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 recognized 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 the award-winning Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (1997); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (2001); and Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century (2011), as well as more than 100 articles and book chapters, including “Race” in the 1619 Project. Her latest book, Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families—And How Abolition Can Build a Safer World (2022), culminates more than two decades of investigating racism in family policing and calls for a radically reimagined way to support children and their families.
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, and Stanford Center for the Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. Recent recognitions of her work include 2022 election to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences; 2022 Juvenile Law Center Leadership Prize; 2019 Honorary Doctor of Law Degree, Rutgers University-Newark; 2019 Voice of Vision Award, New Voices for Reproductive Justice; 2017 election to the National Academy of Medicine; 2016 Society of Family Planning Lifetime Achievement Award; and 2015 American Psychiatric Association Solomon Carter Fuller Award.