Derby, C. Nana, PhD
Sociology and Criminal Justice
Professor and Chair
Location: 201F Colson Hall
A professor of criminal justice and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice here at Virginia State University, C. Nana Derby is a feminist criminologist who recently stepped down as managing editor of the Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research. She has lived and conducted research in Ghana and Nigeria. Among others, her research has revolved around patriarchy, sex role and gender, and other cultural practices that have impacted the lives of women and children particularly those who have lived in underprivileged conditions of domestic servitude and contemporary slavery.
With funding from the U.S. Department of State, Derby completed an action research of child domestic servitude that removed hundreds of children from servitude, reunited them with their parents after rehabilitation, and enrolled them in schools or apprentice training in Ghana. In the 2014-2015 academic year, Prof. Derby served as a Fulbright Scholar at Covenant University, a prestigious private university in Nigeria. At Covenant, she taught and collaborated with colleagues in interdisciplinary studies on diverse areas including deviance through language, prisons, gangs, and education.
In 2014 she received the McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences (AABSS). She was also honored with the Zamora Award from the Virginia Social Science Association in 2017. Derby became VSU’s Bank of America Outstanding Faculty of the Year in 2015. She served as two-term president and two-term vice president of the VSSA, Virginia’s oldest association of academic disciplines established in 1926.
Through several pedagogical approaches, Derby creates connections between her research and teaching. She based her development of courses on child labor, human trafficking, and contemporary slavery on her studies of the subject matter. Prof. Derby holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Sociology from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and an MA and PhD in comparative sociology from Florida International University. She has written and made several presentations about contemporary slavery and some aspects of African cultures and their criminal justice systems.