Day 1 Schedule

Welcome and Introduction to AAPF Summer School

With Devon Carbado, Kimberlé Crenshaw, & Daniel Martinez HoSang

Critical Race Theory: Origins, Trajectories, Implications  

In this introductory session, we will examine CRT’s emergence as an outgrowth of institutional and collective struggles surrounding the terms of integration in a post-segregationist America. Student protests over conceptions of meritocracy, knowledge-production, and the law challenged not only the rise and fall of race-conscious affirmative action initiatives throughout society, but also a vision of racial injustice that framed racism, meritocracy, and racial power in narrow terms. Through this roundtable discussion, first-generation Critical Race Theorists will reveal how ideological struggles in the 1980s and 90s exposed the ways in which the legacies of white supremacy were misunderstood, sustained, and insulated across a broad range of American institutions.


  • Kimberlé Crenshaw


  • Mari Matsuda

  • Gary Peller

  • Devon Carbado

  • Daniel HoSang

Breakout Sessions

Gary Peller* - Merit, Neutrality and Equal Opportunity as Ideologies
We will consider how "critical" and "radical" approaches differ from "liberal" ones in terms of understanding the role that ideas like merit, neutrality and equal opportunity play in terms of constructing and legitimating social power, and how such approaches accordingly widen the lens of what appears "political."

Mari Matsuda - Utopian Visions and Critical Race Theory in Practice
What is the role of utopian imagination in activating movements for social change? What is your utopian vision? What is ours? What does Critical Race Theory/Intersectional Feminism bring to this table?

Devon Carbado - Law School Mock Class I: The Legal Construction of Race
The first of several breakout sessions that will take the form of law school class, this breakout will explore a central theme in Critical Race Theory—namely, that race is a social construction and that the law constructs race. What exactly do those ideas mean? And why are they important to contemporary debates about both racial power and discrimination on the basis of race? The session will engage these, among other, questions.

Ezra Young* - Talking Back
Critique of conventional civil rights discourse is a central thread of critical race theory. In this workshop we will look at an early precursor to CRT—Derrick Bell’s Serving Two Masters—and a more recent op-ed by Kimberlé Crenshaw, What We Still Haven’t Learned From Anita Hill’s Testimony. Though these pieces respond to different issues—Bell’s lodges a then very controversial critique of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Brown v. Board of Education and the movement strategy behind it, whereas Crenshaw’s laments the lessons that still go unlearned from Anita Hill’s 1991 Senate Judiciary Committee testimony about the sexual harassment she endured by then-Judge Clarence Thomas—both pieces exemplify “talking back” to the civil rights establishment. Through these readings, we will explore the theoretical underpinnings of “talking back” as an intervention in movement spaces, the strategic value of “talking back” in hostile environments, and the historical staying power of critical interventions in racial justice projects.

Luke Charles Harris: One Pathway to Critical Race Theory
This class will trace the making of a Critical Race Theorist at Yale through the contested discourses around race, meritocracy and affirmative action. We will uncover how the debates about affirmative action helped me to understand the ways in which racial power was naturalized and rationalized in elite academic settings and by extension in society at large.  

Daniel Martinez HoSang: Critical Race Theory Beyond the Law (CRT for non-lawyers)
Critical Race Theory has been applied broadly and imaginatively outside the law, in fields including education, public policy, journalism, the arts, and many academic fields in the humanities and social sciences. In this session, we will work together to distill the basic concepts and ideas that constitute Critical Race Theory, and discuss how they apply to the areas of backgrounds and fields of participants.

George Lipsitz: The Historical Context for the Emergence of Critical Race Theory  
This session will trace the influence of The Black Freedom Movement of the 1960s and 1970s on the emergence of Critical Race Theory in the 1980s.

Day 2 Schedule

Contesting Colorblindness; Decolonizing Knowledge

Scholars across the disciplines and indeed the world have long been engaged in a battle over knowledge production. Some of this effort has been framed as an epistemological project to decolonize knowledge. Our goal in this segment is to link CRT to that effort. To do so, we will interrogate how racial ideologies of colorblindness (across disciplines) frames and polices the production of knowledge in ways that marginalize race, racial concerns, and peoples. Analyses will assess how racial ideologies are currently configured through the nexus of neo-liberal-racial regimes.


  • Daniel Martinez HoSang


  • George Lipsitz

  • Devon Carbado

  • Kimberlé Crenshaw

  • Luke Harris

  • Gary Peller

Breakout Sessions

Gary Peller* - Antidiscrimination Law and the Legitimation of Racial Power
Antidiscrimination law, the fruits of immense social struggle, can paradoxically work to legitimate rather than reform racial power by narrowing the identification of when racial power is at play. We will examine this phenomenon by focusing on mainstream reactions to police violence and to the Supreme Court’s equal protection rulings.

