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Dan David Prize names 9 historians as winners of prestigious award

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The Dan David Prize on Tuesday named nine historians as the 2024 winners of the prestigious award, with each of them receiving $300,000 to advance their research.

The winners’ areas of study are vast, from the birth of democracy in India, to the underground archive that Jews kept in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II and the bones of Vikings found in Britain.

The Dan David Prize board said it recognized work that “illuminates the past in bold and creative ways.” An awards ceremony already took place in Italy.

“To decode the complexities of the present and face future challenges, we need to first of all better understand our past,” said Ariel David, a board member of the prize and the son of its founder, Romanian businessman Dan David. “By using innovative methods and source materials, our winners have offered us precious new historical insight.”

This year’s names include Keisha Blain from Brown University, a historian of the 20th century United States and a columnist with MSNBC, and Cat Jarman, an archaeologist and historian.

Blain’s research focuses on the roles working-class Black women played in the U.S. civil rights movement. Jarman uses scientific techniques such as carbon dating and DNA analysis to tell stories about groups like the Viking armies and English kings.

Past winners of the prize, which David set up in 2001 and is headquartered at Tel Aviv University, have included Canadian author Margaret Atwood, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert.

The award has since shifted to focus on historians in the early and middle stages of their career with the idea that the prize will greatly enhance their research abilities.

The prize was also awarded this year to Benjamin Brose from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Cécile Fromont from Harvard University and Daniel Jütte from New York University, as well as Stuart McManus from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The remaining recipients are Kathryn Olivarius from Stanford University, Katarzyna Person from the Warsaw Ghetto Museum and Tripurdaman Singh from the Geneva Graduate Institute.