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Nine Outstanding Historians, Archaeologists and Archivists Receive $300,000 (USD) Each as the Dan David Prize Recognizes Breakthrough Research on the Past

Winners' Work Includes Research on the Birth of Democracy in India, the Global Aesthetic Connections of Atlantic Slavery, the Underground Archive Jews Kept in the Warsaw Ghetto, the Socio-Economic Role of Epidemics in the U.S. South, Working-Class Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement, and the Secrets Revealed by the Bones of a Viking Army in Britain

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 2, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dan David Prize, the largest history prize in the world, today announced its 2024 winners – nine scholars whose work illuminates the past in bold and creative ways. This year's winners are early and mid career researchers who work in Europe, Asia and North America. Each will receive $300,000 (USD) in recognition of their achievements and to support their future endeavors.

"To decode the complexities of the present and face future challenges, we need to first of all better understand our past," said Ariel David, board member of the Prize and son of Dan David, the founder of the Prize. "By using innovative methods and source materials, our winners have offered us precious new historical insight, shedding light on everything from the birth of contemporary India to the underground archive of the Warsaw Ghetto and the deep connections of the Vikings to the East."

The 2024 Dan David Prize winners are:

  • Keisha N. Blain, Brown University - A historian of the 20th century United States, in particular Black history and women's history. Her research uncovers the roles that marginalized, working-class Black women played in the Civil Rights movement and other movements for revolutionary social change. Blain is a columnist with MSNBC and has published several award-winning books, including a biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, an anthology of African American history and an anthology of Black women writers on the future of democracy.

  • Benjamin Brose, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - A scholar of Chinese religion whose work spans both the early history of Buddhism in China and the transmission of ancient religious narratives into contemporary religious practices in Asia. In his work, Brose explores the power of stories to change people's understandings and experiences, focusing on classic Buddhist narratives such as the travels of the monk Xuanzang.

  • Cécile Fromont, Harvard University - An art historian who explores the visual, material and religious culture of early modern Africa, Europe and Latin America. Her recent work has a special emphasis on the aesthetic connections between Europe and Africa, as created and sustained by the Atlantic slave trade. Fromont is also a commentator on restitution questions involving museum artifacts and historical art that conveys controversial messages.

  • Cat Jarman, Archaeologist - A bioarchaeologist and historian specializing in diet, migration and the Viking Age. Jarman uses forensic techniques–like isotope analysis, carbon dating and DNA analysis on human remains–to interrogate traditional historical narratives and to highlight the lives of often overlooked populations like women, children and enslaved people. In her bestselling trade books, she uses these findings to tell complex and riveting stories about Viking armies and the bones of English kings. Jarman is also a co-host of the history podcast "The Rabbit Hole Detectives," a frequent commentator on documentaries and podcasts, and a former host of BBC's "Digging for Britain."

  • Daniel Jütte, New York University - A cultural historian of Europe. His work uses inconspicuous material objects and lesser known cultural practices as lenses to understand past societies over large swathes of time. For instance, Jütte's most recent book explores how the theoretical idea of transparency in Western culture was shaped by the physical experience of glass, and particularly the architectural feature of windows.

  • Stuart McManus, Chinese University of Hong Kong - A global historian of the early modern period whose work links regions that are generally studied separately, such as North America, Latin America, West Africa and South China. A historian of the Renaissance writ large, McManus studies both the spread of Humanism in a global perspective, and the links between Atlantic slavery and a much wider network of trade and human trafficking that spanned the early modern globe.

  • Kathryn Olivarius, Stanford University - A social historian of disease whose work highlights how past epidemics shaped societies, citizenship and capitalism, such as the yellow fever and syphilis epidemics in the 19th century American South. Olivarius explores how disease intersects with broader themes in economic and social history, and in particular how perceived immunity to these diseases was central to social and economic standing in these societies by conferring what she calls"immunocapital."

  • Katarzyna Person, Warsaw Ghetto Museum - A public historian of the Holocaust and deputy director of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, her work focuses on voices that had been silenced or seen as "unfit" for the transmission of Holocaust memory, such as women, children, those deemed "collaborators," deportees and refugees. Person also spearheaded the publication of a new 27-volume scholarly edition of the Ringelblum Archive – the underground archive collected by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, which provides rare evidence of Jewish life within the Ghetto.

  • Tripurdaman Singh, Geneva Graduate Institute - A historian of South Asia, Singh explores the nature of the region's encounter with colonialism, the process of decolonization and the birth of Indian democracy. Singh is active in public debates and scholarship in India, and his book on the Indian constitution provides important historical context into current political dynamics.

"Archaeology and history offer ways into the backstories that frame our current lives," said Professor Tim Cole, historian and Academic Advisor to the Dan David Prize. "As well as helping us understand how we have ended up where we are, deep knowledge of the past is a reminder that things don't need to stay the same - and indeed that things never stay the same. Looking to the past is also an invitation to look to different futures."

The winners were selected after nominations from colleagues, institutions and the general public were submitted in an open nomination process and were chosen by a global committee of experts that changes annually. This year's selection committee members are affiliated with leading academic institutions in Europe, North America, India and Brazil. A full list of the 2024 committee is available here. The 2024 winners received the prize at a gathering in Italy this summer.

The Dan David Prize was first established in 2001 by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan David, to reward innovative and interdisciplinary work that contributed to humanity. In 2021, the Prize was relaunched with a focus on historical research, honoring the founder's passion for history and archaeology. It now rewards early and mid career scholars to help them fulfill their potential at a time when support for the humanities is dwindling. Nominations for the 2025 Dan David Prize are now being accepted online

The late Dan David lived through persecution in Nazi-occupied and then Communist Romania, becoming an accomplished photographer and later an entrepreneur and philanthropist. David was fascinated by automatic instant photography, and he built a company that introduced countries around the globe to the automatic photo booth. Dan had a keen interest in history and archaeology, which feature in many of the projects of the Dan David Foundation. His full bio is available here.

About the Dan David Prize
The Dan David Prize, endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University, is the largest history prize in the world. Dan David, the founder of the Prize, believed that knowledge of the past enriches us and helps us grapple with the challenges of the present, and is crucial for reimagining our collective future. At a time of diminishing support for the humanities, the Prize celebrates the next generation of outstanding historians, archaeologists, curators and digital humanists. Each year, up to nine researchers are awarded $300,000 each in recognition of their achievements and to support their future endeavors.

To learn more about Dan David, the Prize and the 2024 winners, visit

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