Devon Carbado - Law School Mock Class II: The Legal Production of Colorblindness
Much of the CRT literature highlights the ways in which colorblindness functions to obscure and entrench rather than foreground and contest racial inequality. This breakout will highlight the jurisprudential origins of colorblindness and illustrate the specific ways in which the initial articulation of colorblindness presupposed racial inequality. The breakout session will also examine how the Supreme Court mobilized colorblindness to limit Black political expression. Participants will leave the session with a clear sense of why it’s fair to describe colorblindness as a racial, rather than a race-neutral, ideology.

Ezra Young - Remedying Discriminatory Tenure Denials as a Means to Decolonize Legal Education
In this workshop, we will explore the theoretical underpinnings and practical interventions sought by professors who are discriminatorily denied tenure. Though denying a professor tenure because of their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or in retaliation for complaints about the same is prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, few professors file suit, and those that do often lose their cases or are otherwise denied reinstatement into the tenured position. Using Duncan Kennedy’s Cultural Pluralist Case as a jumping-off point, we will explore why meaningful integration into the university is critical in legal education and how, as a practical matter, Title VII’s power and limits in the tenure context.

Luke Charles Harris: Rethinking the Terms of the Debate Surrounding Affirmative Action.
This class will focus on an interrogation of the vitriolic backlash to race-based affirmative action policies in institutions of higher education and the workplace. We will exorcise the spectrum of rejection and ambivalence that haunts the contemporary discourse on these policies. In so doing, we will explore why race-conscious policies in these settings are not a matter of affording preferential treatment to its beneficiaries, but instead an attempt to offer them a greater equality of opportunity in a social context marked by pervasive inequalities.

George Lipsitz - Colorblind Assumptions and Color Bound Problems
This session will explore how colorblindness came to be considered the antidote to racism and the problems that are caused by imagining that being colorblind in law, scholarship, teaching, and social interactions resists rather than merely reinforces racial subordination.

Daniel Martinez HoSang and Kimberlé Crenshaw: The Countering Colorblindness Project
Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness Across the Disciplines (University of California Press, 2019) co-edited by Kimberlé Crenshaw, Luke Charles Harris, Daniel Martinez HoSang, and George Lipsitz, examines the ways that racial domination and colorblindness have shaped a broad range of disciplines in the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences. This session will discuss the Countering Colorblindness Project and the ways that participants might take up these frameworks in their respective institutions.

Day 3 Schedule

Intersectional and Black Feminist Contestations of Power

Intersectionality has become a key concept in feminist studies and politics, and has traveled across many disciplines, contexts, and movements to contest various expressions of social power. Yet, its original articulation within legal discourse has been sparse. This in turn has contributed to a range of interpretations that have eschewed both its structural and dynamic dimensions and narrowed its implications. Intersectionality’s origins as a critique of single-axis anti-discrimination law will be explored, along with its multiple deployments as a framework for elevating and contesting subordination across race, gender, class, sexuality, and other axes of power.


  • Devon Carbado


  • Kimberlé Crenshaw


  • Russell Robinson

  • Devon Carbado

  • Ezra Young

  • Priscilla Ocen

Breakout Sessions

Ezra Young - Centering the Margins: Advocacy in the Age of Trump
This workshop explores intersectional advocacy in legal practice. Using the Supreme Court's recent landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, holding LGBT people are protected by federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination in employment, we will examine how intersectionality can inform practical and theory based interventions in legal advocacy. Among other things, we will explore how client selection, written instruments (e.g., complaints and briefs), discovery choices, and case publicity can be used to educate the courts and public about marginalized populations in ways that uplift clients' interests and effectively advocate for progressive ends. We will also unpack the Bostock decision, exploring the power and limits of textualism in LGBT rights projects, interrogate whether Justice Gorsuch's brand of textualism is sufficiently intersectional, and explore what intersectional organizing looks like in this political moment using the Equality Act as a jumping off point.

Priscilla Ocen - Under Control: Black Women and the Failure of Community Supervision
Cash strapped state and local governments increasingly regard probation and parole as promising antidotes to the crisis of mass incarceration. For the nearly one million women who are subject to these forms of supervision, the embrace of non-custodial punishment, however, is a false promise, one that merely trades one form of unfreedom for another. This break out session examines these critiques of community supervision and highlights the ways in which the turn toward community supervision extends, rather than limits, state regulation over the lives of system-involved Black women.

Russell Robinson - The Fight for Marriage Equality and Intersectionality
This session will examine the "respectability politics" of the marriage equality movement and juxtapose this strategy with intersectionality. It will document how the movement embraced post-racialism, sought to bracket class, and prioritized "LG" over "BTQ." We will also consider how the marriage equality debate connects to longstanding differences between critical race theory and critical legal studies as to the value of individual rights.

