Martha Minow is the 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard and has taught at Harvard Law School since 1981, where she served as dean between 2009-2017. An expert in human rights and advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities and for women, children, and persons with disabilities, she also writes and teaches about media regulation, privatization, and ethnic and religious conflict. She has taught with Cynthia Dwork a course on Fairness and Privacy: Perspectives from Law and Probability and other courses on regulating digital resources and media.
Besides her many scholarly articles published in journals of law, history, and philosophy, her books include Saving the News: Why The Constitution Calls for Government Action to Preserve Freedom of Speech (2021); When Should Law Forgive? (2019); The First Global Prosecutor: Promise and Constraints (co-edited, 2015); In Brown’s Wake: Legacies of America’s Constitutional Landmark (2010); Government by Contract (co-edited, 2009); Just Schools: Pursuing Equality in Societies of Difference (co-edited, 2008); Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing History After Genocide and Mass Violence (1998); Not Only for Myself: Identity, Politics and Law (1997); Law Stories (co-edited 1996); and Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law (1990).
She currently serves on the board of GBH public media and previously served as a board member of the CBS Corporation. She also has served as the Vice-Chair of the Legal Services Corporation, the bi-partisan, government-sponsored organization that provides civil legal assistance to low-income Americans; as a commissioner for the Center for Strategic and Internal Studies Commission on Countering Violent Extremism; and and as a commissioner on the Independent International Commission Kosovo. She helped to launch Imagine Co-existence, a program of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to promote peaceful development in post-conflict societies. With advice from BKC experts, her five-year partnership with the federal Department of Education and the Center for Applied Special Technology worked to increase access to the curriculum for students with disabilities and resulted in both legislative initiatives and a voluntary national standard opening access to curricular materials for individuals with disabilities. Other prior work with the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Iranian Human Rights Documentation Center, and Facing History and Ourselves helped draw her interest in digital tools.
She currently is a member of the boards of the Advantage Testing Foundation, the Campaign Legal Center the Carnegie Corporation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the SCE Foundation. She is a member of the American Academy of Sciences Committee on Science, Technology, and Law. She co-chairs the advisory board of MIT’s new Schwarzman College of Computing. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences since 1992, Minow has also been a senior fellow of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, a member of Harvard University Press Board of Syndics, a senior fellow and acting director of what is now Harvard’s Safra Foundation Center on Ethics, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation and a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society. She has delivered more than 70 named or endowed lectures and keynote addresses.
After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Minow received a master’s degree in education from Harvard and her law degree from Yale. She clerked for Judge David Bazelon of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States. She joined the Harvard Law faculty as an assistant professor in 1981, was promoted to professor in 1986, was named the William Henry Bloomberg Professor of Law in 2003, became the Jeremiah Smith Jr., Professor of Law in 2005, and after her service as dean, became the Carter Professor Of General Jurisprudence in 2017. She is also a lecturer in the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University. Her husband, Joseph W. Singer, is the Bussey Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and their daughter, Mira Singer, is a writer and artist. Minow enjoys watching and discussing movies and keeping in touch with current and former students.