Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lani Guinier ’74 Discusses Challenges for Democracy April 30

Lani Guinier ’74, Bennett Boskey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, will give the 2006-2007 Fowler Harper Lecture on Monday, April 30, at Yale Law School.  Her topic will be “The Political Representative as Powerful Stranger:  Challenges for Democracy.” The talk will take place at 4:30 p.m. in Room 127. A reception will follow in the Alumni Reading Room.

“In this lecture, I will draw on the example of United States practice to examine certain theoretical and practical questions concerning political representation in constitutional democracies,” said Guinier. “The title of my talk comes from an Alexis de Tocqueville quote:  ‘In certain countries of Europe…the citizen is unconcerned as to the condition of his village, the police of his street, the repairs of the church or of the parsonage; for he looks upon all these things as unconnected with himself, and as the property of a powerful stranger whom he calls the Government.’”

Professor Guinier is a legal scholar and former civil rights lawyer who specializes in voting rights law, democratic theory and practice, educational access and pedagogy, and social justice with an emphasis on the relationship between issues of race, gender and class. She was appointed professor of law at Harvard Law School in 1998, becoming the school’s first black woman tenured professor. Prior to joining Harvard Law School, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania.

She holds a B.A. from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She clerked for Judge Damon Keith of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, was a juvenile court referee in Wayne County, Michigan, was special assistant to the assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and directed the voting rights project at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Professor Guinier is the author of numerous articles and books and has received many honors and awards for her teaching, writing and public service. She is co-founder with Susan Sturm of the Racetalks Initiative; their guidebook and website www.racetalks.org share the challenges they have faced building multiracial learning communities.

The Fowler Harper Memorial Fund and Harper Fellowship bring to Yale Law School a prominent person who has made a distinguished contribution to the public life of the nation.