Sally Engle Merry, Ph.D.

Senior Scholar

Sally Engle Merry is a Silver Professor of Anthropology and of Law and Society at New York University. Her work explores the role of law in urban life in the US, in the colonizing process, and in contemporary transnationalism. She is currently doing a comparative, transnational study of human rights and gender. She was previously on the faculty of Wellesley College, where she was the Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas and Professor of Anthropology.

Her recent books are Colonizing Hawai’i: The Cultural Power of Law (Princeton Univ. Press, 2000), which received the 2001 J. Willard Hurst Prize from the Law and Society Association, Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law into Local Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2006), and The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law between the Local and the Global,  (co-edited with Mark Goodale; Cambridge University Press, 2007). She has authored or edited four other  books: Law and Empire in the Pacific: Hawai’i and Fiji (co-edited with Donald Brenneis, School of American Research Press, 2004), The Possibility of Popular Justice: A Case Study of American Community Mediation (co-edited with Neal Milner, Univ. of Michigan Press, 1993), Getting Justice and Getting Even: Legal Consciousness among Working Class Americans (University of Chicago Press, 1990), and Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers (Temple University Press, 1981). She has recently published articles on women's human rights, violence against women, and the process of localizing human rights. She is past-president of the Law and Society Association and the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology and currently a member of the Executive Boards of the American Anthropological Association and the Law and Society Association. In 2007 she received the Kalven Prize for scholarly contributions from the Law and Society Association. Dr. Merry received her B.A. from Wellesley College in 1966, her M.A. from Yale University in 1967, and her Ph.D. from Brandeis University in 1978.