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Racial Justice Speaker Series 2021-2022


Created in response to the tragic killings by police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others and the widespread protests that followed, UC Davis Law’s Racial Justice Speaker Series is now in its second year. 

Reaffirming the law school’s longtime commitment to racial justice, the series invites leading scholars from around the country to explore systemic racism as it pertains to all communities of color and areas of law.  

The goals are to inform, enlighten, and - most important - engage in meaningful conversation with our King Hall community and the larger public. 


Click here to watch previous recorded Racial Justice Speaker Series sessions 


Aug. 25

12:15-1:15 p.m. Pacific

"How Rights Went Wrong"

Jamal Greene
Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia Law School

Rights are a sacred part of American identity. Yet they are the source of some of our greatest divisions. We believe that holding a right means getting a judge to let us do whatever the right protects. And judges, for their part, seem unable to imagine two rights coexisting--reducing the law to winners and losers. The resulting system of legal absolutism distorts our law, debases our politics, and exacerbates our differences rather than helping to bridge them. This lecture offers a different approach consistent with our history that points the way to a more just and civil society.

Jamal Greene is the Dwight Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses in constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, and the law of the political process. He is the author of How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession With Rights Is Tearing America Apart, as well as numerous articles and book chapters on constitutional law and theory. He is also a co-chair of the Oversight Board, an independent body that reviews content moderation decisions on Facebook and Instagram. He served as a law clerk to the Hon. Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for the Hon. John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. He earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and his A.B. from Harvard College.

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Sept. 8

12:15-1:15 p.m. Pacific

"Beyond BIPOC"

Meera Deo
Southwestern Law School

Race and racism evolve over time, as does the language of antiracism. Yet nascent terms of resistance are not always better than originals. Without the deep investment of community engagement and review, new labels—like BIPOC—run the risk of causing more harm than good. This lecture argues that using BIPOC (which stands for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color”) as a synonym for People of Color not only does a disservice to the People of Color history and legacy, but is a dangerous example of virtue signaling that promises symbolic progress without meaningful change. Applying this thesis to the context of legal education using empirical data from law students and law faculty, it becomes evident that People of Color is the appropriate term to use when making comparisons to whites; similarly, Women of Color works best when considering (raceXgender) intersectionality. Furthermore, academics, advocates, and allies should recognize that while pursuing commonalities and drawing from shared experiences is often critical for political and strategic purposes, aggregating disparate groups under one umbrella risks obscuring particular populations. In these instances, we should be even more specific in naming each community individually to bring necessary attention to their unique experiences.

Professor Meera E. Deo Professor is a national expert on legal education, racial representation, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is also Director of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), which houses the largest repository of law student data and is based at Indiana University-Bloomington. Before joining Southwestern, she was a tenured Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Professor Deo has also held previous visiting positions at Berkeley Law, UC Irvine School of Law, UCLA School of Law, UC Davis School of Law, and New College of Florida. She teaches Civil Procedure, Evidence, Law & Society, and Race & Law. Her research utilizes empirical methods to interrogate institutional diversity, affirmative action, and Critical Race Theory. Professor Deo's scholarship has been widely published in law reviews and peer-review journals and cited in numerous amicus briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. Professor Deo’s book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia (Stanford University Press, 2019), draws from her innovative Diversity in Legal Academia project, the first national empirical study of law faculty utilizing an intersectional framework. In 2020, she was elected to the American Law Institute.

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Oct. 20

12:15-1:15 p.m. Pacific

"Family Law of the Poor"

Khiara Bridges
UC Berkeley School of Law

This talk will examine the dual system of family law in the US. It observes that the US has a set of laws that regulates more affluent families and an entirely distinct set of laws that regulates poor families. Moreover, the family law for the poor is uniquely punitive. This talk offers that the dual system of family law, and the brutal nature of family law for the poor, can be explained in terms of the moral construction of poverty—the idea that poverty is a result of an individual’s shortcomings. This talk proposes that the moral construction of poverty offers a unique framework through which to view and critique the family law for the poor. 

