Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

What’s So Dangerous About Black Women’s Sexuality?

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 - 5:00pm6:30pm

Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

What’s So Dangerous About Black Women’s Sexuality?

Dorothy E. Roberts

George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, and Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights
University of Pennsylvania

Penn Humanities Forum and Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality, and Women present the first of Two Lectures on Black Women's Sexuality

Acclaimed for her pioneering work in law and public policy, Dorothy Roberts traces the long history of policing and punishing Black women’s sexuality, including current policies that sustain fearful stereotypes of Black female licentiousness. Why, Roberts asks, is Black women’s sexuality considered to be so dangerous, and how has this fear worked to impede sexual liberation more broadly?

In her second lecture on February 24th, 2016, "Liberating Sexuality: Starting with Black Women," Professor Roberts shifts from historical critique to fresh ideas for change.

Dorothy E. Roberts is George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania. She is renowned for her work in law and public policy, notably contemporary issues of health, social justice, and bioethics as they affect on the lives of women, children, and African-Americans.

Roberts is the author of many books, including the co-authored Sex Power and Taboo, which examines the influence of gender on sexuality and sexual behavior, in particular its impact on HIV risk and prevention in the Caribbean and beyond. She is also the author of Fatal Invention, which examines how the myth of the biological concept of race continues to promote inequality and undermine social justice. Her book Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare received the Outstanding Achievement of Cultural Competency in Child Maltreatment, Prevention and Intervention Award, and the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community's Research Award. Her book Killing the Black Body received the Myers Center Award from the Study of Human Rights in North America.

Her current manuscript project examines interracial marriage and racial equality in Chicago in the mid-twentieth century.

Professor Roberts received her JD from Harvard Law School, and her BA from Yale College. She is the founding director of Penn's Program on Race, Science & Society at the Center for Africana Studies and sits on the board of directors of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She has held fellowships at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, the Hastings Center, and Stanford University's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. In addition to her book awards, she has been recognized for her work in public policy and advocacy, receiving the Sage Award for her leadership in mentoring, workplace and community advocacy, and local and global human rights initiatives, and the Solomon Carter Fuller Award from the American Psychiatric Association for providing significant benefit to the quality of life for Black people.

Photo by Eric Mencher

February 24th, 2016
Liberating Sexuality: Starting with Black Women
Dorothy Roberts