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Dorothy Roberts’s book “Fatal Invention” tops New York Times “Antiracist Reading List”

May 30, 2019

Penn Law professor Dorothy Roberts’s 2011 book Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century (New Press), tops a new “Antiracist Reading List” published by the New York Times. The reading list, compiled by Ibram X. Kendi, American University Professor and Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, is comprised of books that combat “the racist notion that white people have more because they are more; that people of color have less because they are less” and challenge readers to confront the beliefs that underpin the legacy of racism in the United States.

Fatal Invention explores the resurgence of race as a biological category in science, medicine, and biotechnology, and the implications for health inequities and social policy. In the book, Roberts critiques “the biopolitics of race” and “shows unequivocally that all people are indeed created equal, despite political and economic special interests that keep trying to persuade us otherwise,” writes Kendi.

Roberts is the University of Pennsylvania’s 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology and the Law School, where she holds the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander chair. An acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law, Roberts produces cutting-edge research and scholarship in law and public policy with a focus on urgent contemporary issues in health, social justice, and bioethics, especially as they impact the lives of women, children and African-Americans.

In addition to Fatal Invention, she is the author of several other books, including the groundbreaking Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997), which exposed the systemic abuse of Black women’s childbearing in America. The 20th anniversary edition of Killing the Black Body was released in 2017.