Mark Fathi Massoud awarded Berlin Prize

professional portrait of Mark Massoud
Professor Mark Fathi Massoud

Mark Fathi Massoud, professor of politics and director of legal studies at UC Santa Cruz, was recently named among 26 Berlin Prize winners for the upcoming academic year. The Berlin Prize is awarded annually to US-based scholars, writers, composers, and artists who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields, from the humanities and social sciences to journalism, public policy, fiction, the visual arts, and music composition. Massoud was named a Berlin Prize Fellow for Spring 2024.

The prize provides recipients with the time and resources to focus on advancing important scholarly and artistic projects. Massoud will focus on perceptions and experiences of shari‘a in the United States. At the Academy, Massoud will be studying the history of religious exclusion in the United States and the ways that Muslims turn to shari‘a, commonly translated as Islamic law, as a guide to ethical living and a source of democratic values.

“This lived experience stands in contrast to the monolithic projection of shari‘a as a threat to Western political liberalism and the rule of law,” Massoud said, adding that more than 200 anti-shari‘a bills have been introduced across the country.

As a Berlin Prize Fellow, Massoud will work throughout the 2024 spring semester with Berlin peers and institutions in the Academy’s network, forging transatlantic relationships. During their stays, fellows engage German audiences through lectures, readings, and performances. The American Academy in Berlin is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit institution of advanced scholarship dedicated to upholding the cultural, academic, and political ties between the United States and Germany.