In Memoriam of prof. dr. Sally Engle Merry


It is with deep sadness that the Cities of Refuge team has learned about the passing away of Academic Advisory Board Member professor Sally Engle Merry, on the 8th of September 2020. Sally Merry was the Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University, and a professor of anthropology. She wrote seminal works such as ‘Human Rights and Gender Violence’, ‘Getting Justice and Getting Even’, ‘The seductions of quantification’ and ‘The Practice of Human Rights’. As an Advisory Board Member, she brought invaluable advice to our project, for instance during the 2018 Law & Society Association meeting in Toronto.

Prof. Merry was also a great source of inspiration to many socio-legal scholars in the Netherlands, for instance as a keynote speaker during the 2010 annual VSR conference. In the words of prof. Barbara Oomen: “There is no scholar who had a more profound influence on my work than Sally Merry. She not only taught me the importance of careful legal anthropological observation, and of connecting the global and the local, but also what academic leadership entails: listening, learning and teaching as a life-long objective, combining generosity with academic rigor and critical thinking. I am deeply grateful for all that she did for our field, in which she will be sorely missed”.