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Congratulations to Leila Kawar for winning the Law and Society Association Herbert Jacob book prize

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Leila Kawar, Assistant Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies, was awarded the Herbert Jacob Book Prize by the Law and Society Association. Kawar's book, Contesting Immigration Policy in Court: Legal Activism and Its Radiating Effects in the United States and France, was chosen from a competitive pool of nominees for 'best book in law and society scholarship published in 2015'. She shares the honor with co-winner Ellen Berrey from the University of Denver, author of The Enigma of Diversity: The Language of Race and the Limits of Racial Justice.

The nomination committee lauded Kawar's book, calling it "fascinating". In Contesting Immigration Policy, Kawar "draws on seven years of rigorous archival and ethnographic fieldwork to trace the ways in which “immigrant rights legal activism” has shaped elite policy-making in France and the United States since the 1970s. Through an elegant and persuasive argument, Kawar shifts our focus from conventional questions that ask how political struggles influence compliance with official legal decisions and instead asks how legal advocacy shapes wider political debates and policies surrounding immigration. Written in lucid prose, Kawar’s book synthesizes methodological approaches and debates from comparative scholarship, actor network theory and scholarship on the ‘cultural life of law‘ in innovative and productive ways that can integrate both political and legal-doctrinal dynamics equally well. Kawar’s book is a clear example of socio-legal research at its finest." Kawar attended the Law and Society Association annual meeting on June 2nd to accept the award. 

​Kawar joined UMass in June of 2015, shortly after winning an award for best paper from the Migration and Citizenship section of the American Political Science Association (APSA). The award is given annually for the best paper presented on migration and/or citizenship at the previous year’s APSA conference. 

Regarding the Hebert Jacob Book Prize, Kawar says "I am both honored and humbled that my book has been recognized by the Law and Society Association. I have been attending the LSA conferences since 2002, but this year’s conference was particularly significant for me, not only because my book was recognized with a major award but also because I had the pleasure of attending an author-meets-readers panel, at which four Law and Society colleagues commented on how they understood the book’s contribution to scholarship in our field. Learning that my book was sincerely appreciated by senior colleagues whose work has been very influential for my own research was incredibly gratifying."

Please join us in congratulating Leila Kawar on her incredible accomplishment!



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