The award honors “a Black citizen who has pioneered in an area which has significantly benefitted the quality of life for Black people.”
Roberts is an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and the law who joined the University in 2012 as its 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor. She is the George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology. Her appointment is shared between the School of Law and the departments of sociology and Africana studies in Penn Arts & Sciences. She is also the founding director of Penn’s Program on Race, Science and Society.
Roberts’ path-breaking work explains the mechanisms and consequences of racial inequities for women, children, families and communities and counters scientific misunderstandings about racial identity. Her research focuses on family, criminal and civil-rights law; bioethics; child welfare; feminist theory; reproductive justice; critical race theory; and science and society.
Her major books include Fatal Intervention: How Science, Politics and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-first Century; Sex, Power and Taboo: Gender and HIV in the Caribbean and Beyond; Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare; and Killing The Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty.
Roberts will receive the award and deliver the Fuller Award lecture at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting, in Toronto in May.