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

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Awards and Honors
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...
FIPSE-Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education
Undergraduate Experiential Learning Project Funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education FIPSE (2011-2013) Susan F. Hirsch (PI)Agnieszka Paczynska (co-PI)School for Conflict Analysis and...
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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
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
September, 2008
Category: Journal Article
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
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
January 2006
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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The trial of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani has attracted intense interest as a test of the Obama administration’s
Category: Newspaper Article

March 01, 2007
Because Susan Hirsch is a social scientist who has studied abroad, former state Rep. John Dunn wanted her opinion of
Category: Newspaper Article

June 12, 2009
Susan Hirsch, Professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, appearing on
Category: Television Appearances

November 01, 2008
Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) graduate students have been in on the ground floor of the
Category: Newsletter Article

April 26, 2008
In this episode we hear highlights from the ACR Education Section conference Sustaining Conflict Resolution Education
Category: Radio Broadcast

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

April 02, 2008
Susan Hirsch, professor at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, calls for a fair trial for Ahmad
Category: Television Appearances

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

June 09, 2009
Category: Television Appearances

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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The devastation of civilians in contemporary conflicts represents a humanitarian disaster of stunning proportions. The current ratio of military to civilian casualties is approximately one to eight while 90% of wars are civil wars in the new century. Such devastation is systematically embedded
March 27, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009 CONF 812 Student Presentations 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Truland Building, Room 555 Contact: Susan Hirsch,
May 04, 2009
This dissertation starts from an interest in protracted environmental conflict in the United States and takes the stance with respect to environmental conflict (1) that a threat to a resource very quickly becomes experienced as a threat to the ways of life dependent upon that resource, and (2) that
April 26, 2012
Dissertation Defense: Ashad Sentongo Re-imagining Decentralization: Improving of Relationships between Ethnic Groups and the State in Uganda Part 1: Presentation 
June 27, 2013
This study seeks to investigate to what extent international human rights advocates and conflict resolvers are skilled and equipped to deal with situations such as the state-run gender violence which has led to a protracted conflict in a country like Iran. This project aims to first contextualize
July 22, 2010
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
Designing and supporting education systems in post-conflict areas are predominant methods of international development and sustainable conflict resolution practice. However, schools can both combat, and contribute to, conflict as well as influence culture within marginalized communities. This
May 02, 2013
The James Madison University Justice Studies Department presents:Dr Susan HirschProfessor, Institute for Confict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason UniversityAuthor: In the Moment of Greatest Calamity: Terrorism, Grief, and a Victim's Quest for JusticeWinner of the Law & Society
September 29, 2010
Extractive Industries and Human Rights in PeruInstitute for Conflict Analysis and ResolutionGeorge Mason UniversityTruland Building, Arlington campus, Room 555 Tuesday, March 29, 8:00 pm
March 29, 2011
Titlesort icon Event Date
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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Campus Information
Location Name:Arlington
Physical Address:

3434 N. Washington Blvd., 5th Floor Arlington, VA 22201

Mailing Address:

3351 N. Fairfax Drive MSN 4D3 Arlington, VA 22201

Fax Number: 703-993-1302
Phone No: 703-993-1300
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Titlesort icon Semester
Brief history of field, survey of key conflict resolution themes and theories, and intervention methods. Overview includes general factors of...
Capstone course in which students reflect on what they have learned, integrating knowledge from course work and...
Introduces field of conflict analysis and resolution. Examines definitions of conflict and diverse views of its...
Examines major theories of conflict causation and motivation. Emphasizes need for theories to inform processes of conflict resolution. Weaves...
In-depth field study of ongoing conflict situations, and design and delivery of intervention processes to manage or...
Contrasts legal processes and institutions with alternative approaches to dispute resolution. Defines and...
Continuation of steps in research process to prepare dissertation and implement published research. Builds on CONF 811 by examining qualitative...
Analyzes theoretical basis undergirding methods of research in conflict resolution. Explores how theory is built...
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