Michael McCann is Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for the Advancement of Citizenship at the University of Washington. Michael served as Chair of the Political Science Department for five years in the late 1990s and again for brief stints in 2010-11 and 2017-18. He was the leading architect and advocate of the Law, Societies, and Justice program as well as the Comparative Law and Society Studies (CLASS) Center, both committed to study of social justice and human rights, at UW starting in the late 1990s; he served as Director of both for a decade, until 2011. McCann also has been a teacher and leader in the UW LSJ Rome Program in Comparative Legal Studies for much of the last decade.
McCann’s research focuses on the politics of rights-based struggles for social justice, with an emphasis on challenges to race, gender, and class hierarchies. He also was an important figure in the interpretive turn toward scholarly analysis of legal discourse as a constitutive form of power. McCann is author of over sixty article-length publications and author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of eight books, including authoring Rights at Work: Pay Equity Reform and the Politics of Legal Mobilization (Chicago, 1994) and (with William Haltom) Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis (Chicago, 2004); both books have won multiple professional awards. McCann has won a variety of awards for conference papers and journal articles as well. In 2018, he published a co-edited volume (with Anne Bloom and David Engel) titled Injury and Injustice: The Cultural Politics of Harm and Redress (Cambridge University Press). His most recent book, with George Lovell, is titled Union by Law: Filipino American Labor Activists, Rights Radicalism, and Racial Capitalist Empire; it will be published by University of Chicago Press in Winter 2020.
Michael was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2008), a Law and Public Affairs Program Fellowship at Princeton (2011-12), and numerous NSF and other research grants; he was elected as president of the U.S based international Law and Society Association for 2011-13. Michael won a UW Distinguished Teaching Award (1989) and, in 2014, recognition as the Marsha Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award by the UW Graduate School. He is an original member of the Steering Committee for the UW Center for Human Rights.. From 2014 to 2018, Michael served two terms as Director of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies at UW, a center of publicly engaged intellectuals who address issues of working people around the world. He teaches classes on law in society, the politics of rights, and law and social change.