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Natalie Zemon Davis From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Natalie Zemon Davis (born November 8, 1928) is a Canadian and American historian of early modern period. She is currently a professor of history at the University of Toronto in Canada. Her work originally focused on France, but has since broadened to include other parts of Europe, North America, and the Caribbean. For example, Trickster Travels (2006) views Italy, Spain, Morocco and other parts of North Africa and West Africa through the lens of Leo Africanus's pioneering geography. It has appeared in four translations, with three more on the way. Davis' books have all been translated into other languages: twenty-two for The Return of Martin Guerre. She is a hero to many historians and academics, as "one of the greatest living historians", constantly asking new questions and taking on new challenges, the second woman president of the American Historical Association (the first was in 1944) and someone who "has not lost the integrity and commitment to radical thought which marked her early career".[1]

In 2010, Davis was awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize, worth 4.5 million Norwegian kroner (~$700,000 US), for her narrative approach to the field of history. The awards citation described her as "one of the most creative historians writing today" who inspired younger generations of historians and promoted "cross-fertilization between disciplines". The citation said her compelling narrative "shows how particular events can be narrated and analyzed so as to reveal deeper historical tendencies and underlying patterns of thought and action".[2]


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