Ph.D. University of Washington, Department of Political Science
B.A. University of California, San Diego, Department of Political Science
Areas of Specialization
- Law and society
- Law and religion
- Politics of the Middle East
Tamir Moustafa is Professor of International Studies and Stephen Jarislowsky Chair. His research interests include law and society, religion and politics, and state-society relations, with a focus on Egypt and Malaysia.
Moustafa’s first major project focused on the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, and the politics of courts in authoritarian regimes more generally. This culminated in the publication of The Struggle for Constitutional Power: Law, Politics, and Economic Development in Egypt (Cambridge University Press) and Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (Cambridge University Press, edited with Tom Ginsburg).
His current research explores the public debates that are generated as a result of dual constitutional commitments to Islamic law and liberal rights in Egypt and Malaysia. In both countries, constitutional provisions enshrining Islamic law and liberal rights lay the seeds for legal friction, and courtrooms serve as important sites of contention between groups with competing visions for their states and societies. The project explores how litigation provokes and shapes competing conceptions of national and religious identity, resolves or exacerbates contending visions of Islamic law, and ultimately bolsters or undermines public perceptions of government legitimacy.
Moustafa’s research has been funded through the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). He has held visiting fellowships at UC Berkeley, Princeton University, and Harvard Law School and was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2007 for his work on Islamic law and liberal rights.
Constituting Religion: Islam, Liberal Rights, and the Malaysian State (Cambridge University Press, 2018) Open Access
Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (Cambridge University Press, 2008) co-edited with Tom Ginsburg
The Struggle for Constitutional Power: Law, Politics, and Economic Development in Egypt (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
"Political Science at the NSF: The Politics of Knowledge Production" PS: Political Science and Politics, vol. 55 (2022): 335-340.
"Islamic Law, Society, and the State" Law & Society Review, vol. 52 (2018) 560-573 (with Jeffrey Sachs).
"The Judicialization of Religion" Law & Society Review, vol. 52 (2018) 685-708.
"Is the Rule of Law an Antidote for Religious Tension? The Promise and Peril of Judicializing Religious Freedom" American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 60 (2016) 966-986 (with Benjamin Schonthal, Matthew Nelson, and Shylashri Shankar).
"Law and Courts in Authoritarian Regimes" Annual Review of Law and Social Science, vol. 10 (2014) 281-299.
"Judging in God's Name: State Power, Secularism, and the Politics of Islamic law in Malaysia" Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, vol. 3 (2014).
"Liberal Rights versus Islamic Law? The Construction of a Binary in Malaysian Politics" Law & Society Review, vol. 47 (2013) 771-802.
"Islamic Law, Women’s Rights, and Popular Legal Consciousness in Malaysia" Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 38 (2013) 168-188.
"Law in the Egyptian Revolt" Middle East Law and Governance, vol. 3 (2011), 181-191.
"The Islamist Trend in Egyptian Law" Politics and Religion, vol. 3 (2010), 610-630.
"Law versus the State: The Judicialization of Politics in Egypt" Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 28 (2003), 883-930.
"Conflict and Cooperation between the State and Religious Institutions in Contemporary Egypt" International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 32 (2000), 3-22.
Please see CV for a full list of publications.
Honours and Awards
- Lasting Contribution Award, American Political Science Association (Law & Courts Section), for The Struggle for Constitutional Power.
- Shortlisted, Hart/Socio-Legal Studies Association Book Prize for Constituting Religion.
- Honorable Mention, Asian Law and Society Association Book Award for Constituting Religion.
- Journal Article Award, American Political Science Association (Law & Courts Section), for “Islamic Law, Women’s Rights, and Popular Legal Consciousness in Malaysia,” Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 38 (2013) 168-188.
- Choice Outstanding Title for The Struggle for Constitutional Power.
- Edward S. Corwin Award for the best dissertation in the field of public law, American Political Science Association.
- Doctoral Dissertation Award, Western Political Science Association.
- Honorable mention, Malcolm Kerr Dissertation Award, Middle East Studies Association.
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant, 2012-2015
- Carnegie Scholar, 2007-2011
- National Science Foundation, Law and Social Sciences Program, 2000-2001
- Social Science Research Council Dissertation Fieldwork Fellowship, 2000-2001
- American Research Center in Egypt Dissertation Fieldwork Fellowship, 2000-2001
- Fulbright Scholar, Cairo, Egypt, 1997-98
- Harvard Law School, 2011-2012
- Princeton University, Law and Public Affairs Fellow, 2005-2006
- UC Berkeley, Institute for International Studies Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2002-2003