Passing of Sally Engle Merry

Sep 17, 2020



All at AES are sad to learn of the passing of Sally Engle Merry, past president of AES (2011-2013), and Professor Emerita of Anthropology at NYU, where she was also Faculty Co-Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the NYU School of Law. Sally was a brilliant scholar and generous colleague. Over the course of her career, her pathbreaking and prolific work included research in legal anthropology, human rights, gender, class, legal pluralism, urban anthropology, and colonialism among other topics. Her books include many landmark texts:


Urban Danger: Life in a Neighborhood of Strangers (Temple University Press, 1981)

Getting Justice and Getting Even: Legal Consciousness among Working-Class Americans (University of Chicago Press, 1990)

Colonizing Hawai'i: The Cultural Power of Law (Princeton University Press, 2000)

The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law between the Global and the Local (with Mark Goodale, Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Human Rights and Gender Violence: Translating International Law Into Local Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2009)

The Seductions of Quantification: Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking (University of Chicago Press, 2016).


Sally was an innovative, thoughtful scholar whose leadership enriched AES and anthropology. While we will all continue to learn from her scholarship in the years to come, she will be dearly missed.