Nigerian professor of history Saheed Aderinto wins $300,000 history prize

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Professor Saheed Aderinto, a Nigerian professor based in the United States, has won the 2023 Dan David Prize – the largest history prize in the world. He is the first and only Nigerian in history to win the award.

The Dan David Prize is an international award that recognises and supports outstanding individuals who contributes to the study of history and other disciplines that shed light on the human past.

The winners of the Dan David Prize 2023 were announced on February 28, with Professor Aderinto, a professor of History and African Diaspora Studies at the Florida International University, among the nine winners who got home with a prize of $300,000 each.

This, according to the awards organisers, is to recognize their achievements and support their future work.

Professor Aderinto was born in 1979 in Ibadan. He received a Bachelor in History from the University of Ibadan in 2004. Six years later, in 2010, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas in the United States of America.

In 2010, after receiving his Ph.D., he started lecturing at the Western Carolina University, where he lectured for many years before becoming a full Professor of History in 2021. In 2022, he moved to Florida International University.

In the same year, he started his teaching career at Western Carolina University where he became a full Professor of History in 2021. He later moved to Florida International University in 2022.

Professor Aderinto has published 8 books, 37 journal articles and book chapters, 41 encyclopedia articles, and 21 book reviews. He is considered as one of Africa’s greats in history.

“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,” states the awards committee praising Aderinto.

His recent book ‘Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa’ examines the role of animals in Nigerian history. He is also presently writing a book and making a documentary on Fuji music.

Professor Aderinto is the founding president of the Lagos Studies Association and a senior research fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa.

According to the awards committee, one has to exhibit strong potential for excellence, innovation, and leadership that will shape the study of the past for years to come, in order to be eligible.

“They must be engaged in outstanding and original work related to the study of the human past, employing any chronological, geographical, and methodological focus,” it added.

“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.”