Mark Fathi Massoud
Professor · Director of Legal Studies
Mark Fathi Massoud is professor of politics and director of legal studies at UC Santa Cruz, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford. In Fall 2023, Massoud was a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. He is currently a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.
Massoud studies how people build and destroy nations, and why and how they create legal systems. His primary methods include historical and archival research, ethnographic fieldwork, and interviews. He is the author of two books garnering nine awards. Shari’a, Inshallah investigates how activists and officials use religion to build law and national identity in Somalia and Somaliland. Law’s Fragile State shows how colonial officials, authoritarian regimes, and international lawyers use the rule of law to govern Sudan. Massoud is also co-editor of Out of Place: Fieldwork and Positionality in Law and Society, and co-PI of Shari’a Revoiced, a study of sharia, law, and ethics in the United States.
⭐ WINNER, CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title
⭐ WINNER, DISTINGUISHED BOOK AWARD, Sociology of Religion, American Sociological Association
⭐ WINNER, RALPH J. BUNCHE AWARD, American Political Science Association
⭐ WINNER, HART SLSA BOOK PRIZE, Socio-Legal Studies Association
⭐ WINNER, RELIGION AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS BOOK AWARD, International Studies Association
⭐ WINNER, BKFS PRIZE for best book in Middle East Studies
⭐ FINALIST, PROSE AWARD for best book in government and politics, Association of American Publishers
Western analysts have long denigrated Islamic states as antagonistic, even antithetical, to the rule of law. Mark Fathi Massoud tells a different story: for nearly 150 years, the Somali people have embraced shari’a, commonly translated as Islamic law, in the struggle for national identity and human rights. Massoud upends the conventional account of secular legal progress and demonstrates instead how faith in a higher power guides people toward the rule of law.
Book trailer by Erick Msumanje
Born in Sudan and raised in California, Massoud is a first-generation university graduate educated at Notre Dame (BA/MA) and Berkeley (JD/PhD). He has held Carnegie, Guggenheim, and Mellon Foundation fellowships, and visiting positions at Oxford, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale. He has given the Reza Banakar Memorial Lecture in Sweden and the Evans-Pritchard Lectures at All Souls College, Oxford.
Mark Fathi Massoud (he/هو)
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