Khiara M. Bridges is a professor of law at UC Berkeley School of Law. She has written many articles concerning race, class, reproductive rights, and the intersection of the three. Her scholarship has appeared or will soon appear in the Harvard Law ReviewStanford Law Review, the Columbia Law Review, the California Law Review, the NYU Law Review, and the Virginia Law Review, among others. She is also the author of three books: Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization (2011), The Poverty of Privacy Rights (2017), and Critical Race Theory: A Primer (2019). She is a coeditor of a reproductive justice book series that is published under the imprint of the University of California Press.

She graduated as valedictorian from Spelman College, receiving her degree in three years. She received her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her Ph.D., with distinction, from Columbia University’s Department of Anthropology. While in law school, she was a member of the Columbia Law Review and a Kent Scholar.

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Nov. 3

12:15-1:15 p.m. Pacific

"Intimate Privacy: A Civil Right"

Danielle Citron
University of Virginia School of Law

Danielle Citron is the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Schenck Distinguished Professor in Law at UVA, where she writes and teaches about privacy, free expression and civil rights. Her scholarship and advocacy have been recognized nationally and internationally.

In 2019, Citron was named a MacArthur Fellow based on her work on cyberstalking and intimate privacy. In 2018, she received the UMD Champion of Excellence award and in 2015, the United Kingdom’s Prospect Magazine named her one of the Top 50 World Thinkers and The Daily Record named her one of the Top 50 Most Influential Marylanders.

Her book “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace” (Harvard University Press, 2014) was widely praised in published reviews, discussed in blog posts and named one of the 20 Best Moments for Women in 2014 by the editors of Cosmopolitan magazine. She has published more than 40 law review articles, including in the Yale Law Journal, Michigan Law Review (three times), California Law Review (twice), Southern California Law Review, Texas Law Review and many more, which have won professional awards from the International Association of Privacy Professionals as well as from the privacy think tank Future of Privacy. She has written more than 40 opinion pieces for major media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, the Guardian, Time and Slate.

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Jan. 19

12:15-1:15 p.m. Pacific

"Political Accountability for Discrimination in National Security"

Maryam Jamshidi
Levin College of Law, University of Florida

Professor Maryam Jamshidi teaches and writes in the areas of national security, public international law, the law of foreign relations, and tort law. Her scholarship examines the various ways in which private law, particularly torts, shapes and is transformed by public laws touching on national security and international law matters. In exploring these dynamics, Professor Jamshidi’s work draws on political and critical theory, as well as sociology. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Washington University Law Review, the Southern California Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, and the University of Colorado Law Review. She also regularly publishes in popular media outlets.

Prior to joining the Levin College of Law, Professor Jamshidi served as an Assistant Professor of Lawyering at the NYU Law School. She also worked as an associate in several leading Washington D.C. law firms, including White & Case, where she worked primarily on issues relating to national security and foreign relations law. Professor Jamshidi clerked for the Honorable Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.


April 6

12:15-1:15 p.m. Pacific

"Racially Inadmissible"

Rose Cuison-Villazor
Rutgers Law School

This lecture will explore the intersection of race, citizenship and gender in immigration law that led to banning women and children from immigrating to the United States between the early to mid-1900s.

Professor Rose Cuison-Villazor teaches, researches and writes in the areas of immigration and citizenship law, property law, Asian Americans and the law, equal protection law and critical race theory. She is a nationally-regarded scholar with an active record in social justice issues and is the founder of the Rutgers Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice. Dean Cuison-Villazor has been serving as Vice Dean of Rutgers Law School in Newark since July 2019. She is also the founding Director of the Center for Immigration Law, Policy and Justice at Rutgers Law School.  

She is co-editor Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy, 7th Ed. (with Stephen Legomsky, David Thronson, and Anil Kalhan) (forthcoming 2021), Integrating Spaces: Property, Race and Identity (with Alfred Brophy and Kali Murray) (forthcoming 2022), and Race and Races, Cases and Resources for a Diverse America, 4th Ed. (with Juan Perea, Richard Delgado, and Osamudia James). Previously, Dean Cuison-Villazor was Professor of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall Research Scholar at the University of California at Davis School of Law. She has also taught at Columbia Law School, Hofstra University Law School and Southern Methodist University School of Law. 

She earned her LLM from Columbia Law School, JD from American University and BA from the University of Texas.


** In-person events are only open to UC Davis Law students, faculty and staff. COVID-19 Daily Symptom Survey and face covering will be required to attend. More about event guidelines.