David Kertzer joined Brown in 1992 as Paul Dupee, Jr., University Professor of Social Science. A Professor of Anthropology and Italian Studies, he was appointed Provost in 2006, serving in that role until 2011. Kertzer founded and directed the Anthropological Demography program. He was also founding director of the Politics, Culture, and Identity research program of the Watson Institute for International Studies.
A Brown alumnus (A.B., 1969), 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. Kertzer twice won the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best book in Italian history. Kertzer co-founded and for a decade co-edited the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. He served as president of the Social Science History Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, and co-edited 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. In 2005 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His book, The Pope and Mussolini, based on recently opened Vatican archives, tells the story of the Holy See's relations with Italy's Fascist dictatorship. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2015.