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Senior Leadership Insights: A Conversation with Tomiko Brown-Nagin, J.D., Ph.D., Dean of Harvard Radcliffe Institute

Tuesday, February 22, 2022
1:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Event Recording

Event Information

Brown-NaginAs dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, J.D., A.M. '93, Ph.D. '02 (History) leads an interdisciplinary community of scholars, students, practitioners, and artists committed to pursuing curiosity-driven research, expanding human understanding, and grappling with questions that demand insight from across disciplines.

In her leadership role, Dean Brown-Nagin draws on her experience as an award-winning legal historian and an expert in constitutional law and education law and policy. She is the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School and Professor of History at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Brown-Nagin was also appointed chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery in 2019.

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 pathbreaking lawyer, politician, and judge Constance Baker Motley.

Brown-Nagin 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.

She earned a law degree from Yale University, where she served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal; a master’s and Ph.D. in history from Duke University; and a B.A. in history, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Furman University.

Dean Brown-Nagin will be joined in conversation by Dr. Adriane Lentz-Smith, Associate Professor of History and Associate Chair of the Department of History, where she teaches courses on the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives, Modern America, and History in Fact and Fiction. The discussion will focus on six key questions:

  1. Tell us about your background. What was your path to your current role?
  2. Can you tell us about your organization, and describe a typical day
  3. What do you see as the value that doctoral training has added to your professional trajectory?
  4. Beyond strong research skills, what other skills, experience and/or training are important for success in your field?  How does your J.D. enhance your doctoral degree in History?
  5. Are there any skills, training, or experiences you wish you’d had in graduate school to prepare you for your current career path?
  6. What can students who would like to work in this field (or explore it further) do to prepare?

A Zoom link will be shared with confirmed registrants. The Senior Leadership Insights series is sponsored by The Graduate School and this event is offered in collaboration with the Department of History. The conversation is open to Duke faculty, graduate students, postdocs, alumni, and staff. Questions? Contact Dr. Melissa Bostrom, Assistant Dean for Graduate Student Professional Development, at

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Event Category

  • Professional Development
  • Leadership
  • Academic Job Search Series
  • Senior Leadership Insights