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Reginald Robinson

  • Faculty, Law Department


Professor of Law

J.D., 1989, University of Pennslvania

M.A., 1981, University of Chicago

B.A., 1981, Howard University, graduating magna cum laude and phi beta kappa


Beginning 2012, Professor Reginald Leamon Robinson has become an interdisciplinary scholar by venturing into the field of neurobiology, attachment theory, regulatory and dysregulatory issues, interpersonal neurobiology, biosociopsychology, and social psychology, and by looking beyond traditional socio-historical analyses that can only explain why black families remains functionally dysfunctional by defaulting to the premises that first and foremost lay the fault simply and exclusively on white racism or institutional racism. As early as 2000, he began interrogating the methodological limits of Critical Race Theory and asking whether and how blacks created (and co-create) their personal experiences and perceived their social realities that might explain the lack of progress in poor black communities when he published: Race Consciousness: Can Thick, Legal Contextual Analysis Assist Poor, Low-Status Workers Overcome Discriminatory Hurdles in the Fast Food Industry? A Reply to Regina Austin, 34 The John Marshall L. Rev. 245 (2000); Poverty, the Underclass, and the Role of Race Consciousness:  A New Age Critique of Black Wealth/White Wealth and American Apartheid, 34 Ind. L. Rev. 1377 (2001); Human Agency, Negated Subjectivity, and White Structural Oppression:  An Analysis of Critical Race Practice/Praxis, 53 Am. U. L. Rev. 1361 (2004); The Sacred Way of Tibetan CRT Kung Fu: Can Race Crits Teach the Shadow’s Mystical Insight and Help Law Students “Know” White Structural Oppression in the Heart of the First-Year Curriculum?  A Critical Rejoinder to Dorothy A. Brown, 10 Mich. J. of Race & Law 355 (2005); The Word and the Problem of Human Unconsciousness: An Analysis of Charles A. Lawrence’s Meditation on Racism, Oppression, and Empowerment, 40 CONNtemplations (Conn. L. Rev.) 1 (2008) (online publication).   

Beginning in 2000, he began applying Arthur Janov’s psychophysiology, and Alice Miller’s depth psychology/psycho-existentialism, which look and ask if/whether the earliest childhood cruelties like abuse, trauma, and neglect in the earliest years of the infants, toddlers, and children have a neurobiological impact on children and adult children by critiquing and examining, autobiographical, biographical, or other quasi-biographical/literary works. He has made inroads in this kind of legal-social psychological scholarship, viz., Trauma, Creativity, and Unconscious Confessions: The Lost Childhood History Behind L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 20 So. Cal. Interdisciplinary L.J. 145 (2010); Precious:  A Tale of Three Explanations for Childhood Maltreatment, 1 Colum. J. of Race & L. 434 (2012). 

In 2012, he began publishing his Dark Secret, an interdisciplinary series, in which he directly relied on early childhood development, traumatology, attachment theory, social psychology, developmental trauma, developmental neurobiology, and interpersonal neurobiology:  Dark Secrets:  Obedience Training, Rigid Physical Violence, Black Parenting, and Reassessing the Origins of Instability in the Black Family Through a Re-Reading of Fox Butterfield’s All God’s Children, 55 Howard L.J. 393 (2012); Introduction, The State of the Ordinary Family, 55 Howard L.J. 283 (2012); Seen But Not Recognized:  Black Caregivers, Childhood Cruelties, and Social Dislocations in an Increasingly Colored America, 117 W. Va. L. Rev. 1273 (2015); A Dark Secret Too Scandalous to Confront: Did the Moynihan Report Imply that Poor Black Caregivers’ Parenting Styles and Childhood Cruelties were Strongly Correlated with Self-Perpetuating Pathologies?, 8 Geo. J. L. & Mod. Crit. Race Persp. 103 (2016); Searching for the Parental Causes of the School-to-Prison-Pipeline Problem:  A Critical, Conceptual Essay, 32 J. of Civ. Rts & Eco. Deve. 31 (2018); The 1921 Tulsa Killings, Early Childhood Cruelties, & the Impact of the Neurobiology of Aggression and Violence: A Critical Re-Reading of Brophy’s Reconstructing the Dreamland, ___ Law Review/Journal ___ (2023). 

At present (spring 2023), Professor Robinson is currently rewriting for publication: Fearing the Loss of the Black Body: Disclosing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) in his Earliest Years and Revealing the Taboo Subject of the Mother’s/Parent’s Impulse to Traumatically Destroy Her Children: A Critical Re-Reading of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, ___ Law Review/Journal ___ (2023/2024). In May 2021, SSRN rated this unpublished manuscript within its top 10 for downloads—AARN: Psychological Disorders & Psychology in Practice; Law and Neuroscience e-Journal; PsychRN: Child Development; and Developmental Psychology eJournal. 

In his next research and writing project, a book-length manuscript, Professor Robinson will focus on: A Critical Re-Reader. In this project, he will provide a critical, analytical arc for the series of “Re-Reading” articles that he began writing in 2005 when he published The Sacred Way of Tibetan CRT Kung Fu: Can Race Crits Teach the Shadow’s Mystical Insight and Help Law Students “Know” White Structural Oppression in the Heart of the First-Year Curriculum? A Critical Rejoinder to Dorothy A. Brown in the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. 

In sum, Professor Robinson has published 26 articles and given nearly double academic conference presentations. At Howard, he has taught Contracts; Real Property; Legal History; Family Law; Jurisprudence; Critical Race Theory; Law and Social Science; Child, Family & State; The Black Family; Housing Discrimination; Agency, Partnerships, & LLC; Business Organizations, and Corporations. 

From 2007-2008, Professor Robinson, after a national search, served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor in Law and Critical Theory, School of Law & College of Liberal Arts, Southern Illinois University—Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois, where he taught Family Law; Race & Law; Gender, Identity, & Separation Violence; and Law, Culture, & Art (Film), and while there visiting, he wrote and published: The Word and the Problem of Human Unconsciousness:  An Analysis of Charles A. Lawrence’s Meditation on Racism, Oppression, and Empowerment, 40 CONNtemplations (Conn. L. Rev.) 1 (2008) (online publication).  

Professor Robinson received his BA, Political Science/English Literature (Courses for Major), Howard University, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude (1981); MA, Political Science, The University of Chicago (1983); JD, Cum Laude, The University of Pennsylvania (1989). In 1984-1985, he visited at Yale University as an Exchange Scholar in Political Science and Economics.