George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Susan F. Hirsch

Vernon M. and Minnie I. Lynch Chair of Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology

Contact Information MORE LESS

  • 703-993-9407 (office)
  • Arlington: Vernon Smith Hall, 5100
    3351 North Fairfax Drive, MS 4D3
    Arlington, VA 22201

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Susan F. Hirsch, a cultural anthropologist, is the Vernon M. and Minnie I. Lynch Chair in the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia (USA) and also professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology. Her scholarship focuses on law in relation to conflict; international and transitional justice; legal integration and religious minorities; environmental justice; feminist approaches to law and conflict, experiential learning, and legal responses to terrorism.

Her current book project advances an approach to rule of law that is tailored to the conflict field. Recent field research in Malta and Kenya, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), resulted in publications on rule of law and the legal integration of religious minorities. Hirsch’s books include Conflict Zone, Comfort Zone: Ethics, Pedagogy, and Effecting Change in Field-Based Courses (edited with A. Paczynska; Ohio UP, 2019), Mountaintop Mining in Appalachia: Understanding Stakeholders and Change in Environmental Conflict (Ohio UP, 2014), received In the Moment of Greatest Calamity: Terrorism, Grief, and a Victim’s Question for Justice (Princeton, 2006), which won the Law and Society Association’s Jacob Book Prize, Pronouncing and Persevering: Gender and the Discourses of Disputing in an African Islamic Court (Chicago, 1998), and Contested States: Law, Hegemony, and Resistance (co-edited with M. Lazarus-Black; Routledge, 1994). She co-edits (with A. Paczynska) Conflict, Justice, and Social Change, a book series at Ohio University Press.

A two-time Fulbright Lecturer (Tanzania and Malta), Hirsch has taught in the Carter School’s International Masters program, a joint initiative with the University of Malta (UM) and serves on the board of UM’s Centre for the Study and Practice of Conflict. She is engaged in multiple projects related to migration and integration in Malta. As co-PI (with A. Paczynska) of a large Department of Education-funded project, Hirsch developed classroom-based experiential learning activities and field-based courses to improve conflict students’ capacity to apply theory to practice. A three-time elected Trustee of the Law and Society Association, she was the president of the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. She was the editor of Political and Legal Anthropology Review and an editorial board of Law and Society Review. The leadership positions held by Hirsch at the Carter School include Chair of the Faculty Board, Executive Committee member, and Founding Director of the Undergraduate Program.


PhD, Anthropology, Duke University (1990)

BA, Anthropology, Yale College (1982)

More Information

Faculty Rank: Professor

Honors & Awards

Hall of Fame Award - Ringgold Rams Club, Ringgold Rams Football Community Club

November 5, 2016

NSF Grant Award- "Legal Integration and Rule of Law: A Comparative Analysis", National Science Foundation

April 1, 2016

In the News

Lecture by Susan Hirsch at San Anton Palace

Published on January 13, 2016

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Faculty Spotlight on Innovation: Susan Hirsch & Agnieszka Paczynska

Published on February 21, 2014

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Ghailani Trial and Sentence Affirms US Federal Court System

Published on January 25, 2011

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A More Personal View of a Detainee’s Trial

Published on November 7, 2010

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Presentations & Performances

Dissertation Defense -- The Impact of Gender Mainstreaming on Men: The Case of Liberia

Apr 11 2012 | Arlington Truland Building

Law Day Conference on Civil Discourse 2010

Apr 30 2010 | Virgini

Dissertation Proposal Defense - Lisa McLean

Dec 6 2016 | Metropolitan Building