Patricia J. Williams

James L. Dohr Professor of Law
Columbia University
Law School

Patricia J. Williams (B.A., Wellesley, 1972; J.D., Harvard, 1975) is the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at  Columbia University, where she has been tenured since 1992.

As a parallel career, Professor Williams has pursued journalism.  Her award-winning column, “Diary of a Mad Law Professor,” has appeared monthly in The Nation Magazine for two decades.  In 1997, she delivered the annual Reith Lectures, the BBC’s highest honor in radio journalism. She has authored essays, book reviews, and articles for journals, popular magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Genewatch Magazine, USA Today, Tikkun, Ms. Magazine, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Village Voice, The London Observer and The Guardian.

Professor Williams has been a keynote speaker all over the world, at conferences hosted by such diverse entities as the Tarrytown Meetings on Genetics and Society, the Berkshire Women’s History Conference, the South African Human Rights Commission, the International Council on Human Rights in Geneva, the Stem Cell Research Center at UC Irvine, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Her book, The Alchemy of Race and Rights was named one of the twenty-five best books of 1991 by the Voice Literary Supplement; one of the “feminist classics of the last twenty years” that “literally changed women’s lives” by Ms. Magazine; and one of the ten best non-fiction books of the decade by  Other books include The Rooster’s Egg (Harvard University Press, 1995), Seeing a ColorBlind Future: The Paradox of Race (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1998), and Open House: On Family, Food, Piano Lessons, and The Search for a Room of My Own (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2004).  Her 1988 article, « On Being The Object of Property, »  remains one of the most cited pieces ever published in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society; in 2013, in honor of its 25th anniversary, « On Being The Object of Property » was the subject of a symposium sponsored by the Columbia’s Center for Gender and Sexuality, as well as a special edition of  Columbia’s Journal of Gender and Law.