Susan F. Hirsch

Susan F. Hirsch
Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology

Ph.D., Anthropology, 1990, Duke University
Thesis: Gender and Disputing, Insurgent Voices in Coastal Kenyan Muslim Courts
B.A., Anthropology, 1982, Yale College
Magna cum laude with distinction in Anthropology.


Susan F. Hirsch, a cultural anthropologist, is a Professor in the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University and Chair of S-CAR’s Faculty Board. From 2009 to present, she has been affiliated in Mason’s Women and Gender Studies Program. Professor Hirsch is the Principal Investigator for the Undergraduate Experiential Learning Project funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), 2011-2013. The project aims at linking theory to practice through pedagogical initiatives, such as experiential learning activities and service learning intensive programs. She is also a recepient of the Point of View Working Group Grant that aims at promoting better learning through practice, 2010-2011. Her current major research and book project (with Dr. Frank Dukes) focuses on conceptualizing stakeholders in the conflict over surface mining in Appalachia.

Professor Hirsch’s most recent book, titled In the Moment of Greatest Calamity: Terrorism, Grief and a Victim’s Quest for Justice (Princeton University Press, 2006) is a reflexive ethnography of her experiences of the 1998 East African Embassy bombings and the subsequent trial of four defendants. As a bombings survivor and a widow of a victim, Professor Hirsch began attending the embassy bombings trial in New York City in January, 2001, and over the next six months came to study it as a legal anthropologist. The volume highlights the difficulties experienced by a terror victim who opposes the death penalty yet seeks to participate in a capital trial

C.V. / Resume: Download
Awards and Honors
2015-16 Fulbright Scholar for Malta
Susan F. Hirsch has been named a 2015-16 Fulbright Scholar for Malta, where she will affiliate at the University of Malta Faculty of Law. Her projects are titled: Advancing Sociolegal Studies in...
Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation fellowships
Susan Hirsch served as a member, for the third time, of the Final Selection Committee for the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation fellowships, which support students whose work offers...
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Titlesort icon Semester
Analyzes theoretical basis undergirding methods of research in conflict resolution. Explores how theory is built...
Continuation of steps in research process to prepare dissertation and implement published research. Builds on CONF 811 by examining qualitative...
Contrasts legal processes and institutions with alternative approaches to dispute resolution. Defines and...
In-depth field study of ongoing conflict situations, and design and delivery of intervention processes to manage or...
Examines major theories of conflict causation and motivation. Emphasizes need for theories to inform processes of conflict resolution. Weaves...
Introduces field of conflict analysis and resolution. Examines definitions of conflict and diverse views of its...
Capstone course in which students reflect on what they have learned, integrating knowledge from course work and...
Brief history of field, survey of key conflict resolution themes and theories, and intervention methods. Overview includes general factors of...
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Title Published Date
September 03, 2015
Category: Book Chapter
September 02, 2014
Residents of the Appalachian coalfields share a history and heritage, deep connections to the land, and pride in their own resilience. These same residents are also profoundly divided over the practice of mountaintop mining—that is, the removal and disposal...
Category: Book
March 26, 2012
In Chapter 12, “Civilians under the law: Inequality, universalisms, and intersectionality as intervention,” Susan F. Hirsch examines the tacit assumptions underpinning the category of civilians in war as constructed by the architects of international...
Category: Book Chapter
The expansion of international law to address war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide has meant that law is increasingly an available form of intervention in conflict and post-conflict situations. Some of the new legal instruments, such as the...
Category: Book Chapter
When I visited Kenya in August 2008 many people expressed their high hopes for Barack Obama in the upcoming election and for close U.S./Kenyan relations afterwards. But they also spoke about their fears. Many were convinced that Obama could be attacked or killed...
Category: Papers & Reports
On August 7, 1998, bombs exploded at two United States embassies in East Africa. American anthropologist Susan Hirsch and her husband Jamal, a Kenyan, were among the thousands of victims, and Jamal died. From there, Hirsch went on to face devastating grief with...
Category: Book
September, 2008
Category: Journal Article
January 2006
Category: Journal Article
January 01, 2003
Campaigns against domestic violence and projects designed to reform laws are increasingly part of the development initiatives undertaken in African nations. Such projects are subject to standard criticisms of development (e. g., its tendency to enhance the power...
Category: Journal Article
August 01, 2001
Susan Hirsch offers a much needed ethnographic rather than text-based view of gender and a Muslim legal-ethical system. Her interesting book on the gendered nature of Muslim legal disputes in the Kenyan cities of Mombasa and Malindi opens with the familiar claim...
Category: Journal Article
March 01, 2000
The take-home message of Conley and O'Barr's volume is quite the opposite of one interpretation of the title. Far from being "'just words." legal discourse is speech that matters; it has consequences for the professionals and laypeople who produce it....
Category: Journal Article
August 15, 1998
Based on field research and court testimony, Hirsch's book debunks the conventional view that women are powerless under Islamic law and challenges the dichotomies through which Islam and gender relations are currently understood.
Category: Book
July 18, 1994
Contested States explores how men and women invoke law in their struggles to resist gender, racial, ethnic, religious and class-based domination. The essays in this collection vividly demonstrate people's capacity to rework the content, meaning and processes of...
Category: Book
This article compares U. S. and Kenyan media representations of an incident at a Kenyan boarding school during which many young women were raped and several killed by their male schoolmates. The author's analysis of print media accounts reveals that how the press...
Category: Journal Article
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Title Published Date
January 16, 2016
The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society hosts a public lecture by Professor Susan Hirsch 
Category: Newspaper Article

