Sociologist Bersani Awarded Prestigious W.E.B Du Bois Fellowship
September 01, 2011
Research and Graduate Studies
In announcing the 10 recipients of its annual three fellowship programs in 2011, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) recognized some of the nation’s most talented researchers in the early phase of their career–and UMass Boston’s Bianca Bersani, assistant professor of sociology, has joined their ranks as the recipient of a 2011 W.E.B. Du Bois Fellowship Award.
Bersani and her corecipient, Stephanie DiPietro, PhD, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri St. Louis, will spend their fellowship conducting “An Examination of the ‘Marriage Effect’ on Desistance from Crime among U.S. Immigrants.”
“We’re very honored and pleased the review committee found our proposed work worthy of funding,” says Bersani. “I’m especially pleased that UMass Boston’s reputation continues to grow as a university with a deep commitment to identifying, understanding, and providing solutions to the many complex challenges facing us, our neighbors, and other
The NIJ sponsors fellowship programs to strengthen and broaden the pool of researchers looking at the issues of crime and justice. The W.E.B. Du Bois Fellowship Program places particular emphasis on crime, violence, and the administration of justice in diverse cultural contexts within the United States. Talented researchers are provided with an opportunity early in their career to elevate independently generated research and ideas to the level of national discussion. Although the specific areas of focus vary each year, any research funded by this program is deemed to have direct implications for criminal justice policy and practice in the United States.
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) was an early leader in the struggle for racial equality in the United States. As a social scientist, Du Bois used objective methods to challenge discriminatory ideologies and institutions to advocate for social change. His classic study Th e Philadelphia Negro, published in 1899, was a groundbreaking sociological study of the city’s black community, and one of the first research projects to combine urban ethnography, social history, and descriptive statistics.
Bersani’s current research projects include an examination of longitudinal patterns of off ending among contemporary and early 20th century immigrants, tests of the “marriage effect” on off ending trajectories, and the investigation of the relationship between language diversity and crime.