On September 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM at the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom in Anheuser-Busch Hall, Patricia Williams gave a talk on “Love in the Time of Identity Wars: Anatomy of Short Lives.”
The great granddaughter of a slave and a white southern lawyer, scholar and author Patricia Williams has dedicated her career to applying literary and critical legal theory to matters of race and social justice. Her column in The Nation, “Diary of a Mad Law Professor,” features such topics as affirmative action, gender and professionalism, and the forensic uses of DNA. In her autobiographical essay, “The Alchemy of Race and Rights,” the Columbia University law professor uses the metaphor of alchemical transformation to indicate how we might find ourselves as communal agents of racial justice. This presentation was the first of three Williams delivered as the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities Lecture Series speaker, and was part of the Law School’s Public Interest Law & Policy Speaker Series.
Williams received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College in 1972, and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1975. At Harvard, she was one of ten black women in her graduating class of 536. She worked as a consumer advocate in the office of the City Attorney in Los Angeles, was a fellow in the School of Criticism and Theory at Dartmouth College and served as associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and its department of women’s studies. She is currently the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University where she has taught since 1991.
Williams is a member of the State Bar of California and the Bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Williams has served on the advisory council for the Medgar Evers College for Law and Social Justice of the City University of New York, the board of trustees of Wellesley College, and on the board of governors for the Society of American Law Teachers, among others.