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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, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and member of the history department at 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, and a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. A frequent lecturer and media commentator about issues in law, history and higher education, 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. Her 2011 book,Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford), won six awards, including the Bancroft Prize in U.S. History. In her latest book, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality (Pantheon, 2022), Brown-Nagin explores the life and times of Constance Baker Motley, the pathbreaking lawyer, politician, and judge. 

In 2019, Brown-Nagin was appointed chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, which is anchored at the Radcliffe Institute. Brown-Nagin has previously served as faculty director of Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute and as codirector of Harvard Law School’s law and history program, among other leadership roles. 

She earned a law degree from Yale University, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal; a doctorate in history from Duke University; and a BA in history, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Furman University.

For an overview of Dean Brown-Nagin’s work, see “Both Sides Now,” a recent profile by Harvard Magazine

Brown-Nagin held the 2016–2017 Joy Foundation Fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and became dean of the Institute on July 1, 2018. 

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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