David Kertzer

Pulitzer-Prize-winning author David Kertzer is the Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University. His most recent book, The Pope Who Would be King (Random House, 2018), termed “richly rewarding” by the Christian Science Monitor and “a rock-solid history, with enough intrigue and double-dealing to compete with any Robert Harris thriller” by the Seattle Times, tells the dramatic story of the Roman revolution of 1848, when the pope was driven into exile and the end of the papal theocracy was proclaimed.  Kertzer’s previous book, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe, (Random House, 2014), won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2015. It also won the American Historical Association prize for best book in Italian history.  Eleven foreign editions are either already published or in press. Kertzer's book Amalia's Tale, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2008, recounts the story of an illiterate Italian woman of the nineteenth century who contracted syphilis from a baby given her to nurse by the local foundling home. Amazingly, her ten-year battle against the medical establishment and aristocracy led to a historic victory. A very different battle was at the heart of Kertzer’s 2004 book, Prisoner of the Vatican–the tale of two popes' efforts to retake Rome from the new Italian state in the late nineteenth century–published by Houghton Mifflin. His 2001 book, The Popes against the Jews (Knopf/Vintage), a look at the Vatican's role in the rise of modern anti-Semitism, has been published in Italian, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Brazilian, Polish, Hungarian, and British editions.

Kertzer’s The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (Knopf/Vintage) was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997, and has been published in eighteen foreign editions.  Among his earler books, two received the Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian Historical Studies for the best book of the year  on Italian history (1985, 1990).

Kertzer is an authority on Italian politics, society, and history; political symbolism; and anthropological demography. He is co-founder and served for many years as co-editor of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. A play based on The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, by playwright Alfred Uhry, was performed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis in 2006. In April 2016, Steven Spielberg announced that he would be making a film based on Kertzer’s book, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner. In 2005 Kertzer was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2006 to 2011, he was the Provost of Brown University.

Princeton University Press, Cambridge University Press, Columbia University Press, University of California Press, University of Chicago Press, Oxford University Press, Cornell University Press, Berg Publishers, University of Arizona Press, Penn State Press, Routledge Press, Central European University Press, American Ethnologist, Anthropological Quarterly, Current Anthropology, Urban Anthropology, Anthropology, Comparative Urban Research, Journal of Family History, Human Organization, Medical Anthropology, Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, Anthropology, Signs, American Anthropologist, International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Demography, Ethnohistory, Journal of Gerontology, International Review of Social History, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, The Gerontologist, Sex Roles, Journal of Ritual Studies, Man, Social Science and Medicine, Social History of Medicine, American Journal of Sociology; Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics; Polis, Catholic University Press, University of Toronto Press, East European Politics, Demography, Modern Italy, American Anthropologist.

Columbia, SUNY Binghampton, University of Bologna, Brown, Princeton, University of Palermo, Stanford, Nevada--Reno, Rochester, Wisconsin--Madison, European University (Florence), Harvard, Michigan--Ann Arbor, Cornell, Wesleyan, Ecole Française de Rome, University of Bari, Dickinson College (Bologna), Brandeis, Cambridge, Washington University, NYU, Sorbonne, University of Amsterdam, University of Nijmegen, Trinity College, Johns Hopkins (Bologna SAIS, and Baltimore), University of Stockholm, University of Linkoping, Indiana University, Boston University, University of Maine, University of Massachusetts, Rhode Island School of Design; University of Rome-Sapienza, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Paris), University of Venice; University of California, Berkeley; University of Detroit; Dartmouth; Arizona State; Stonehill College; Northwestern; Central Florida; University of Washington, Civitella Raineri study center, Umbria; Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris; General Theological Seminary, New York.

