Politics Faculty

Mark Fathi Massoud
  • Title
    • Director of Legal Studies, Associate Professor of Politics & Legal Studies
  • 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 + 2:35-3:05p dicta (short walk with students). Sign up at tinyurl.com/Massoud2019F
  • 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 Associate Professor of Politics and Legal Studies at UC Santa Cruz. He directs the Legal Studies Program, a law and society research unit and undergraduate major drawing from the social sciences, humanities, and arts. Massoud teaches courses and advises students in international law, human rights, comparative law, research methods, and the politics of law and religion.

‚Ä®Massoud has been awarded Guggenheim, Carnegie, ACLS, and Mellon New Directions fellowships. He has been a visiting fellow of Stanford University's Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Princeton University's Program in Law and Public Affairs, and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and Nuffield College, Oxford University. He is co-editor of the Cambridge Studies in Law and Society book series. He serves on the editorial boards of Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, Law & Policy, and the International Journal of Law in Context, and he is 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: Building Peace and the Rule of Law in Somalia's Islamic States (under contract, Cambridge University Press), explains the endurance of Islamic law in state development. Massoud's first book, Law's Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan, investigates the multiple roles and uses of law in Sudan's colonial and postcolonial history. Law's Fragile State received the Herbert Jacob Prize from the Law and Society Association and an 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 holds a JD and PhD from UC Berkeley.



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; Mellon New Directions Fellowship; ACLS Fellowship; Harvard Law/IGLP Santander-Doha Research Grant; UC Humanities Research Institute; UC Center for New Racial Studies; Hellman Fellows Program

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).

• "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.
• “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.
• “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.
• "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.

• "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 (No. 104, p. 8), 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 (No. 69, p. 8), 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.
• "US Has a Stake in Sudan Secession Vote" San Jose Mercury News, 2011.
• "Returning the Rule of Law to Sudan" San Francisco Chronicle, 2005.