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Distributed May 8, 2006
Contact Molly de Ramel

David I. Kertzer Named Provost of Brown University

David I. Kertzer, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Brown University, has been named the University’s 10th provost. Kertzer succeeds Robert J. Zimmer, who will leave the University July 1 to become president of the University of Chicago. Brown President Ruth J. Simmons informed the campus community of Kertzer’s appointment by e-mail.

Kertzer PROVIDENCE, R.I. — David I. Kertzer, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Brown University, has been named the University’s 10th provost. Kertzer will assume his new duties July 1, 2006. He succeeds Robert J. Zimmer, who has been named president of the University of Chicago.

“As a Brown alumnus, Brown parent and long-serving and highly respected member of the faculty, David brings exceptional depth and breadth of knowledge and skill to the position of provost, which will serve us well at this juncture in our history,” said Simmons, who chaired the search committee. “The committee enthusiastically supported his candidacy; we feel that he will be an excellent provost.”

The provost is the University’s chief academic officer, second in rank to the president, and serves as deputy to the president in a range of University matters. When the president is away from campus, the provost is the officer in charge.

David Kertzer

Kertzer joined the Brown faculty in 1992 as the Paul Dupee Jr. University Professor of Social Science. He is professor of anthropology and Italian studies and currently serves as chair of the Department of Anthropology. He developed and now directs the Anthropological Demography program and was founding director of the Politics, Culture, and Identity research program of the Watson Institute for International Studies. Kertzer recently chaired the search for a new director of the Watson Institute.

A Brown alumnus (A.B., 1969) and a Brown parent, Kertzer received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Brandeis University in 1974. He was William R. Kenan Jr. Professor at Bowdoin College from 1989 to 1992. He twice won the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best book in Italian history, and co-founded and co-edits the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. Kertzer is currently vice president and president-elect of the Social Science History Association and co-edits the book series New Perspectives on Anthropological and Social Demography for Cambridge University Press. His book The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. His 2001 book, The Popes Against the Jews, has been published in nine languages.

Kertzer’s many honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, two Fulbright fellowships, various National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health research awards, a fellowship year at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavior Sciences, Stanford, and a residency at the American Academy of Rome. In 2005 he was elected to be a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Committee

In addition to Simmons, the provost selection committee included:

  • Ann Dill, associate professor of sociology and vice-chair of the Faculty Executive Committee;
  • Richard Fishman, professor of visual arts;
  • Lina M. Fruzzetti, professor of anthropology;
  • Susan Ashbrook Harvey, professor of religious studies;
  • James F. Padbury M.D., professor of pediatrics and past chair of the Medical Faculty Executive Committee;
  • David M. Rand, professor of biology;
  • Ralph E. Rodriguez, associate professor of American civilization;
  • Osvaldo Sala, professor of biology and director of the Environmental Change Initiative and the Center for Environmental Studies;
  • Warren Simmons, executive director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform;
  • Richard Mark Stratt, professor of chemistry; Nelson H. Vieira, professor of Portuguese and Brazilian studies; and
  • Jingming Xu, professor of engineering.

Marisa Quinn, assistant to the president, was staff for the committee.


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