  • Social Sciences and Population Study Section (SSP), June 1979, and February, 1981.
  • Special study section, NIA, May, 1981, & February 1982, NICHD, May 1984.
  • Member, SSP study section (1984-1988). 
  • Chair, SSP Study Section meeting on Academic Research Enhancement Awards, Bethesda, 1985.
  • Member, NICHD site review team, UC-Berkeley, January, 1990.
  • Member, special study section, April 1991.
  • Chair, Behavioral Medicine special Study Section, July, 1988.
  • Member, special study section on intergenerational relations, January, 1989.
  • Member, review committee of the five-year plan of NICHD Demographic and Behavioral Sciences branch, December 1993.
  • Member, special study section on Hispanic child health, NICHD, April, 1994.
  • Special member, SSP study section, NIH, June, 1995.
  • Special study section, NICHD, March, 2006.
  • Consultant, United Nations University (Tokyo), 1983-1988.
  • Grant reviewer for NSF, NEH, the Canadian Social Science and Humanities Research Council, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
  • Chairman of symposia/sessions: Population and Migration (American Anthropological Association annual meeting 1976); Anthropological Perspectives on Italian Society (Northeastern Anthropological Association ? annual meeting 1977); Urban Life in Mediterranean Europe (American Anthropological Association annual meeting 1977).
  • Organizer (with Jennie Keith) of workshop on Age and Anthropological Theory, sponsored by National Institute on Aging, March 26-27, 1981. Bethesda, MD.
  • Nominating Committee, Conference Group on Italian Politics, 1981.
  • Nominating Committee, Social Science History Association, 1982-83.
  • Organizer, Chairman and discussant, symposium on New Perspectives in Demographic Anthropology, International
  • Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Science, Vancouver, 1983.
  • Consultant, workshop on life-course methods for household and gender research, United Nations University, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 10-17, 1983.
  • Consultant, U.N. University, Rio de Janeiro and Bogota, December, 1983; Colombo, May, 1984, Rio de Janeiro, December 1984; Santo Domingo, February 1985; Nairobi, January 1986; China, June-July 1986; Ivory Coast, January 1987.
  • Discussant, "Recent research in Iberian family history and historical demography," annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Washington, D.C., October, 1983.
  • Discussant, "New Directions for Anthropological Research in Italy," annual meeting of the AAA, Denver, 1984.
  • Nominations committee (1984-85) and Predoctoral Fellowship committee (1988), Council for European Studies, 1984 85.
  • Co-chair of program committee, Social Science History Association (for 1985 annual meeting, Chicago).
  • Chair, panel on "Anthropology and History," annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago, 1985.
  • Organizer and chair, presidential thematic session, "The Development of the 'Modern Family': Toward a Convergence of Sociological, Anthropological and Historical Perspectives, annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York, September, 1986. 
  • Series of five lectures on "I riti politici e la lotta per il potere," Facoltà di Magistero, University of Bologna, May, 1987.
  • Consultant to Portuguese family study group, sponsored by SSRC, Chicago, September, 1987.
  • Organizer (with John Meyer and K. Warner Schaie), conference on "Comparative Perspectives on Age Structuring in Human Societies," Pennsylvania State University, October, 1987.
  • Chair, Behavioral Medicine special Study Section, NIH, April, 1988.
  • Member, Steering Committee, Council for European Studies, 1984-88.
  • Executive Committee, Social Science History Association, 1987-89.
  • Organizer and Discussant, session on "Politics and Ritual, Anthropology and History," annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago, November, 1988.
  • Discussant, session on "Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Household and Family in Southern Europe," American Anthropological Association, Phoenix, November, 1988.
  • Member, Nominating Committee, Society for the Anthropololgy of Europe, 1989.
  • Member, program committee, Council for European Studies, 1989-90.
  • Organizer (with Richard Saller), Conference on the Historical Roots of the Western Family, Bellagio Conference and Study Center, Italy, June, 1989.
  • Discussant, session on "Pilgrimage in the European tradition," American Anthropological Association, Washington, D.C., 1989.
  • Discussant, session on "Anthropological Perspectives on European Politics," American Anthropological Association, Washington, D.C., 1989. 
  • Organizer (with Dennis Hogan) of session on "Intergenerational relations," at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, New Orleans, February, 1990. 
  • Discussant, session on "Arenas of Struggle: Workplace, Community, Family," Conference of Europeanists, Washington, D.C., 1990.
