Politics Faculty

Mark Fathi Massoud
  • Title
    • Director of Legal Studies, Associate Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Affiliations Legal Studies
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Merrill College Academic Building, 154
    • 154 Merrill College
  • Office Hours Weds. 1:00-2:30p individual meetings + 2:30-3:00p dicta (short walk with students). Sign up at tinyurl.com/Massoud-2020S
  • Mail Stop Merrill/Crown Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High St.
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Law and Policy, Human Rights, Islamic Studies, International and Global Affairs
  • Courses LGST 10 Introduction to Legal Studies (Law, Jurisprudence, and Society); POLI/LGST 160B International Law; POLI/LGST 175 Human Rights; POLI 190R Comparative Law and Society; POLI 202 Fundamentals of Political Research (Research Design and Qualitative Methods)

Research Interests

Mark Fathi Massoud is an associate professor and director of legal studies at UC Santa Cruz. Massoud teaches courses and advises students in international law, human rights, comparative law, research methods, and the politics of law and religion. He is affiliated faculty with the UC Santa Cruz Center for the Middle East and North Africa.

‚Ä®Massoud has been awarded Guggenheim, Carnegie, ACLS, and Mellon New Directions fellowships. He has been a visiting fellow at Princeton (Program in Law and Public Affairs), Stanford (Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law), and Oxford (Nuffield College and Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies). He is co-editor of the Cambridge Studies in Law and Society book series. He serves on editorial boards of Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, Law & Policy, and the International Journal of Law in Context, and on the Board of Trustees of the Law and Society Association.

‚Ä®Massoud’s research addresses the interplay between law, religion, and politics. His second book, Shari'a, Inshallah: Law and Faith in Somali History (under contract, Cambridge University Press), explains the endurance of Islamic law in state development. His first book, Law's Fragile State, investigates the importance of law in colonial and authoritarian politics in Sudan. Law's Fragile State received the Herbert Jacob Prize from the Law and Society Association and Honorable Mention for the Pritchett Award from the American Political Science Association. Massoud is also principal investigator (with Kathleen M. Moore) of Shari'a Revoiced: Documenting American Muslims' Experiences of Islamic Law. Born in Sudan and raised in California, Massoud is a first-generation university graduate. He will deliver the Evans-Pritchard Lectures at Oxford University in 2021.



Biography, Education and Training

PhD (Jurisprudence and Social Policy), UC Berkeley
JD, UC Berkeley
MA, University of Notre Dame, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
BA, University of Notre Dame

Admitted to practice law, State Bar of California

Honors, Awards and Grants

• Guggenheim Fellowship
• Carnegie Fellowship
• Visiting Fellow, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Nuffield College
• ACLS Fellowship
• Law and Public Affairs Fellow, Princeton
• Harvard Law/IGLP Santander-Doha Research Grant
• UC Humanities Research Institute/Luce Foundation
• UC Center for New Racial Studies
• Hellman Fellows Program, UC Santa Cruz
• Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
• Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellowship

• Evans-Pritchard Lectures, All Souls College, Oxford, 2021, invited
Noel Q. King Memorial Lecture, UC Santa Cruz, 2018
• Friedman-Lowenthal Essay Prize, Graduate Theological Union, 2018
• Mohannad Malas Distinguished Lecture, UC Irvine School of Law, 2017
Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob Book Prize, 2014
Honorable Mention, American Political Science Association Pritchett Award for best book on law and courts, 2014
• Law and Society Association 50th Anniversary Essay Award, 2014
• Canadian Association of Law Teachers Scholarly Paper Award, 2012
• American Political Science Association Corwin Award for best dissertation in public law, 2009
• Law and Society Association Dissertation Prize, 2009

Selected Publications

Shari'a, Inshallah: Building Peace and the Rule of Law in Somalia's Islamic States. Cambridge University Press, under contract.
Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan. Cambridge University Press, 2013 (paperback 2014).

Shari'a Consciousness: Law and Lived Religion among California Muslims, Law & Social Inquiry, 2020 in press (with Kathleen M. Moore).
• Sudan's Rule of Law Revolution, Current History, 2020 in press.
Theology of the Rule of Law, Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 11(2-3): 485-491, 2019.
Islamic Law, Colonialism, and Mecca's Shadow in the Horn of Africa, Journal of Africana Religions 7(1): 121-130, 2019.
How an Islamic State Rejected Islamic Law, American Journal of Comparative Law 66(3): 579-602, 2018.
Reflections on the Future of Global Legal Studies, Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 25(2): 569-581, 2018.
Field Research on Law in Conflict Zones and Authoritarian States, Annual Review of Law and Social Science 12: 85-106, 2016.
Ideals and Practices in the Rule of Law: An Essay on Legal Politics, Law & Social Inquiry 41(2): 489-501, 2016.
Rethinking Shari'a: Voices of Islam in California, Boom: A Journal of California 5(4): 94-99, 2015 (with Kathleen M. Moore)
Work Rules: How International NGOs Build Law in War-Torn Societies, Law & Society Review 49(2): 333-364, 2015.
• International Arbitration and Judicial Politics in Authoritarian States, Law & Social Inquiry 39(1): 1-30, 2014.
• Legal Poverty and the Rule of Law in Strife-Torn States, Whittier Law Review 34(2): 245-259, 2013.
• Do Victims of War Need International Law? Human Rights Education Programs in Authoritarian Sudan, Law & Society Review 45(1): 1-32, 2011.
• The Influence of International Law on Local Social Movements, Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research 31(1): 3-32, 2006.
• Rights in a Failed State: Internally Displaced Women in Sudan and Their Lawyers, Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice 21: 2-12, 2006.

Landscapes of Law in War-Torn Societies, in Landscapes of Law: Practicing Sovereignty in Transnational Terrian, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020 in press.
The Legal Profession's Promise of Justice: Choices and Challenges in Legal and Socio-Legal Work, in The Legal Process and the Promise of Justice: Studies Inspired by the Work of Malcolm Feeley, Cambridge University Press, 2019.
The Politics of Islamic Law and Human Rights: Sudan's Rival Legal Systems, in The New Legal Realism, Volume Two: Studying Law Globally, Cambridge University Press, 2016.
• Lawyers and the Disintegration of the Legal Complex in Sudan, in Fates of Political Liberalism in the British Post-Colony: The Politics of the Legal Complex, Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Don't blame Sharia for Islamic extremism -- blame colonialism. The Conversation, 2019 (republished in San Francisco Chronicle, AP News, Houston Chronicle, and other outlets).
• Is the South Sudan Power-Sharing Deal Bound to Fail? The Africa Report, 2018.
UCSC Student Housing Plan Falls Short Santa Cruz Sentinel, 2018. 
Forget an Escape to Canada — Look to the south San Francisco Chronicle, 2017.
Three Important Points to Help in Understanding South Sudan's Worsening Crisis The Washington Post (Monkey Cage), 2016.
How Can Universities Deal With Racism? Learn from War Zones. The Washington Post (Monkey Cage), 2015.
• Can Sudan Survive Another Term of Bashir's Rule? The Africa Report, 2015.
Crafting Peace in South Sudan Foreign Policy, 2014.
• Preventing Civil War in South Sudan: Christian Leaders Should Resume Activism The New York Times (Room for Debate), 2014.
• How Grassroots Peace Can Take Hold in South Sudan Christian Science Monitor, 2014.
• Sudan's Struggle for Peace Foreign Policy, 2013.
• US Has a Stake in Sudan Secession Vote San Jose Mercury News, 2011.
• Returning the Rule of Law to Sudan San Francisco Chronicle, 2005.