Daniel Martinez HoSang
This breakout will examine applications of CRT and intersectionality to a range of social movement and activist settings and conditions, including community and labor organizing and other forms of grassroots social change. Bring your ideas and questions about the ways that the foundational concepts of intersectionality can be applied to your campaigns and advocacy efforts.

Devon Carbado with Kimberlé Crenshaw: Law School Mock Class III: The Legal Construction of Intersectional Erasures
The initial articulation of intersectionality included an interrogation of Title VII jurisprudence, an antidiscrimination regime that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of certain protected categories, such as race and gender.  Since the publication of Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex, courts have taken intersectionality more seriously in the context of adjudicating discrimination claims on the basis of both race and sex.  Yet, intersectionality’s key insights remain largely absent from other areas of law.  In particular,  an important branch of -constitutional law- equal protection doctrine--has yurt to take an intersectional turn.  This breakout will highlight the basic dimensions of equal protection law,  the intersectional erasures that law effectuates, and the distributional consequences of those erasures for people who vulneratation to inequality transcends  “a single axis” of difference.

Luke Charles Harris - Learning to Think in Intersectional Terms.
This class will consist of a nuanced examination of a classic article on intersectionality by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw: Mapping the Margins. Like every complex society we know of, the United States suffers from many forms of discrimination, most of which are based on group factors such as race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and so on. Here we will explore the rights of the members of such groups—groups that were originally relegated to differing forms of second-class citizenship in the United States by law and custom.

George Lipsitz - Intersectionality as a Social Movement Strategy
This session will explore how intersectional thinking shapes the ideas and actions of selected social movement mobilizations in the U.S. and Canada.

Day 4 Schedule

Critical Race Judgments

Supreme Court decision making is a significant site of racial contestation. For the past several decades those contestations have largely yielded outcomes that reflect a process of retrenchment insofar as matters of racial justice are concerned. With the overarching goal of exploring the possibilities and limitations of doctrinal reconstruction we ask, How might CRT be mobilized to challenge existing doctrinal traditions? How might new judgments set the stage for and amplify Critical Race Resistance? What role does intersectional analysis play in activating new possibilities?


Devon Carbado

Alternative Opinions:

  • Devon Carbado - Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806 (1996)

  • Kimberlé Crenshaw - Washington v. Davis, 426 U.S. 229 (1976)

  • Luke Harris - Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1977)

  • Charles Lawrence - Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, 551 U.S. 70 (2007)

  • Gary Peller - Brown v. Board, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)

Breakout Sessions

Gary Peller - Legal Practice as Racial Politics
We will consider what possibilities exist for reform and transformation within the judiciary, including the radical potential of cases such as Brown v. Board.

Charles Lawrence - From Brown to Davis to PICS: Denying Racism in Supreme Court Jurisprudence
We will conduct this breakout session in a small discussion seminar format, continuing the discussion begun in the Critical Race Judgments panel by focusing on the Supreme Court‘s School integration cases.  We will explore three themes in particular: 1) How all of these decisions employ formal equality to deny America’s continuing racism 2) How the Court's integration decisions create a property interest in whiteness 3) How this denial of racism and property interest in whiteness is expressed even in this historical moment when the rise of virulent white supremacy and police violence has moved so many people to profess a new found recognition of structural racism. Our ultimate task will be to consider how Critical Race Theory can best inform this generation’s abolitionists’ freedom struggle.

Devon Carbado - Mock Class IV: The Legal Construction of Racial Formalism
The project of rethinking and rewriting Supreme Court cases might lead one to focus entirely on the outcome of cases, not their rationales. This breakout focuses on the rationales. It will examine two canonical antiracist Supreme Court cases—Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia—and explore the good, the bad, and the ugly of their reasoning. Part of our project will be to ascertain whether, notwithstanding the outcome of these cases, these reflect troubling ideas about racial formalism.

Ezra Young - What the Supreme Court Could Have Said in McGirt v. Oklahoma
In this workshop, we will explore and reimagine what the Supreme Court could have said in its recent decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma (2020). The original McGirt opinion, written by Justice Gorsuch, is itself a blockbuster decision in federal Indian law—finding for the first time that the original reservation of the Creek Nation of Oklahoma, and likely that of the other so-called “five civilized tribes” that were relocated to Oklahoma along the Trial of Tears in the mid-nineteenth century, remain intact today. Though the Court, among other things, held in McGirt that states like Oklahoma are without the power to disestablish reservations created by treaties between tribal nations and Congress, it gave relative short shrift to the racist origins of the creation of the reservation system, the repeated efforts by Congress and Oklahoma to disenfranchise tribal citizens from their land, and the centuries of mistreatment citizens of the Creek and other sovereign nations have endured. Though McGirt opens up new possibilities for the five civilized tribes’ new governments to exercise sovereignty in more facets of day-to-day life, the Court could and should have gone further.

