About Radcliffe / Leadership

Tomiko Brown-Nagin

  • Dean, Harvard Radcliffe Institute
Portrait of Tomiko Brown-Nagin
Tomiko Brown-Nagin by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

Tomiko Brown-Nagin is dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute, one of the world’s leading centers for interdisciplinary research across the humanities, sciences, social sciences, arts, and professions. She is also the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and a professor of history in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

An award-winning legal historian and an expert in constitutional law and education law and policy, she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Law Institute, and the American Philosophical Society; a fellow of the American Bar Foundation; a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians; and a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Constitutional History and the board of directors of ProPublica. Brown-Nagin has published articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics, including the Supreme Court’s equal protection jurisprudence, civil rights law and history, the Affordable Care Act, and education reform, and her scholarship and commentary have been published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Duke Law Journal, Law and History Review, POLITICO, the Washington Post, and the Yale Law Journal, among other publications.

Brown-Nagin’s latest book, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality (Pantheon, 2022), explores the life and times of the pathbreaking lawyer, politician, and judge. The Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, Smithsonian Magazine, and Time all cited it as one of the best books of 2022. Civil Rights Queen has also been short-listed for major literary prizes and optioned for a documentary film treatment. Her previous book, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press, 2011), won a 2012 Bancroft Prize in American History, the Liberty Legacy Prize of the Organization of American Historians, and the John Phillip Reid Book Award by the American Society of Legal History, among other honors.

From 2019 to 2022, Brown-Nagin chaired the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery. As chair, she led the highly visible University-wide initiative and coauthored the committee’s landmark report detailing the University’s direct, financial, and intellectual ties to slavery. The effort resulted in Harvard’s unprecedented commitment of $100 million to redress harms to descendant communities in the United States and in the Caribbean. Harvard University Press published the report in book form in the fall of 2022. Lauded in the New York Review of Books and the Washington Post for its scholarly breadth and depth, the report has been nominated for several academic prizes.


For media inquiries, journalists should contact Mac Daniel, associate director of communications and senior editor, 617-495-8116, mac_daniel@radcliffe.harvard.edu

For all other inquires, please contact Laura Gerhard, executive assistant to the dean, laura_gerhard@radcliffe.harvard.edu


Opinion: How to Fix College Admissions Now (New York Times, 7/5/23)

Statement from Harvard leadership regarding the Supreme Court decision on Harvard Admissions lawsuit (Harvard.edu, 6/29/23)

"Better and Stronger": Harvard Hosts Second Annual Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Forum (Harvard Crimson, 2/21/23)

Enshrine an Affirmative Right to Vote (Harvard Gazette, 11/21/22)

Saying Their Names (Harvard Gazette, 11/15/22)

Because Past Is Not Even Past (Harvard Gazette, 9/2/22)

"ABA Profile of the Legal Profession" Report Shines a Light on Judicial Diversity (ABA Journal, 7/28/22)

The Transformative Power of Reason (Harvard Crimson, 5/26/22)

Opinion: Ketanji Brown Jackson Is the Beginning, Not the End, of This Story (CNN, 4/6/22)

Constance Baker Motley, Civil Rights Queen, Paved the Way for Ketanji Brown Jackson (Oprah Daily, 4/1/22)

Examining 2 Days of Senate Confirmation Hearings for Biden's Supreme Court Nominee (NPR, 3/23/22)

The Right to Counsel Shouldn’t Be Controversial (Slate, 3/21/22)

This Black Woman Could Have Served on the Supreme Court Decades Ago. She Has Some Lessons for Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Politico, 2/25/22)

Biden Picks Ketanji Brown Jackson as Supreme Court Nominee (NPR, 2/25/22)

A Black Lawyer Who Dismantled Barriers, for Herself and Many Others (Washington Post, 2/25/22)

Often Overlooked, Civil Rights Advocate Constance Baker Motley Gets Her Due (NPR, 2/16/22)

A Black Woman on the High Court Is a Good Start. But Representation Has Limits. (NPR, 2/9/22)

The "Double-edged Sword" of Being a Black First (Code Switch on NPR, 2/2/22)

Charting the Path of a "Civil Rights Queen" (Harvard Gazette, 1/31/22)

Radcliffe Dean Discusses Book Celebrating Life of Civil Rights Lawyer Constance Baker Motley (Harvard Crimson, 1/31/22)

This Black Woman Judge Laid the Groundwork for Those Who Would Follow (CNN, 1/28/22)

"Civil Rights Queen," The Story of a Brave and Brilliant Trailblazer (New York Times, 1/26/22)

Rescuing MLK and His Children’s Crusade (Harvard Gazette, 1/13/22)

"A Towering Figure" in American Law, Harvard Professor Lani Guinier Dies at 71 (Boston Globe, 1/8/22)

Both Sides Now (Harvard Magazine, 1/1/22)

What 2021 Taught Us about the Fight for Racial Justice (CNN, 12/16/21)

Floyd's Death Leads to Disinformation about Black Lives Matter Movement (NPR, 5/25/21)

"It Would Be Glorious": Hopes High for Biden to Nominate First Black Woman to Supreme Court (The Guardian, 4/20/21)

Diversity Expanding within the Growing Black American Population, New Data Show (Boston Globe, 3/25/21)

"The Rule of Law Is at Stake": Harvard Law School Faculty Weigh In On Impeachment (Harvard Crimson, 1/13/21)

After a Hard Election, the Real Work Begins, Say Analysts and Scholars (Harvard Gazette, 11/8/20)

Hard Lessons from a Tough Election (Harvard Gazette, 11/5/20)

In a Close Election, Some Black Americans See a Clear Winner: Racism (Boston Globe, 11/4/20)

Trump’s Nomination of Coney Barrett to SCOTUS Draws Mixed Reviews from Law School Faculty (Harvard Crimson, 9/30/20)

How Amy Coney Barrett Would Reshape the Court — And the Country (Politico, 9/26/20)

Legal Experts Say Supreme Court Ruling on Trump Financial Records Will Have Far-reaching Effect (Boston Globe, 7/9/20)

A Renewed Focus on Slavery (Harvard Gazette, 11/22/19)

Brown-Nagin on Her Own Path and Radcliffe’s (Harvard Gazette, 11/13/19)

Brown-Nagin Named Radcliffe Dean (Harvard Gazette, 4/26/18)

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