Dorothy Roberts, J.D.

George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania

Dorothy Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology at 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. An internationally acclaimed scholar, public intellectual, and social justice activist, Roberts has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of race, gender, and class inequities in U.S. institutions and has been a leader in transforming thinking on reproductive justice, child welfare, and bioethics. She is author of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (1997); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (2001); Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century (2011); and Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—And How Abolition Can Build a Safer World (2022), as well as more than 100 articles and book chapters, including “Race” in the 1619 Project.

Roberts has served on the boards of directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Black Women’s Health Imperative, and National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, and her work has been supported by the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Fulbright Program, Harvard Program on Ethics & the Professions, Stanford Center for the Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity, and Northwestern Institute for Policy Research. Recognitions of her work include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to the American Philosophical Society, to the National Academy of Medicine, and as a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and the Hastings Center; Honorary Doctor of Law Degree, Rutgers University-Newark; Society of Family Planning Lifetime Achievement Award; and American Psychiatric Association Solomon Carter Fuller Award. She served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry as Population Descriptors in Genomics Research. Her TED Talk, “The Problem with Race-based Medicine,” has been viewed 1.5 million times.