January 13, 2016
Whether our differences concern gender, race, class, political party, or views on a contested issue, many people
Category: Newspaper Article

April 21, 2014
On February 22 and 23, 2014, the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution welcomed 33 participants from ten national
Category: Newsletter Article

February 21, 2014
Originally published in “Notes of Excellence” newsletter, issue 012 – February 2014.Susan Hirsch and
Category: Newspaper Article

January 25, 2011
Before Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 1998 bombings of two US
Category: Newspaper Article

The verdict in the first federal trial of a former Guantánamo detainee has unleashed the usual chest-thumping and fear-
Category: Newspaper Article

The trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani has attracted intense interest as a test of the Obama administration’s
Category: Newspaper Article

October 04, 2010
The current case against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani could have been bolstered in 2007 when the F.B.I. came to visit him at
Category: Newspaper Article

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October 03, 2010
Susan Hirsch, Professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University speaks on CBS
Category: Television Appearances

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November 5, 2009
Professor Susan Hirsch was quoted on the floor of the US Senate by Senator Richard Durbin during a debate on an 
Category: Television Appearances

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Title Event Datesort icon
Strong Language: Negotiating Deep Differences While Promoting PeaceA Public Lecture by Dr. Susan F. Hirschat San Anton Palace on the 15th Jan at 17:30Sponsored by the President's Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society Whether our differences concern gende
January 15, 2016
Dissertation Proposal Defense: Julie Minde “Impact of Perceptions of Map and Mapping Legitimacy on Conflict Resolution Efforts”December 2, 201510:00am – 12:00pm Metropolitan Building, Room 5145School for Conflict Analysis and ResolutionArlington Campus Committee:Dr
December 02, 2015
Dissertation Defense: Gina CerasaniMoments of Connection: Cultivating Empathy Between Parties in Conflict Using Role-PlayMonday, Nov. 2nd12:30pm - 2:30pmMetropolitan Building 5183 Committee Members Prof. Susan Hirsch (chair)Prof. Solon SimmonsProf. Kimberly Eby<
November 02, 2015
Dissertation Proposal Defense - Dhirendra Nalbo Sociopolitical Dimensions of Natural Resources in Peacebuilding:A Study of Kachin Conflict in MyanmarMonday, Aug. 31st10:00am - 11:30am Conference Room 5145Dissertation Committee:Dr. Susan F. Hirsch (Chair)Dr. Terrence LyonsDr. John DaleThis
August 31, 2015
Dissertation Proposal Defense: Caroline Sarkis The International Criminal Court and the Trust Fund for Victims as agents of Peace: Analysis of the Court's Engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo Friday, August 21st 10:00am - 12:00pmConference Room 5145 Committee:Susan
August 21, 2015
Dissertation Proposal Defense - Alex CromwellStimulating Change for Building a Culture of Peace: The Long-Term Effects of the Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute with South and Central AsiaMonday, June 15th 1:00pm -3:00pmConferenc Room 5145 Committee Members:Prof. Susan Hirsch (chair)Prof
June 15, 2015
Dissertation Defense: Kathy CreweInterpretation Of A Decision: A Social-Interactive Discourse Analysis Of The Public Debate Behind Decision-Making Of The United Nations And African Union In Darfur And Implications For Future ResponsesApril 16th11:00am - 1:00pmConference Room 5183Prof. Sara Cobb (
April 16, 2015
Mountaintop Mining in Appalachia:Understanding Stakeholders and Change in Environmental ConflictDr. Susan Hirsch, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology and former Director of the Undergraduate Program, will be speaking from her new book
February 10, 2015
Dissertation Defense: Suliman A Giddo - The Voices Of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) And The Effectiveness Of The Peacekeeping Forces In DarfurMonday, Dec. 1st2:00pm - 4:00pm Conference Room. 5183 Abstract: Internal Displaced Persons bear the greatest burden of suffering in the
December 01, 2014
Join the S-CAR Undergraduate Program for the CONF 490 Research Showcase.  Students will be presenting individual research projects for the undergraduate capstone course.Student Union I, Patriot's Lounge (Atrium), Fairfax Campus10:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.Click Below For Showcase Program:/sites/
December 03, 2013
Title Event Datesort icon
Many scholar-practitioners have studied gender mainstreaming as a policy tool to help achieve gender equality, but their work does not consider how the related gender equality change and its implementation impact men at a socio-psychological level in male-dominated societies. The impact of such a
April 11, 2012
The Virginia Law Foundation and Virginia Holocaust Museum hosted The Law Day 2010 Conference on Civil Discourse. One of the presenters is Susan F. Hirsch, Ph.D., Legal Anthropologist Professor, and Director, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University.
April 30, 2010
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3351 N. Fairfax Drive MSN 4D3 Arlington, VA 22201

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