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WVU launching center to research violence

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West Virginia University's Department of Sociology and Anthropology this fall will begin researching violence, a serious public health problem that each year claims thousands of lives nationwide.

Beginning this fall, researchers with WVU's new Center on Research and Violence will try to learn more about violence and limit its effects by earning grants to work on government and nonprofit projects, hosting conferences with leading speakers on violence and interacting with communities across West Virginia and the nation as well as attracting Ph.D. students to the University.

Six of the university's sociology and anthropology staff members are currently involved in the project, which will examine violence broadly defined, from interpersonal violence – such as robbery or rape – to crimes against the environment.

Walter DeKeserdy will be director of the center. Well-established in his field, he has published 19 books and more than 140 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and received federal grants from both the U.S. and Canada. DeKeserdy also has served with the LaMarsh Research Center on Violence and Conflict Resolution at York University in Toronto, and is routinely asked to consult with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This will be an excellent resource for people interested in violence research. We have 27 research associates who are leading experts from around the world,” DeKeseredy said. “These assistants are not paid WVU faculty members, but want to belong to the center to do collaborative work. The fact that we have people who want their name associated with us means we are already on our way to making a global impact.”

The center hopes to soon expand to integrate members from various disciplines, including public health, medicine and psychology.

“Our plan is to grow in size and create a much larger center, making the center one of, not just West Virginia’s, but the world’s leading centers on violence,” Dekeseredy said.