Tamir Moustafa

Tamir Moustafa is Professor of International Studies at Simon Fraser University. His research interests include comparative judicial politics, religion and politics, authoritarianism, politics of the Middle East and, more recently, the politics of knowledge production.

Moustafa’s first major project focused on the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court, and the politics of courts in authoritarian regimes more generally. This culminated in the publication of The Struggle for Constitutional Power: Law, Politics, and Economic Development in Egypt (Cambridge University Press) and Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (Cambridge University Press, edited with Tom Ginsburg).

His next project explored the public debates generated as a result of dual constitutional commitments to Islamic law and liberal rights in Egypt and Malaysia. In both countries, constitutional provisions enshrining Islamic law and liberal rights lay the seeds for legal friction, and courtrooms serve as important sites of contention between groups with competing visions for their states and societies. The project explored how litigation provokes and shapes competing conceptions of national and religious identity, resolves or exacerbates contending visions of Islamic law, and ultimately bolsters or undermines public perceptions of government legitimacy.

Moustafa’s current work is focused on how the National Science Foundation shaped the discipline of political science in the second half of the 20th century. His research has been funded through the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).  He has held visiting fellowships at UC Berkeley, Princeton University, and Harvard Law School and was named a Carnegie Scholar in 2007 for his work on Islamic law and liberal rights.