Dorothy E. Roberts

 dorothy roberts

George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights

Professor of Africana Studies
Director, Program on Race, Science, and Society


Dorothy Roberts is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School, where she is the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights. She is also founding director of the Penn Program on Race, Science & Society.

Her path breaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent social justice issues in reproductive justice, policing, family regulation, science, medicine, and bioethics. Her major books include Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2001); Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century (The New Press, 2011); and Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—and How Abolition Can Build a Safer World (Basic Books, 2022), as well as more than 100 articles and essays in books and journals, including “Race” in the 1619 Project book.

Her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Harvard Program in Ethics & the Professions, Stanford Center for the Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity, and the Fulbright Program. Recent recognitions of her work include elections to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Philosophical Society, and National Academy of Medicine; Rutgers University Honorary Doctor of Laws degree; Society of Family Planning Lifetime Achievement Award; and American Psychiatric Association Solomon Carter Fuller Award.

Research Interests
  • Race and Gender
  • Family
  • Criminal Justice
  • Bioethics
  • Sociology of Science
  • Critical Race Theory
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