In Memoriam: Sally Engle Merry
September 9, 2020

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing on September 8, 2020 of Professor Sally Engle Merry. For many years, Sally was a co-director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law, while also serving as the Julius Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University. In 2019 she was awarded the Franz Boas prize, the highest accolade bestowed by the American Anthropological Association. Her contributions to the work of CHRGJ were immense, and she taught courses on human rights and anthropology at the Law School, as well as having directed the Law and Society project for a number of years.

As a scholar, Sally was creative, incorrigibly intellectually curious, and rarely accepting of the received wisdom. Her prodigious work unfailingly enhanced the world’s understanding of every issue that she explored in any depth. Her writing has shaped a generation of scholars around the world in anthropology, human rights, and beyond, and her influence will be felt for many decades to come. As a teacher, she was exceptionally committed and very talented.  She cared deeply for her students and gave generously of her time to anyone who sought her advice or help.  As a colleague, she was superb and could never do enough for others, was never ‘busy’ when demands were made on her time, and was an enthusiastic participant in all endeavors. She was always thoughtful: reflecting deeply about any topic, no matter how mundane; considering others and how she could help them; and evaluating how the world might be a better place.  But above all, Sally was a delightful human being and she will be very badly missed by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her.

—Philip Alston, Ryan Goodman, César Rodríguez-Garavito, and Meg Satterthwaite


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