Patricia J. Williams

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Patricia J. Williams
Patricia Williams by David Shankbone.jpg
Patricia Williams
Born (1951-08-28) August 28, 1951 (age 66)
Boston, Massachusetts
Nationality American

Patricia J. Williams (born August 28, 1951) is an American legal scholar and a proponent of critical race theory, a school of legal thought that emphasizes race as a fundamental determinant of the American legal system.[1]

Early life[edit]

Williams received her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College in 1972, and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 1975. At Harvard, she was one of ten black women in her graduating class of 536.[2]


Williams worked as a consumer advocate in the office of the City Attorney in Los Angeles, was a fellow in the School of Criticism and Theory at Dartmouth College and served as associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School and its department of women's studies. She is currently the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University where she has taught since 1991.[3] She has also served as a jurist on the Florida Supreme Court.

Williams is a member of the State Bar of Florida and the Bar of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Williams has served on the advisory council for the Medgar Evers College for Law and Social Justice of the City University of New York, the board of trustees of Wellesley College, and on the board of governors for the Society of American Law Teachers, among others.[4]

Williams writes a column for The Nation magazine titled "Diary of a Mad Law Professor." Her column for The Nation has recently changed from bi-weekly to monthly. The Mad-Law-Professor (SM) is also the name of a super hero that she created.

Awards and honors[edit]

She was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, which she held from June 2000 until June 2005.

On March 1, 2013, Columbia Law School's Center for Gender & Sexuality Law honored her with a symposium[5] featuring Anita Hill, Lani Guinier, and others.[6]



  1. ^ Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, Critical Race Theory: An Introduction (New York: New York University Press, 2001)
  2. ^ Williams, Patricia J. "Notes From a Small World". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 11, 2013. 
  3. ^ Kinohi Nishikawa, "Patricia J. Williams," The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature, ed. Hans Ostrom and J. David Macey, Jr. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005), 1747–49.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Bello, Grace. "Adventures in Feministory: Law Professor Patricia J. Williams Opens Up". Retrieved March 11, 2013. 

External links[edit]