  • Chair, special study section of the Social Sciences and Population study section, NIH, April 1990. Organizer,
  • Conference on the Historical Demography of Aging, Maine, 1990.
  • Chair and discussant, session on "Household and Family in Old Age," Social Science History Association, New Orleans, October, 1991.
  • Discussant, session on "Remembrance and Reconstruction of the European Left," AAA, Chicago, November 1991. 
  • Organizer and chair, plenary session of 1991 meeting of the American Anthropological Association: "The Impact of Nationalism and Ethnicity on Europe's Emerging Order."
  • Chair and discussant, session on "Conceptualizing National Entities," Conference of Europeanists, Chicago, March, 1992.
  • Editorial board, Historical Methods (1989-1992).
  • Organizer, session on "The social and economic consequences of household structure," XXII General Conference of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, Montreal, August, 1993.
  • Nominating Committee, Social Science History Assoc., 1991-92, 1993-94. 
  • Chair and discussant, "Comparative urban class formation," Social Science History Association, Baltimore, Nov. 1993.
  • Advisory Committee for Italian Studies, Fondazione Agnelli 1989-92.
  • Organizer and co-chair, "What should anthropologists do about the crisis in the former Yugoslavia," annual meetings of the AAA, 1993.
  • Chair, Society for the Anthropology of Europe, Committee on the Crisis in the Former Yugoslavia.
  • Discussant, two sessions at the Conference of Europeanists, Chicago, April, 1994: "Family Policy and Working Mothers," and "Redefining Membership in the Collectivity."
  • Discussant, session on Demographic Determinants of Household Structure, Population Association of America, San Francisco, April, 1995.
  • Discussant, SSRC conference on Democracy and Cultural Change in the New Southern Europe, Crete, July, 1995.
  • Executive Committee, Conference Group Italian Politics & Society 1989-95.
  • Anthropology Advisory Committee, Fulbright Scholar awards, 1993-95.
  • Deputy Editor, Demography (1993-5).
  • Discussant, “Ritual and Politics in the Renaissance,” annual meeting of the American Historical Association, New York, January, 1997.
  • Discussant, “Combining qualitative and quantitative data in demographic studies,” annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Washington, D.C., March, 1997.
  • Discussant, "Conceptualizing Europe in the 21st Century," annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, D.C., November, 1997.
  • Discussant, Session “Catholicism in postwar Europe,” annual meetings of the American Historical Association, January 1998.
  • Chair, Session on Ethnographic and Qualitative Methods in Demographic Research,” annual meetings of the Population Association of America, Chicago, April 1998.
  • Discussant, Roundtable on Fate and Fortune in Rural China, annual meetings of the Population Association of America, Chicago, April 1998.
  • Member, external review committee, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Discussant, Session on Historical Demography, annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago, November 1998.
  • Discussant, Session on the History of Italian Sharecropping, annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Chicago, November 1998.
  • Chair, Session “Toward a Critical Anthropology of Population,” annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, December, 1998.
  • Discussant, Session “Family Systems and Reproductive Strategizing,” annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, December, 1998.
  • Chair, session “Family systems and reproduction in historical and anthropological perspective,” annual meetings of the PAA, New York City, March 1999.
  • Discussant, session “Religion, ideology, and methods of fertility control,” annual meetings of the Population Association of America, New York City, March 1999.
  • Panelist, roundtable on “The Past and Future of Family History and Historical Demography,” annual meetings of the Social Science History Association, Pittsburgh, October 2000.
  • Organizer and Chair, Session “Anthropological Demography,” annual meetings of the Population Association of America, Washington, D.C., March 2001.
  • Discussant, “The Russian Census of 2002,” Association for the Study of Nationalities, New York, April 2004.
  • Discussant, session “Immigrants and the practice of ‘citizenship’,” American Anthropological Association, Washington, D.C., December 2005.
  • Member, Scientific Committee, Genus (2008- ).
  • Discussant, workshop on new research on Pius XI, Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose, Bologna, March 2012.
  • Roundtable on the current state of Italy and its future, American Academy in Rome, April 2012. Discussant, “American journalists in Fascist Italy,” Primo Levi Center, New York City, October 2012.