American historian receives Norway's Holberg Prize
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OSLO, Norway (AP) -- American historian Natalie Zemon Davis accepted Norway's 4.5 million kroner ($680,000) Holberg Prize Wednesday for her narrative approach to history.
The awards committee said the 81-year-old Detroit native, who received the award in a ceremony in Bergen, won for her work showing "how particular events can be narrated and analyzed so as to reveal deeper historical tendencies and underlying patterns of thought and action."
The Holberg Prize was created in 2003 by the Norwegian government to honor work in the humanities, social sciences, law and theology. It was named in memory of Norwegian playwright and author Ludvig Holberg, who lived from 1684 to 1754.
The Holberg Prize citation praised Davis as "one of the most creative historians writing today" whose work has inspired a generation of younger historians and promoted "cross-fertilization between disciplines."
In her acceptance speech, Davis said narrative history has allowed contemporary historians to abandon old dogmatic views of history and "work frankly toward forms of common knowledge."
Davis, who is a leading scholar of early modern European history, is a professor at the University of Toronto and professor emerita at Princeton University, where she taught for many years.
In comments published on the Holberg Prize website, she described her work as "decentered" and "pluralistic" history, "where what happens in a woman's workshop or a villager's hut or at a printer's press can count as much as decisions at a king's council or a meeting of a Faculty of Theology."
Last year's prize went to Canadian philosopher Ian Hacking.