Oct. 7, 2013

Race, gender scholar Crenshaw on campus Oct. 16-21

Kimberlé Crenshaw
Crenshaw

Kimberlé Crenshaw ’81, specialist in race and gender theory and a professor at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Law and Columbia Law School, will be on campus Oct. 16-21.

Crenshaw, who will stay at Becker House, will give a talk, “The Roberts Court: Civil Rights Jurisprudence,” discussing the challenge of colorblind approaches to racial equality issues, Oct. 17, at 3:30 p.m. at the Kiplinger Theatre, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts. Her talk also will be live-streamed on CornellCast.

In the last week of its 2012 term, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a series of decisions that have altered the civil rights movement, Crenshaw said. “Landmark decisions striking down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act and declining to rule on portions of the Proposition 8 case cleared the way for equal federal treatment of all married couples and marriage equality in California,” she wrote. “Despite major victories for the LGBT community, the court also sounded the death knells for the Voting Rights Act and quite possibly affirmative action as we know it.”

In her talk, Crenshaw will discuss the policy and rhetoric that shapes the Roberts Court's civil rights jurisprudence, problematize colorblind approaches to racial equity issues and reflect upon what's left after the 2012 term.

She also will speak Oct. 17 at noon at the Center for Intercultural Dialogue at 626 Thurston Ave., attend the Latino Unity Dinner Oct. 18 and speak with students at brunch Oct. 19 at Becker House, among other meetings.

Crenshaw, who has lectured nationally and internationally on race matters, was a government and Africana studies major at Cornell. She is considered a leading authority on critical race theory; civil rights, black feminist legal theory; and racism and the law.

After earning a B.A. at Cornell, she earned a J.D. at Harvard (1984) and an LL.M. at the University of Wisconsin (1985). She then clerked for Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She has been on the UCLA faculty since 1986.

Crenshaw was a founder and has been a leader in the intellectual movement called critical race theory. Her publications include “Critical Race Theory” (1995) and “Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment” (1993).

In 1996, she co-founded and is the executive director of the nonprofit think tank and information clearinghouse, The African American Policy Forum, which focuses on issues of gender and diversity. Its mission is to build bridges between scholarly research and public discourse in addressing inequality and discrimination. Crenshaw has been awarded the Fulbright Chair for Latin America in Brazil, and in 2008, she was awarded an in-residence fellowship at the Center of Advanced Behavioral Studies at Stanford.

Her visit is sponsored by 20 Cornell organizations and offices.