Cheryl I. Harris teaches Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination and Critical Race Theory.
Professor Harris began her teaching career at Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1990, after more than a decade in practice that included criminal appellate and trial work and municipal government representation as a senior attorney for the city of Chicago. As the National Co-Chair for the National Conference of Black Lawyers for several years, she developed expertise in international human rights, particularly concerning South Africa. Professor Harris was a key organizer of several major conferences both in South Africa and in the United States that helped establish a dialogue between U.S. legal scholars and South African lawyers during the development of South Africa's first democratic constitution in 1994.
She is the author of leading works in Critical Race Theory including the highly influential Whiteness as Property ( Harv. L. Rev.). Her work has also taken up the relationship among race, gender and property and most recently has focused on race, equality and the Constitution through the re-examination of Plessy v. Ferguson and Grutter v. Bollinger.
In 2002 Professor Harris received a fellowship from the Mellon Foundation to co-host a semester long interdisciplinary working group and conference series on "Redress in Social Thought, Law and Literature," at the University of California Humanities Research Institute. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the Bunche Center for African-American Studies and is part of the Executive Council of the American Studies Association. Professor Harris is the recipient of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California 2005 Distinguished Professor Award for Civil Rights Education.