Crenshaw, Kimberlé Williams

Crenshaw, Kimberlé, 1959–, American legal scholar and critical race theorist, b. Canton, Ohio, J.D. Harvard University, 1984. An influential writer on Black feminist legal theory, civil rights, and race, Crenshaw is a Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School. She received an LL.M. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1985. In 1991, Crenshaw helped the legal team representing Anita Hill at the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. A co-founder and executive director of the African American Policy Forum, Crenshaw has been formative in the development critical race theory and "intersectionality," a term she coined to portray the double bind of concurrent racial and gender discrimination, which was elaborated by sociologist Patricia Hill Collins.

Crenshaw has worked on a variety of topics pertaining to gender and race, including violence against women, affirmative action, and structural inequality. She has served as a member of the committee to research violence against women for the National Science Foundation. Crenshaw's writings on intersectionality were instrumental in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution. In 2001, she authored the background paper on race and gender discrimination for the World Conference on Racism at the United Nations. Crenshaw is one of the most cited woman legal scholars in the history of the law, and was named one of the most important thinkers in the world by Prospect Magazine in 2019.

Crenshaw is the author and editor several books, including, but not limited to, Critical Race theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement (1986), Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment (1993), Reaffirming Racism: The Faulty Logic of Colorblindness, Remedy, and Diversity (2013), Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Over Policed and Under Protected (2016), and On Intersectionality (2022).

See A. Harris, et al., ed. Crossroads, Directions and A New Critical Race Theory (2011); K. M. Case, ed., Intersectional Pedagogy: Complicating Identity and Social Justice (2016); A. Carastathis, Intersectionality: Origins, Contestations, Horizons (2016); P. R. Grzanka, ed., Intersectionality: A Foundations and Frontiers Reader (2018); J. C. Nash, Black Feminism Reimagined: After Intersectionality (2018); H. Lutz et al., ed. Framing Intersectionality: Debates on a Multi-Faceted Concept in Gender Studies (2018); K. Bartlett and R. Kennedy, eds., Feminist Legal Theory: Readings In Law And Gender (2018).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Law: Biographies