“No study of this magnitude has been attempted before.... The evidence collected flatly refutes many of the misimpressions of affirmative-action opponents.”—New York Times
The Shape of the River
Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions Twentieth Anniversary Edition
William G. Bowen and Derek Bok
With a new foreword by Nicholas Lemann and an afterword by Derek Bok
First published in 1998, William Bowen and Derek Bok’s The Shape of the River became an immediate landmark in the debate over affirmative action in America. It grounded a contentious subject in concrete data at a time when arguments surrounding it were characterized more by emotion than evidence—and it made a forceful case that race-conscious admissions were successfully helping to promote equal opportunity. Today, the issue of affirmative action remains unsettled. Much has changed, but The Shape of the River continues to present the most compelling data available about the effects of affirmative action. Now with a new foreword by Nicholas Lemann and an afterword by Derek Bok, The Shape of the River is an essential text for anyone seeking to understand race-conscious admissions in higher education.
William G. Bowen (1933–2016) was president emeritus of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Princeton University and founding chairman of JSTOR and ITHAKA. Derek Bok is the 300th Anniversary University Research Professor, professor of law, and president emeritus of Harvard University.