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Saheed Aderinto- The First Nigerian To Receive Dan David Prize

Saheed Aderinto is Professor of History and African Diaspora Studies at Florida International University. In recognition of his “outstanding scholarship that illuminates the past and seeks to anchor public discourse in a deeper understanding of history,” he won the $300,000 Dan David Prize in 2023.

David Prize, the foremost financial reward for excellence in the historical discipline in the world. The selection panel for the Dan David Prize praised Aderinto’s 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.” Meanwhile, notable Nigerians including President Muhammadu Buhari and the country’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu has commended the Professor of History and African Diaspora Studies for his achievement.

For the record, Professor Aderinto has edited and co-edited a number of books, and his work has appeared in leading Africanist and specialist journals including, the Canadian Journal of African Studies; Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History; Journal of the History of Sexuality; Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History; History in Africa: A Journal of Method; Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies; Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute; the Journal of Social History; and the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, among others.

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Aderinto, corresponding to his official website, he has published 8 books, 37 journal articles and book chapters, 40 encyclopedia articles, and 20 book reviews. He is the author of Animality and Colonial Subjecthood in Africa: The Human and Nonhuman Creatures of Nigeria (Ohio University Press/New African Histories Series, 2022); Guns and Society in Colonial Nigeria: Firearms, Culture, and Public Order (Indiana University Press, January 2018) and When Sex Threatened the State: Illicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900-1958 (University of Illinois Press, 2015)–Winner of the 2016 Nigerian Studies Association’s Book Award Prize for the “most important scholarly book/work on Nigeria published in English language.

Similarly, his other books include, Sports in African History, Politics, and Identity Formation (Routledge 2019, co-edited); Children and Childhood in Colonial Nigerian Histories (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, edited); African Kingdoms: An Encyclopedia of Empires and Civilizations (ABC-CLIO, 2017, edited); Nigeria, Nationalism, and Writing History (University of Rochester Press, 2010, co-authored) and The Third Wave of Historical Scholarship on Nigeria: Essays in Honor of Ayodeji Olukoju (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012, co-edited).

Born in Ibadan, Nigeria on January 22, 1979. Aderinto completed his elementary school education at Adeen International School in 1990 and secondary school at Ibadan City Academy in 1996. The Founding President of the Lagos Studies Association, Aderinto received his BA in History from the University of Ibadan and his PhD at the University of Texas at Austin after he moved to the United States in 2005. Further, he spent thirteen months in Nigeria, conducting research on his book and documentary projects on Fuji, an African popular culture between March 2020 and July 2022.

Outlining the award winning academician, Philip Ojetola, Editor at Bookcraft Ltd, Nigeria said: “Saheed Aderinto has proved to be a focused man, who knows what he wants and how to get it. At a time when some of us, though his seniors in the History Department, University of Ibadan, were obviously buffeted by ‘crisis of confidence’ in respect of the utility of historical scholarship, he took the bull by the horn, and consistently plodded along. And the result? A Masters and a PhD in History in less than 5 years ! That is quite a feat, judging by the fact that he bagged these graduate degrees from one of the most respected institutions in the world, and under the tutelage of one of the best brains in the field, as far as African specialisation is concerned.”

He characterize himself as a serial methodologist and decompartmentalizing historian who adopts multiple disciplinary tools in understanding the past while blending different genres of history to reveal the complexities of people and events that came before us.

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