Dr. Luke Charles Harris is the former Chair of the Department of Political Science at Vassar College, where he teaches American Politics and Constitutional Law; and the Co-founder of the African American Policy Forum (Policy Forum). The Policy Forum was developed as part of an ongoing effort to promote women’s rights in the context of struggles for racial justice. It is a media-monitoring think-tank and information clearinghouse that works to bridge the gap between scholarly research and public debates on questions of inequality, discrimination and injustice.
Harris earned a B.A. at Saint Joseph’s University, a J.D. and an LL.M at Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in Politics at Princeton. He clerked for the late A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., the distinguished legal historian and former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; served for two years as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Warwick, School of Law in Coventry England; for one year as a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Sociology; and for two years as a junior associate in the Litigation Department at Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett in New York City, before beginning his teaching career at Vassar in 1992.
An expert in the field of Critical Race Theory, Harris has authored a series of important essays on questions of racial and gender equality in contemporary America; and was the co-writer and chief consultant for Kathe Sandler’s 1993 award-winning documentary film, A Question of Color. A Question of Color premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and was released theatrically at the Film Forum in New York City before being aired on nationwide TV by PBS in 1994. It is currently being distributed by California NewsReel.
In 2003, Harris supervised and coauthored an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the “Committee of Concerned Black Graduates of Accredited Law Schools” in a landmark Supreme Court case: Grutter v. Bollinger (see “Prologue: Brief of Amici Curiae on Behalf of Concerned Black Graduates of ABA Accredited Law Schools,” Michigan Journal of Race and Law 2004). More recently, his ground breaking essay, “Affirmative Action as Equalizing Opportunity: Challenging the Myth of Preferential Treatment,” coauthored with Uma Narayan, was republished in Hugh LaFollette’s, Ethics in Practice, Blackwell Press (Oxford England), 3rd edition, 2006. For the academic year of 2008/2009, Prof. Harris was nominated a senior fellow at the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. During his residency, one of his scholarly projects will be the completion of a book entitled, The Meaning of Equality in “Post-Apartheid” America.