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Public Interest Essay Competition Renamed

July 14, 2022

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review has renamed its annual essay competition to honor Prof. Dorothy E. Roberts.

The Editorial Board of Volumes 170 and 171 of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review has announced that beginning with the 2023 cycle, the annual Public Interest Essay Competition will be known as the “Dorothy E. Roberts Public Interest Essay Competition” in honor of Dorothy E. Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

“I am extremely grateful to the University of Pennsylvania Law Review editors for renaming the Public Interest Essay Competition in my honor,” said Roberts. “One of my greatest joys as a professor has been working with remarkable Penn Carey Law students who are dedicated to public interest lawyering.”

An acclaimed scholar of race, gender, and the law, Roberts joined the University of Pennsylvania as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School. She is the founding director of the Penn Program on Race, Science & Society in the Center for Africana Studies.

“This renaming stems from Professor Roberts’s immense, pervasive impact on not only the Penn Law community but communities around the country,” said Chayla Sherrod L’23, Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. “Professor Roberts takes a unique interest in advancing public interest discourse, and her willingness to mentor and advise public interest students adds unparalleled value to our community.”

Roberts is the author of several groundbreaking books, including her most recent, Torn Apart: How the Child Welfare System Destroys Black Families — And How Abolition Can Build a Safer World. Other books authored by Roberts include Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century (New Press, 2011); Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Books, 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997).

Roberts also recently penned “Race,” a chapter in The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, focusing on race as a political construct and the historical regulation of Black women’s bodies, and is the author of more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters as well as a co-editor of six books on topics such as constitutional law and women and the law.

Learn more about the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.