Lisa Hajjar

Lisa Hajjar
Department Chair
PDF icon CV

Office Hours

Tuesday 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Office Location

SSMS 3109 Chair Office
SSMS 3018 Faculty Office


Sociology of law; sociology of human rights; political sociology; state theory; Middle East Studies; American Studies; law and conflict; torture; war crimes; international humanitarian law.


Ph.D., The American University


Lisa Hajjar has an international reputation for her work on sociology of law and conflict, human rights, political violence, and contemporary international affairs. She is an interdisciplinary scholar who contributes to multiple fields in the social sciences and humanities, including Middle East Studies, American Studies, and Law and Society. Her current research focuses primarily on the US “war on terror,” particularly around the issues of torture, targeted killing, and Guantanamo. She is the only social scientist who has traveled to Guantanamo (14 times to date), where she conducts research and writes about the military commissions. Another area of current research focuses on human rights in the Arab world. Her journalistic writings have been published by The Nation, Al Jazeera English, Middle East Report, and Jadaliyya.

Select publications (see c.v. for full list)


The War in Court: Inside the Long Fight against Torture. University of California Press, forthcoming 2022.

Genealogies of Human Rights in the Arab World, coauthor with Omar Dewachi. In progress.

Torture: A Sociology of Violence and Human Rights. Routledge, 2013.

Human Rights: Critical Concepts in Political Science, Vols. 1-5. Co-edited with Richard Falk and Hilal Elver. Routledge, 2008.

Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza. University of California Press, 2005.

Journal articles and book chapters

Cultures of Resistance: The Struggle against Domestic Violence in Arab Societies, coauthored with Eduardo Buendia, Patrick Fairbanks, Emma Kuskey, Sasha Misco, and Ada Quevedo. In Ismail Laher, editor, Handbook of Healthcare in the Arab World. Springer (2020).

The Afterlives of Torture: The Global Implications of Reactionary US Politics. State Crimes 8/2 (2019).

The Counterterrorism War Paradigm versus International Humanitarian Law: The Legal Contradictions and Global Consequences of the US “War on Terror.” Law & Social Inquiry 44/4 (2019). * Honorable Mention for Best Article 2020 from ASA Sociology of Human Rights Section.

International Law and Fifty Years of Occupation. In Aaron Hahn Tapper and Mira Sucharov, editors, Social Justice in Israel/Palestine: Foundational and Contemporary Debates. University of Toronto Press, 2019.

In Defense of Lawfare: The Value of Litigation in Challenging Torture. In Scott A. Anderson and Martha C. Nussbaum, editors, Confronting Torture: Essays on the Ethics, Legality, History, and Psychology of Torture Today. University of Chicago Press, 2018.

From The Manchurian Candidate to Zero Dark Thirty: Reading the CIA’s History of Torture through Hollywood Thrillers. Film and History 47/2 (Winter 2017).

Lawfare and Armed Conflict: A Comparative Analysis of Israeli and US Targeted Killing Policies and Legal Challenges against Them. In Lisa Parks and Caren Kaplan, editors, Life in the Age of Drone Warfare. Duke University Press, 2017.

Is Targeted Killing War? (chapter) and A Sociological Intervention on Drones and Targeted Killing (chapter). In Bradley Jay Strawser, editor, Opposing Perspectives on the Drone Debate. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Does Torture Work? A Socio-Legal Assessment of the Practice in Historical and Global PerspectiveAnnual Review of Law and Social Science 5 (2009).

International Humanitarian Law and “Wars on Terror”: A Comparative Analysis of Israeli and American Doctrines and Policies. Journal of Palestine Studies 36 (Autumn 2006).

Chaos as Utopia: International Criminal Prosecution as a Challenge to State Power. Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 31 (2004).

Religion, State Power and Domestic Violence in Muslim Societies: A Framework for Comparative AnalysisLaw and Social Inquiry 29 (2004).


Sociology of Human Rights, Sociology of Law, Political Sociology, Introduction to Sociology