Kahn07.01.19 — Today, Jonathan Kahn, a leading authority on biotechnology’s implications for our ideas of identity, rights and citizenship, with a particular focus on race and justice, joins Northeastern University as Professor of Law and Biology. Professor Kahn holds a joint appointment with the School of Law and the Department of Biology in the College of Science. He will also play a key role in the law school’s Center for Health Policy and Law.

“We are very pleased to welcome Jonathan Kahn to our faculty. His insights on race and the policy ramifications of biotechnology are truly profound and are a welcome addition to our top-rated health law program,” said Dean James Hackney.

In this most recent book, Race on the Brain: What Implicit Bias Gets Wrong About the Struggle for Racial Justice (Columbia University Press), Professor Kahn argues that implicit bias has grown into a master narrative of race relations — one with profound, if unintended, negative consequences for law, science and society. He emphasizes its limitations, arguing that while useful as a tool to understand particular types of behavior, it is only one among several tools available to policy makers. “A pivotal work of detailed, meticulous, groundbreaking scholarship, Race on the Brain: What Implicit Bias Gets Wrong About the Struggle for Racial Justice is an extraordinarily well written, organized and presented study to the intractable work of ensuring social justice,” according to The Midwest Book Review.

In his second book, Race in a Bottle: The Story of BiDil and Racialized Medicine in a Post-Genomic Age (Columbia University Press), Professor Kahn examines the legal and commercial imperatives driving the expanding role of race in biomedicine, even as scientific advances in genomics could render the issue irrelevant. Professor Patricia Williams, who also joins the Northeastern University faculty today, has called Kahn, “the undisputed Hercules Poirot of biomedicine” and the book, “… a brilliant deconstruction of the kinds of thought processes that make for bad policy, bad medicine, and ultimately endanger our health as a species.” The book was awarded an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Best Book Award by the Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. His first book, Budgeting Democracy: State-Building and Citizenship in America, 1890-1928, was published by Cornell University Press.

Professor Kahn has received two grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute’s (NHGRI) Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Research Program to support projects exploring the ethical and legal ramifications of the increasing use of racial and ethnic categories in the context of gene patenting and drug development. His articles have been published in a wide array of leading journals, ranging from the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, Iowa Law Review and the Stanford Law & Policy Review to Health Affairs, The American Journal of Bioethics, the American Journal of Public Health, Science and Nature Genetics.

Professor Kahn previously served as the James E. Kelley Chair in Tort Law at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. He earned his BA from Yale University, magna cum laude; his JD from Berkeley Law; and his PhD in history from Cornell University.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.