Ohio University Press, 2022).

Aderinto earned his BA in history from the University of Ibadan and his Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 2001, Dan David, an entrepreneur and philanthropist of Romanian descent, established the Dan David Award. At first, the award honored “great achievements to humanity” with a $1 million prize for each of the three winners. The award’s objective changed in 2021 to honor a variety of historical researchers who are still in the early phases of their careers and might not otherwise have the means to further their studies.

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