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BUILD23 Virtual Plenary: Professor Dorothy Roberts

Dorothy Roberts is the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor and 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 the founding director of the Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, she has written and lectured extensively on race, gender, and class inequities in U.S. institutions and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive freedom, child welfare, and bioethics.

She is the author of “Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty” (Pantheon, 1997/Vintage, 2017), “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 book chapters, including “Race” in the 1619 Project book.

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 fellowships from American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Fulbright Program, Harvard Program in Ethics and the Professions, Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Northwestern Institute for Policy Research.

Recent recognitions of her work include 2022 election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; 2022 Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize; 2019 Honorary Doctor of Law Degree, Rutgers University-Newark; 2019 New Voices for Reproductive Justice Voice of Vision Award; 2017 election to the National Academy of Medicine; 2016 Society of Family Planning Lifetime Achievement Award; 2015 American Psychiatric Association Solomon Carter Fuller Award. Her TEDTalk, “The Problem with Race-Based Medicine,” has 1.5 million views.