Print This Issue

Dorothy Roberts: Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor

April 17, 2012, Volume 58, No. 30

RobertsPresident Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price are pleased to announce the appointment of Dorothy Roberts as the University of Pennsylvania’s fourteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, effective July 1, 2012.  

Professor Roberts, an acclaimed scholar of race, gender, and the law, will be the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology. Her appointment will be shared between the Penn Law School, where she will also be the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander ED’18, GR’21, L’27 Professor of Civil Rights, and the department of sociology in the School of Arts & Sciences. 

“Dorothy Roberts is an award-winning teacher and scholar who writes and speaks about some of the most important and challenging issues facing our society, including civil rights, reproductive rights, poverty, child welfare and family law,” said President Gutmann.  “Her work elegantly blends perspectives from law, sociology, ethics, race and gender studies, and beyond. She exemplifies Penn’s commitment to linking the liberal arts and the professions and to making a positive impact on communities in Philadelphia and around the world.”

Professor Roberts’ pathbreaking work in law and public policy focuses on urgent contemporary issues in health and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans. Her major books include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011), Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997). She is the author of more than 75 scholarly articles and book chapters, as well as a co-editor of six books on such topics as constitutional law, First Amendment law and women and the law. 

“Dorothy Roberts’ highly engaged scholarship exemplifies the power of integrating knowledge,” said Provost Price. “She brings together a wide range of disciplines to illuminate some of the most fundamental challenges of our time. Her work has made a tangible difference in improving the lives of those who are disadvantaged and underrepresented.” 

The Penn Integrates Knowledge program was launched by President Gutmann in 2005 as a University-wide initiative to recruit exceptional faculty members whose research and teaching exemplify the integration of knowledge across disciplines and who are jointly appointed between two schools at Penn.

Professor Roberts has taught since 1998 at Northwestern University, where she is currently Kirkland & Ellis Professor at the School of Law and professor of African-American studies and sociology. She earned a JD (1980) from Harvard Law School and a BA (1977) magna cum laude from Yale University. 

The George A. Weiss University Professorship is a gift of George A. Weiss, a 1965 graduate of the University. Mr. Weiss is vice chair of the Board of Trustees, chair of Making History: The Campaign for Penn, and serves on the Athletics Board of Overseers. He is president of George Weiss Associates, Inc., a New York-based money management firm. 

The Alexander Chair, established by the Alexander family, honors Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, the first African-American woman to graduate from Penn Law. It is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education and by gifts from the Black Law Students Association, Duane Morris LLP, and many alumni, students, faculty and friends of Penn Law. 

Almanac - April 17, 2012, Volume 58, No. 30