Mark Massoud ’05, who was recently awarded a UC Berkeley literature prize for a series of stories about “ordinary” life in Sudan, has now won a Fulbright Fellowship. The fellowship will enable Massoud, a doctoral student in the Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) Program, to pursue his dissertation field work in that North African country.
Massoud worked last summer in Sudan as a legal intern with the Rule of Law Unit of the United Nations Development Programme. A collection of short stories he wrote based on that experience garnered one of this year’s Eisner Awards, bestowed by the campus for the “highest achievement in the creative arts.”
Massoud’s thesis adviser, Professor Malcolm Feeley, observed that “Mark’s stories are about ordinary events in everyday life in Sudan, a country which has fallen apart. Yet life—at least much of life in Khartoum—goes on as usual. His stories demonstrate a keen sense of human nature as well as an appreciation for the absurdity—and tragedy—of the human condition.” Feeley holds the Claire Sanders Clements Dean’s Chair at Boalt.
Massoud’s pieces, which draw on his examination of emerging democracies in failed states, reflect the cross-disciplinary nature of the JSP Program. Massoud is currently researching and writing his Ph.D. dissertation on how grassroots nongovernmental legal organizations build the rule of law in failed states. “My focus for this project is Sudan, where I plan to return next year for further research,” he said.