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Dorothy Roberts Named Ver Steeg Fellow

Legal expert on race, gender and class receives top honor for research

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April 29, 2010 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

CHICAGO --- Dorothy Roberts, Kirkland & Ellis Professor at Northwestern University School of Law and a faculty fellow at the University's Institute for Policy Research, has been awarded the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship.

She is the fifth scholar to receive the Ver Steeg Fellowship, the University's first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member.

Roberts, a prolific scholar, writes about the interplay of gender, race and class in legal issues concerning reproduction, bioethics and child welfare.

The Ver Steeg award provides each recipient with a research grant of $30,000 and is designed to support scholarship that enhances the reputation of Northwestern, nationally and internationally.

Roberts is the author of "Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty" (Pantheon, 1997), which received a 1998 Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America, and "Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare" (Basic Books, 2002), which received research awards from the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African-American Community and the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.

She also is the co-editor of "Sex, Power and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond" and casebooks on constitutional law and women and the law. Roberts has published more than 70 articles and essays in books and scholarly journals, including Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Signs, and Social Text.

Roberts has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and Fordham University, a Fulbright scholar, and a fellow at Harvard University's Program in Ethics and the Professions and Stanford's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She serves on the board of directors of the Black Women's Health Imperative, the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform and Generations Ahead. She was a member of the inaugural executive committee of Cells to Society: The Center on Social Disparities and Health at Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research. She also serves on a panel of five national experts overseeing foster care reform in Washington state and on the Standards Working Group of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

She has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad and is currently completing a book on race consciousness in biotechnology, law and social policy for which she received awards from the National Science Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship was established in 2006 by the late Clarence Ver Steeg, a faculty member in the department of history from 1950 until 1992 and dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986, and his wife, Dorothy.

A broad academic field is identified by the Provost each year as the area from which nominations are solicited from school deans.

Previous Ver Steeg award winners are Harold Kung, professor of chemical and biological engineering, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science; J. Larry Jameson, M.D., vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, Feinberg School of Medicine; Barbara Newman, professor of English, religion and classics and John Evans Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; and George C. Schatz, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, Weinberg College, and professor of chemical and biological engineering, McCormick School.