Cheryl I. Harris

Vice Dean for Community, Equality and Justice
Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

  • B.A. Wellesley, 1973
  • J.D. Northwestern, 1978
  • UCLA Faculty Since 1998

Cheryl I. Harris is the Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 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 at Chicago- Kent College of Law after working for one of Chicago’s leading criminal defense firms and later serving as a senior legal advisor in the City Attorney’s office as part of the reform administration of Mayor Harold Washington of Chicago.  The interconnections between racial theory, civil rights practice, politics, and human rights have been important to her work.  She was a key organizer of several major conferences that helped establish a dialogue between U.S. legal scholars and South African lawyers during the development of South Africa’s first democratic constitution.  This work played a significant role in the production of her acclaimed and influential article, “Whiteness as Property” (Harvard Law Review).

Since joining the UCLA Law faculty in 1998, Professor Harris has continued to produce groundbreaking scholarship in the field of Critical Race Theory, particularly engaging the issue of how racial frames shape our understanding and interpretation of significant events like Hurricane Katrina—(“Whitewashing Race”, in California Law Review), admissions policies (“The New Racial Preferences” in California Law Review)(with Carbado) and anti-discrimination law (“Reading Ricci: Whitening Discrimination, Race-ing Test Fairness” in UCLA Law Review) (with West-Faulcon).

She has also lectured widely on issues of race and equality at leading institutions here and abroad, including in Europe, South Africa, and Australia, and has been a frequent contributor to various media outlets on current events and cases involving race and equality.

Professor Harris has served as a consultant to the MacArthur Foundation and has been on the board of leading academic societies, including the American Studies Association.  She has served as faculty director for the Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA Law School and has been widely recognized as a groundbreaking teacher in the area of civil rights education, receiving the ACLU Foundation of Southern California's Distinguished Professor Award for Civil Rights Education. 


  • Articles And Chapters
    • Intersectionality at 30: Mapping the Margins of Anti-Essentialism, Intersectionality, and Dominance Theory (with Devon Carbado), 132 Harvard Law Review 2193 (2019). Full Text
    • Back to the Future: Recentering the Political Outsider, 118 Columbia Law Review Online 153 (2018). Full Text
    • Fisher's Foibles: From Race and Class to Class Not Race, 64 UCLA Law Review Discourse 648 (2017). Full Text
    • Ricci v. Destefano: Lost at the Intersection, 91 Denver University Law Review 1121 (2015). Full Text
    • Limiting Equality: The Divergence and Convergence of Title VII and Equal Protection, 2014 University of Chicago Legal Forum 95 (2014).
    • Undocumented Criminal Procedure (with Devon Carbado), 58 UCLA Law Review 1543-1616 (2011). Full Text
    • Reading Ricci: Whitening Discrimination, Racing Test Fairness (with Kimberly West-Faulcon), 58 UCLA Law Review 73-165 (2010). Full Text
    • The New Racial Preferences (with Devon Carbado), California Law Review 1139-1214 (2008). Full Text
    • 'Too Pure an Air:' Somerset's Legacy from Anti-slavery to Colorblindness, 13 Texas Wesleyan Law Review 439-58 (2007).
    • Whitewashing Race: Scapegoating Culture, 94 California Law Review 907-943 (2006). Reviewing Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society, by Michael K. Brown.
    • In the Shadow of Plessy, 7 Journal of Constitutional Law 867 (2005).
    • The Story of Plessy v. Ferguson: The Death and Resurrection of Racial Formalism, in Constitutional Law Stories, (edited by Michael Dorff, Foundation Press, 2004).
    • Book Review, Mining in Hard Ground, 116 Harvard Law Review 2487-2539 (2003). Reviewing The Miner’s Canary, by Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres.
    • What the Supreme Court did not Hear in Grutter and Gratz, 51 Drake Law Review 697-713 (2003).
    • Critical Race Studies: An Introduction, 49 UCLA Law Review 1215-39 (2002).
    • Equal Treatment and the Reproduction of Inequality, 69 Fordham Law Review 1753-83 (2001).
    • Re-Imagining Community, 47 UCLA Law Review 1839-42 (2000).
    • Sojourner Truth, in Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, 2nd ed. (edited by Leonard W. Levy, Kenneth L. Karst et al., Macmillan, 2000).
    • On Visual Oral History: Meditations on Kerry James Marshall's "Mementos", The Renaissance Society (1999).
    • Finding Sojourner's Truth: Race, Gender and the Institution of Slavery, 18 Cardozo Law Journal 309-409 (1997).
    • Myths of Race and Gender in the Trials of O.J. Simpson and Susan Smith–Spectacles of Our Times, 35 Washburn Law Journal 225-53 (1996).
    • Whiteness as Property, 106 Harvard Law Review 1709-91 (1993). Edited version reprinted in Critical Race Theory: Key Writings That Formed a Movement (edited by Crenshaw, Gotanda, et al., New Press, 1997). Full Text
    • Law Professors of Color and the Academy, 68 Chicago-Kent Law Review 331 (1992). Reprinted in Critical Race Feminism (edited by A. Wing, NYU Press, 1997).
  • Other
    • Look Before You Leap (with Walter R. Allen), National Law Journal (Oct. 22, 2007).
    • A Roundtable Discussion with Paul Brest, Cheryl I. Harris, Kirk O. Kolbo, Dennis J. Shields & Shelli D. Soto (with Paul Brest, Kirk O. Kolbo, Deniss J. Shields, and Shelli D. Soto), 51 Drake Law Review 761-74 (2003).
    • Closing Remarks: Reimagining Community, 47 UCLA Law Review 1839-42 (2000).
    • Book Review, Bell’s Blues, 60 University of Chicago Law Review 783-93 (1993). Reviewing Faces at the Bottom of the Well, by Derrick Bell.
    • African Americans and the Right to Self-Determination: The Duties Associated with the Right to Self-Determination, 17 Hamline Law Review 60 (1993).
    • Impact of the End of the Cold War on Africa, 48 The Guild Practitioner (1991).