SOAS University of London

Centre for Human Rights Law

Book Launch: Law’s Fragile State: Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan

Dr. Mark Fathi Massoud, University of California, Santa Cruz

Date: 4 June 2014Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 4 June 2014Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: B102

Type of Event: Book Launch

Chair: Dr. Lutz Oette, SOAS
All welcome

Further information about book and author:


How do a legal order and the rule of law develop in a war-torn state? Using his field research in Sudan, Massoud uncovers how colonial administrators, postcolonial governments, and international aid agencies have used legal tools and practices to promote stability and their own visions of the rule of law amid political violence and war in Sudan. Refuting the conventional wisdom of a legal vacuum in fragile states, the book offers a thoughtful and readable account of the important ways that law matters in even the most extreme cases of states still fighting for political stability. Law's Fragile State helps scholars, students, policymakers, and the interested public to make sense of Sudan and what law does, and what it fails to do, in the world's most desperate environments. Law's Fragile State Colonial, Authoritarian, and Humanitarian Legacies in Sudan.


Mark Fathi Massoud is Assistant Professor in the Politics Department and Legal Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research focuses on law in conflict settings and authoritarian states, and on Islamic law and society. He has received the Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob Prize (best book in law and society), Dissertation Prize, Graduate Student Paper Prize, and 50th Anniversary Junior Scholars Essay Award. He also received the the American Political Science Association C. Herman Pritchett Book Prize (Honorable Mention) and the Edward S. Corwin Award for the bestdissertation in public law. Massoud spent 15 months in Sudan researching this book.

Book review by Lutz Oette, Journal of African Law, Vol. 58, Issue 1, April 2014, pp. 175-178.