Sociologist Wins Prestigious Humboldt Research Award

Donald Tomaskovic-Devey
Friday, December 20, 2013

Professor Donald Tomaskovic-Devey (sociology) has been named one of eight scholars and social scientists to receive the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s 2014 Anneliese Maier Research Award. As part of the award, he will receive 250,000 EUR (approximately $342,000) designated to finance research collaboration with specialist colleagues in Germany.

Tomaskovic-Devey was among 60 nominees from 17 countries brought forward by their collaborative partners at German universities and research institutions. His nomination came from sociology faculty at Bielefeld University. Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Maier Research Award seeks to help promote the internationalization of the humanities and social sciences in Germany.

As one of the most eminent experts in workplace and labor market inequality, a field of research usually addressed by economists, Tomaskovic-Devey aims to formulate an empirically verifiable theory of social inequality focusing on important factors such as social environment, education, mobility and income, and identifying the causes and individual and social consequences of social inequality. In Bielefeld he will be involved in expanding an international research network dedicated to analyzing social inequality.

Tomaskovic-Devey joined the UMass Amherst faculty in 2005, after 17 years teaching at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. Previously, he spent one year as a visiting professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. He received his B.A. in sociology from Fordham University, and his Ph.D. in sociology from Boston University.

The Anneliese Maier Research Award is presented to world-class researchers from abroad from the fields of the humanities and social sciences whose academic achievements have been internationally recognized in their research area. The award winners independently choose the people with whom they would like to collaborate in Germany, and the collaborative research projects last for up to five years. Named after the German philosopher and science historian Anneliese Maier (1905-1971), the inaugural Anneliese Maier Research Award was presented in 2011.

Maier, who studied philosophy, physics and mathematics in Berlin, Zurich and Paris and received her Ph.D. in 1929 on completing her dissertation on Kant’s categories of quality, was unable to complete her habilitation for political reasons during the Nazi era. She conducted research on the emergence of modern scientific thought from the 14th to 18th centuries, particularly in the natural sciences. Awarded the title of professor by the minister of education and the arts of North-Rhine Westphalia in 1951, she was appointed as a scientific member of the Max Planck Society in 1954. She was also a corresponding member of the Academies of Science in Mainz, Göttingen and Munich.

Each year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The foundation maintains a network of well over 26,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 130 countries worldwide, including 50 Nobel laureates.