Politics Faculty

Our core faculty bring a wide range of approaches and disciplinary backgrounds to the study of politics. Graduate students may also benefit from working with our affiliated graduate faculty.

Mark Fathi Massoud
  • Title
    • Associate Professor
    • Politics and Legal Studies
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Politics Department
  • Affiliations Legal Studies
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location 154 Merrill College
  • Office Hours On leave, 2017-2018
  • Mail Stop Merrill Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High St.
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Courses Taught LGST 10 Introduction to Legal Studies (Law, Jurisprudence, and Society); POLI/LGST 160B International Law; POLI/LGST 175 Human Rights; POLI/LGST 190R Comparative Law and Society; POLI 202 Fundamentals of Political Research (Research Design and Qualitative Methods)

Research Interests

Mark Fathi Massoud is Associate Professor in the Politics Department and Legal Studies Program at UC Santa Cruz. His research focuses on law in conflict settings and authoritarian states, and on Islamic law and society. He teaches courses and advises students in the areas of international law, human rights, comparative law, and the politics of law and religion.

Massoud is the author of Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan, which received awards from the Law and Society Association and the American Political Science Association. He is also principal investigator (with Kathleen M. Moore) of Shari'a Revoiced: Documenting American Muslims' Experiences of Islamic Law. Massoud's current book project, a legal history of Somalia and Somaliland, details how states develop and collapse through their political battles against legal pluralism.

Massoud is co-editor (with Rachel Stern and Jens Meierhenrich) of the Cambridge Studies in Law and Society book series. He serves on the edtiorial boards of Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, and the International Journal of Law in Context.

Massoud’s work has been supported by fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Carnegie Corporation, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Princeton University's Program in Law and Public Affairs, and Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Massoud has taught at UC Santa Cruz since 2009.

In 2017-2018, Massoud is a visiting scholar at the Center for Islamic Studies, Graduate Theological Union (Berkeley, Cal.).

Biography, Education and Training

PhD (Jurisprudence and Social Policy), University of California, Berkeley
JD, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
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

• Carnegie Fellowship (2016)
• Guggenheim Fellowship (2015)
• Mellon New Directions Fellowship (2015-18)
• ACLS Fellowship (2015-16)
• Harvard Law School IGLP Santander-Doha Research Grant (2014-15)
UC Humanities Research Institute (2013-15)
UC Center for New Racial Studies (2013-14)
• Hellman Fellows Program (2012-13)

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 Junior Scholars Essay Winner (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


Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan. Cambridge University Press, 2013 (paperback 2014).

"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.
• "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.
"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.
• "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.
• "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.

• "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.
• "Crafting Peace in South Sudan" Foreign Policy Magazine (Middle East Channel), 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 Magazine (Middle East Channel), 2013.
• "New Directions in Comparative Public Law" (symposium lead essay with Leila Kawar), APSA Law & Courts Section Newsletter 22(4): 32-36, 2012.
• "US Has a Stake in Sudan Secession Vote" San Jose Mercury News, 2011.