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Guy-Uriel Charles

Charles Ogletree, Jr. Professor of Law

Faculty Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice

Guy-Uriel Charles
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Guy-Uriel E. Charles is the Charles J. Ogletree Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School where he also directs the Charles Hamilton Institute for Race and Justice.  He writes about how law mediates political power and how law addresses racial subordination. He teaches courses on civil procedure; election law; constitutional law; race and law; critical race theory; legislation and statutory interpretation; law, economics, and politics; and law, identity, and politics. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the American Law Institute. He was appointed by President Joseph Biden to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. He is currently working on a book, with Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, on the past and future of voting rights, under contract with Cambridge University Press, which argues that the race-based model that underlies the Voting Rights Act has run its course and that the best way to protect against racial discrimination in voting is through a universal, positive rights model of political participation.  He is also co-editing, with Aziza Ahmed, a handbook entitled Race, Racism, and the Law, under contract with Edward Elgar Publishing.  This book will survey the current state of research on race and the law in the United States and aims to influence the intellectual agenda of the field.

His academic articles have appeared in Constitutional Commentary, The Michigan Law Review, The Michigan Journal of Race and Law, The Georgetown Law Journal, The Journal of Politics, The California Law Review, The North Carolina Law Review, and others. He is co-author of Election Law in The American Political System (with James Gardner) and Racial Justice & Law: Cases And Materials (with Ralph Richard Banks, Kim Forde-Mazrui and Cristina Rodriguez). He is co-editor of The New Black: What Has Changed And What Has Not With Race In America (with Kenneth Mack) and Race, Reform, And Regulation Of The Electoral Process: Recurring Puzzles In American Democracy (with Heather Gerken and Michael Kang).His public writings have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Time, Time, The Atlantic, Slate, among many venues.  He has delivered distinguished lectures at various universities including University of California, Davis Law School, University of Richmond Law School, University of Oregon Law School, William and Mary Law School. 

Professor Charles received his JD from the University of Michigan Law School and clerked for The Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While at the University of Michigan, he was one of the founders and the first editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. From 1995-2000, he was a graduate student in political science at the University of Michigan.

Before teaching at Harvard, he taught at Duke Law School and at the University of Minnesota Law School.  He also served as interim co-dean at the University of Minnesota from 2006-2008. He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown, Virginia, and Columbia law schools. He was a past member of the National Research Commission on Elections and Voting and the Century Foundation Working Group on Election Reform. In 2006, he was awarded the distinguished teaching award at the University of Minnesota Law School. In 2016, he was awarded the distinguished teaching award at Duke Law School.