Cheryl I. Harris is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law where she teaches Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination, Critical Race Theory and Race Conscious Remedies.
A graduate of Wellesley College and Northwestern School of Law, Professor Harris began her teaching career in 1990 after a decade in practice that included criminal appellate and trial work and municipal government representation. Her expertise in issues pertaining to civil rights is an outgrowth of her work as an advocate as well as her deep engagement with international human rights through collaborations with U.S. legal scholars and South African lawyers during the development of South Africa’s constitution.
Professor Harris is the author of groundbreaking scholarship in the field of Critical Race Theory, including the seminal, “Whiteness as Property” (Harvard Law Review). She has lectured at leading institutions and fora both in the US and in Europe, South Africa and Australia. Most recently her research has focused on re-examinations of signature cases implicating race, including Plessy v. Ferguson, Dred Scott and Somerset’s Case as part of a reevaluation of the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. Additionally, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, she convened a major conference on race and reconstruction in the Gulf Coast, and has published work in both the academic and popular press relating to how racial frames shaped understandings of this significant event. She has been active in leadership in numerous organizations including the American Studies Association and the ACLU and has served as a consultant to the MacArthur Foundation. She was the recipient in 2002 of a Mellon Fellowship to coordinate an interdisciplinary workshop on redress with the University of California Humanities Research Institute. In 2005 she received the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Professor of the Year for Civil Rights Education. For the past two years she was the Faculty Director of the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA School of Law.