Penn State Harrisburg

Penn State Harrisburg faculty member earns national accolade

Shaun Gabbidon

Shaun Gabbidon

Penn State Harrisburg faculty member Shaun Gabbidon’s pioneering research and scholarship in the field of criminal justice has earned him another national accolade.

For his "outstanding work in the field of racial and ethnic issues in criminology," the Professor of Criminal Justice has been named the winner of the W.E.B. Du Bois Award presented annually by the Western Society of Criminology.

The society is a regional professional society devoted to the scientific study of crime. It attracts scholars, students, government officials, and public and private practitioners from around the world. Dr. Gabbidon will be formally presented the award Feb. 5 in San Diego, Calif.

"The award is particularly satisfying since I am not a member of the society or located on the West Coast, yet they still found my work worthy," he said upon learning of his selection. In reality, Dr. Gabbidon played a key role in the creation of the Du Bois Award by the society in 1999.

Du Bois (1868-1963), recognized widely as a pioneering activist, sociologist, and philosopher, was one of the first African America scholars to write on crime and justice. Yet his scholarship rarely found its way into the criminal justice field prior to research by Dr. Gabbidon.

Nearly a decade ago, an article written by Dr. Gabbidon encouraging the inclusion of Du Bois into criminal justice and criminology literature and research caught the attention of a faculty member at Southern Oregon University, who incorporated it into her Introduction to Criminology course.

Dr. Martha-Elin Blomquist wrote that the article "makes such an important argument that I used it to support a proposal I made to the Western Society of Criminology to create an award in Du Bois’ name to honor scholars and activities contributing to the understanding and study of crime and race/ethnicity."

A prolific author and researcher, Dr. Gabbidon continued his investigation of Du Bois with a 2007 book, W.E.B. Du Bois on Crime and Justice, heralded as the first volume to discern the contribution of the scholar’s work to the field. A recent review of the work by noted sociologist Dr. Joe R. Feagin, the Ella McFadden Professor of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, stated that "Shaun Gabbidon’s book on W.E.B. Du Bois on crime provides an original and innovative window into this little known area of Du Bois’ research and thought."

"I’ve been working recently to incorporate Du Bois’ work into my mainstream, contemporary research," Dr. Gabbidon explains. "With the article and the book, I directly investigated and interpreted his work. Now, I am using his work as a starting point, applying it to current criminal justice research."

He continues, "Most recently, I have been working on citizen attitudes toward the criminal justice system. Du Bois did that a long time ago in Georgia (1904), and I’m comparing his work to what we’re doing today. He was asking many of the same questions."

Dr. Gabbidon’s acclaimed criminal justice scholarship has also earned the Coramae R. Mann Award presented by the Division on People of Color and Crime of the American Society of Criminology and last spring he was named distinguished scholar alumni by Indiana University of Pennsylvania in celebration of the 20th anniversary of its Ph.D. program in Criminology.

A member of the Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs faculty since 1999, Dr. Gabbidon is the author or co-author of eight books and more than 30 peer-reviewed journal articles.