Luke Charles Harris with Kimberlé Crenshaw: An Exploration of What it Means to Reconfigure the Terms of Debate in the Bakke Opinion
This class will explore the social context out of which the groundbreaking Bakke case emerged. In the process, we will reimagine what Justice Powell could have said in his majority opinion.

Daniel Martinez HoSang: Organizing and Advocacy Within and Beyond the Law
This session will take up some of the concepts explored in the earlier lecture on Critical Race Judgements and invite participants to examine the ways that they play out and influence work in other realms outside the law. How can advocates, journalists, and others distill and explain basic concepts in the law and illustrate their impact in other settings? What frameworks can help people to understand the impact of the law on their daily lives? This workspace session will invite participants to share and distill their varied experiences and ideas.

George Lipsitz: The Roberts Court and the Age of Repudiation
This session will examine the impact on racial justice of key Supreme Court decisions during the tenure of Chief Justice John Roberts.

Day 5 Schedule

The Unmattering of Black Lives: How Law Facilitates Killing Black Bodies

Once again, the nation is embroiled in contestations over police violence against African Americans.  And once again, much of the discussion centers on whether particular police officers are “bad apples.” This “bad apple” frame has invited further inquiries about whether most, or just a bigoted few, police officers are racists.  Still other questions have foregrounded issues of diversity—that is, whether a more racially representative police force would go a long way towards ending the police violence problem. Finally, there is the widespread impression—consistent with the “bad apple” frame—that when police officers engage in conduct that we find troubling, that conduct violates one more dimensions of constitutional law. This session challenges these dominant understandings. It frames police violence as a structural problem that is constituted in part by legalized pathways to Black death. Our goal is to highlight and engender a discussion about the various ways in which constitutional law legalizes police killings of African Americans.  The session will also consider whether it makes sense to conceive of the criminal justice system as broken or whether, instead, we should understand that system as a state apparatus that seeks to accomplish precisely what has been put into sharp relief over the past few months—the unmattering of Black lives.


  • Kimberlé Crenshaw


  • Devon Carbado


  • Paul Butler

  • Barbara Arnwine

  • Priscilla Ocen

Breakout SessionS

Paul Butler with Kimberlé Crenshaw - Why Reform Never Works
The session will consider the limits of reform based on critical race theory analysis of the role of law in advancing/facilitating anti-blackness and white supremacy. Violent policing and mass incarceration are not bugs in the criminal legal process but instead integral constitutive features of it.

Priscilla Ocen - Under Control: Black Women and the Failure of Community Supervision
Cash strapped state and local governments increasingly regard probation and parole as promising antidotes to the crisis of mass incarceration. For the nearly one million women who are subject to these forms of supervision, the embrace of non-custodial punishment, however, is a false promise, one that merely trades one form of unfreedom for another. This break out session examines these critiques of community supervision and highlights the ways in which the turn toward community supervision extends, rather than limits, state regulation over the lives of system-involved Black women.

Gary Peller - The Liberal Understanding of Police Misconduct
We will examine liberal approaches to so-called police misconduct as part of a broader narrative about what racial power consists of and how it can be “remedied.” What is the connection between understanding the problem of police violence through a “rule of law” lens and believing that racial power could be remedied by diversity training or by children attending integrated schools? How would a critical approach differ? And what does the wide opposition to “White Supremacy” and “structural racism” really mean?

Devon Carbado Mock Class V:  The Legal Construction  Racial Suspicion
This session will introduce participants to the basic dimension of Fourth Amendment law, with a particular focus on the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence to “stops” and “frisk.” Part of the aim will be to illustrate the ways in which the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment doctrine trades on and helps to produce notions of Black criminality.

Barbara Arnwine* - Viral Vote Suppression: How the Supreme Court Condones Vote Suppression
This session will do a dive into several of the recent voting rights cases and how vote suppression is ground zero for all suppression.

Luke Charles Harris: The Perils of the Endangered Black Male Framework
In this class, we will explore how the endangered Black Male Narrative not only marginalizes the concerns of Black women and girls, but also harms them while seriously undermining the interests of the Black community as a whole.

Daniel Martinez HoSang: Reform vs Abolition
This discussion will further explore the principles in the earlier lecture on the body of constitutional law that legalizes and legitimates anti-Black violence and the ways that social movements have engaged strategies of legal reform versus prison and police abolition in response.

George Lipsitz: Which Laws Matter?
This session will focus on how failure to enforce fair housing laws create preconditions for mass incarceration and police violence.