UCLA School of Law Distinguished Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw has been named the winner of the 2016-17 Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize, awarded by Brandeis University to those who have made lasting contributions to racial and social justice.
Crenshaw is an internationally known thought leader in civil rights, race, feminism and the law. A founder of the field of Critical Race Theory, in 1989 Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” to describe the web of structural obstacles and inequalities faced by women, minorities and others, and the concept has since become a widely used approach to social justice advocacy and theory.
The Gittler Prize, hosted by Brandeis University’s International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, is the first and one of the largest academic prizes awarded to a U.S. or international scholar for outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic and religious relations. Previous Gittler Prize winners include former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow, an impactful leader in enhancing rights for the disabled and disenfranchised; Peruvian liberation theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez; and New York University Professor of Philosophy and Law Kwame Anthony Appiah, a renowned philosopher and leader in African-American studies.
“Kimberlé Crenshaw is a transformative voice in Critical Race Studies and gender equity, and her work has inspired significant social change as well as generations of scholars,” said Jennifer L. Mnookin, Dean of UCLA Law. “She has encouraged us all to #sayhername, and in so doing has helped to address injustices affecting millions of people.”
Crenshaw joined the UCLA faculty in 1986. Her record of achievement includes numerous honors for her scholarship, advocacy and teaching, and she is also on the faculty at Columbia Law School.
Her publications include Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment (1993) and Critical Race Theory (1995). She was elected Professor of the Year in 1991 and 1994 by the graduating classes at UCLA Law. In 1996 she founded the African-American Policy Forum, a think tank dedicated to connecting academics, activists and policy-makers to promote efforts to dismantle structural inequality.
Over the years Crenshaw’s numerous other awards and recognitions have included honors bestowed by Ebony and Ms. magazines, Harvard Law School and many others. In 2016, Crenshaw received the Outstanding Scholar Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.
Currently, Crenshaw is director of the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia Law School, which she founded in 2011, and is the Centennial Professor at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics.
The Gittler Prize comes with a $25,000 award and invitation to deliver a public lecture during a three-day residency at Brandeis.