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Michael W. McCann

Professor Emeritus
Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for the Advancement of Citizenship

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Michael McCann is Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington. He held the title of Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for the Advancement of Citizenship at UW from 2000 until his retirement in 2022. 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 architect and leading 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, starting in the late 1990s; he served as director of each for a decade, until 2011. McCann also was a teacher and leader in the UW LSJ Rome Program in Comparative Legal Studies for over a decade in the 2000s. He was an original member of the Steering Committee for the UW Center for Human Rights, from 2008-2018. From 2014 to 2018, Michael served two terms as director of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, a center of publicly engaged intellectuals who address issues of working people in Washington state and around the world.

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 seventy 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 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 Capitalism (Chicago 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 2017, recognition as the Marsha Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award at UW as well as the Stanton Wheeler Mentoring Award from LSA. In 2023, he won the LSA Harry Kalven, Jr. Prize for Empirical Scholarship that has “contributed most effectively to the advancement of research in Law and Society.” Michael recently was recognized with the 2024 American Bar Foundation Fellows Outstanding Scholar Award.


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Research Advised: Graduate Dissertations

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