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Ohio State environmental historian named 2022 Dan David Prize Winner

Bart Elmore studies multinational firms’ impacts on global ecosystems

Bart Elmore

Bart Elmore, an associate professor in The Ohio State University Department of History, was one of nine early- to mid-career scholars of history to receive the 2022 Dan David Prize.

A selection committee of eminent scholars in the historical fields assessed hundreds of nominations from around the world as part of a rigorous process to select the winners, who will each receive $300,000 that recognizes their achievements to date and will support their future work.

Elmore is an environmental historian who uses everyday products — from sodas to seeds — to demonstrate how large multinational firms have reshaped global ecosystems. In addition to uncovering the environmental impacts of capitalism, he invites us to draw on the past to find strategies for developing an ecologically healthier economy for the future.

He is the author of the books Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism and Seed Money: Monsanto’s Past and Our Food Future.   

“Every day I come into the office and think about how the history of multinational firms I study — firms like Coca-Cola and Monstanto — can be a lens on the larger economy,” Elmore said. “And using that lens, I’m looking for patterns. I’m looking for lessons learned in the past that we can apply to the future. My goal is to think about how history can help us create a more sustainable economy in the years ahead, and to me there’s no better work than that.”

Elmore is part of the inaugural cohort of winners under the newly redesigned Dan David Prize. The winners’ specialties cut across a wide array of historical disciplines — from prehistorical bioarchaeology to medieval studies to modern U.S. history — and their projects explore uncharted territory in history.

“We live in a world in which the humanities, and particularly history, are devalued and attract less investment, even as it remains clear that only by deepening our knowledge of the past we can gain a better understanding of the present,” said Ariel David, board member of prize and son of the founder. “For this reason we have chosen to focus exclusively on the historical disciplines and support emerging scholars and practitioners, within and beyond the academy, at a stage in their career when the prize can make a bigger impact.”

Elmore joins eight other renowned history scholars:

  • Mirjam Brusius, a cultural historian at the German Historical Institute.
  • Indiana University associate professor Tyrone McKinley Freeman, a historian of philanthropy.
  • Verena Krebs, a historian of medieval Ethiopia at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.
  • Efthymia Nikita, a bioarcheologist at the Cyprus Institute.
  • Nana Oforiatta Ayim, a curator and art historian.
  • Queens College associate professor Kristina Richardson, a historian of the medieval Islamic world.
  • Natalia Romik, a public historian and architect at University College, London.
  • Kimberly Welch, a legal historian at Vanderbilt University. 

Established in 2001 by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Dan David, the prize is endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University. The nine winners will be honored at the 2022 Dan David Prize Award Ceremony held in May.


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