Anita LaFrance Allen

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
Humanities and Arts

Anita L. Allen is the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy. A graduate of Harvard Law with a PhD from the University of Michigan in Philosophy, Allen is internationally renowned as an expert on philosophical dimensions of privacy and data protection law, ethics, bioethics, legal philosophy, women’s rights, and diversity in higher education. She was Penn’s Vice Provost for Faculty from 2013-2020 and chaired the Provost’s Arts Advisory Council.

Allen is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Law Institute, the American Philosophical Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2018-19 she served as President of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association. From 2010 to 2017, Allen served on President Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

She has served on the faculty of the School of Criticism and Theory, for which she is an advisor, and served a two-year term as an Associate of the Johns Hopkins Humanities Center, 2016-2018. Allen has been a visiting Professor at Tel Aviv University, Waseda University, Villanova University, Harvard Law, and Yale Law, and a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton. 

Allen was awarded an honorary doctorate from Tilburg University (Netherlands) in 2019 and from Wooster College in 2021. She was awarded the 2021 Philip L. Quinn Prize for service to philosophy and philosophers by the American Philosophical Association, the 2022 Founder’s Award by the Hastings Center for service to bioethics, and the 2022 Privacy Award of the Berkeley Law and Technology Center for groundbreaking contributions to privacy and data protection law. 

A prolific scholar, Allen has published over 120 articles and chapters, and her books include Unpopular Privacy: What Must We Hide (Oxford, 2011); Privacy Law and Society (Thomson/West, 2017); The New Ethics: A Guided Tour of the 21st Century Moral Landscape (Miramax/Hyperion, 2004); Why Privacy Isn’t Everything: Feminist Reflections on Personal Accountability (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), and Uneasy Access: Privacy of Women in a Free Society (Rowman & Littlefield, 1988).

She has given lectures all over the world, been interviewed widely, and has appeared on television, radio and in major media.

Allen currently serves on the Board of the National Constitution Center, The Future of Privacy Forum and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, whose Lifetime Achievement Award she has received and whose board she has chaired. She has served on numerous other boards, editorial boards and executive committees including for the Pennsylvania Board of Continuing Judicial Education, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, the Association of American Law Schools, the Maternity Care Coalition, the Women’s Medical Fund, and the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children. 

She is a member of the Pennsylvania and New York bars and formerly taught at Georgetown Law and the University of Pittsburgh Law, after practicing briefly at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and teaching philosophy at Carnegie-Mellon University.

At Penn, Allen is a faculty affiliate of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, the Africana Studies Department, the Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law, the Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition, and the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences.

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