UCLA School of Law Distinguished Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, a leading authority on civil rights and Black feminist legal thought, was awarded an honorary degree from Smith College on May 20, 2018, at the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2018. Smith College honorary degrees are awarded to "women who are exemplars of excellence in a wide range of fields" who have had special impact on Smith College, the education of women and women's lives.
Crenshaw is on the faculty at both UCLA Law and Columbia Law School, and is the founder and director of Columbia's Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. She is co-founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum, which promotes efforts to dismantle structural inequality. In offering the award, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney addressed Crenshaw's achievements.
"Your influential writings and lectures on critical race theory have exposed the chasms that racism has carved into American society—and especially into its legal system," McCartney said. "Through your pioneering work on intersectionality, you have shown that the injustice of a complex world cannot be reduced to narrow efforts defined by single qualifiers—black or female or LGBTQ or poor or indigenous. You have shown that only by understanding the convergence of multiple forms of disempowerment can we begin to address inequity."
Watch a video of the commencement ceremony, and learn more about Crenshaw's honorary degree.