Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

Columbia Law School
Social and Behavioral Sciences

 Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, Co-founder and Executive Director of AAPF and Faculty Director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) is a pioneering scholar and writer on civil rights, critical race theory, Black feminist legal theory, race, racism, and the law. She is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and the Promise Institute Chair on Human Rights at UCLA Law  School.

Crenshaw’s work has been foundational in Critical Race Theory and in Intersectionality, both terms she coined. Crenshaw facilitated the first Critical Race Theory workshop in 1989 and taught the nation’s first course on the topic in 1990. Her studies, writing, and activism have identified key issues in the perpetuation of inequality, including the criminalization of Black teenage girls. Through a collaboration between AAPF and CISPS, Crenshaw co-authored (with Andrea Ritchie) Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, which documents and draws attention to the killing of Black women and girls by police. Crenshaw and AAPF subsequently launched the #SayHerName campaign to call attention to police violence against Black women and girls. 

Crenshaw is also the co-author of Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected. Her writing has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Review, the National Black Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, and the Southern  California Law Review. She is a co-editor of Critical Race Theory: Key Documents That Shaped the Movement and assisted on the legal team representing Anita Hill at the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Crenshaw’s groundbreaking work on Intersectionality was influential in the drafting of the equality clause in the South African Constitution. She coordinated NGO efforts to ensure the inclusion of gender in the WCAR Conference Declaration.

Crenshaw is a sought-after speaker who conducts workshops and trainings on Intersectionality and structural racism. Crenshaw’s popular podcast Intersectionality Matters! ranks among the top 5 percent of podcasts, and she hosts the internet series “Under the Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that Covid Laid Bare,” which received a WEBBIE recognition. Crenshaw has facilitated workshops for human rights activists in Brazil and India, for constitutional court judges in South Africa as well. She serves on the Committee on Law and Justice of the National Academies of Science. Crenshaw has received lifetime achievement awards from the Association of American Law Schools, Planned Parenthood, and the ERA Coalition, and was voted one of the ten most important thinkers in the world by Prospect Magazine. Professor Crenshaw was named the recipient of the 2021 AALS Triennial Award for Lifetime Service to Legal Education and to the Legal Profession. She also received the 2021 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award by the Women's Section of the Association of American Law Schools. Professor Crenshaw is a senior nonresident fellow at the Brookings Institute. She currently sits on the boards of Sundance Institute and the Algorithmic Justice League.

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