About the Author

An author specialized on the intersection of law, politics, and culture, Mugambi Jouet recently became the Boulton Fellow at McGill University after teaching at Stanford. His book Exceptional America: What Divides Americans From the World and From Each Other was published by the University of California Press in 2017.


His articles have been featured in academic journals and the media, including Slate, Mother JonesThe New Republic, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post,  The HillLibération, Le Nouvel Observateur magazine, and Le Monde, France’s flagship newspaper. He has been interviewed by the media many times, such as on C-SPAN’s Book TV, diverse National Public Radio showsFrance 24 TV news programsFrench national public radio, and Radio Canada. In addition to universities, he has presented his academic research at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan, Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Cambridge Forum at Harvard Square,  Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., and the L.A. Times book festival.

Exceptional America, his new book, takes a comparative look at peculiar dimensions of American politics, culture, law, social issues, economics, religion, and criminal justice, from mass incarceration to the death penalty. At a time when the Obama and Trump presidencies have sharply divided the United States, it explains how and why Americans are far more polarized than other Westerners over their basic values and worldview. Alongside historical, political, legal, and sociological sources, Jouet’s book draws on his observations as a “global citizen” having lived in different regions of America, from the liberal North to the Southern Bible Belt and West Coast.

After being raised in Paris by a French mother and Kenyan father, he attended university in the United States, studying law, public policy, history, and sociology. He holds three degrees, including a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Northwestern University. He then served for three years as a public defender representing indigent persons in Manhattan’s courtrooms. He subsequently practiced international law at a war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, for another three years.

Trilingual in English, French, and Spanish, he has traveled widely internationally and within America.


The Human Toll of Antonin Scalia’s Time on the Court, Slate, February 17, 2016.

Code Switch, Mother Jones, January/February 2017.

Why Does Kamala Harris Defend the Death Penalty?, San Francisco Chronicle, September 2, 2015.

America’s Big Blind Spot on Human Rights, The New Republic, October 7, 2014.

The Politics of Faith and American Exceptionalism, Huffington Post, April 29, 2012.

Is the Supreme Court Disconnected From the Real World?, The Hill, April, 22, 2014.

Why Gay Marriage Is So Controversial in America, Huffington Post, June 1, 2012.

Sanitizing the Death Penalty, Huffington Post, May 27, 2014.

The Separation of Church and State – Then and Now, Huffington Post, June 4, 2013.

Behind DOMA Ruling, America Stands Divided on Gay Rights, Huffington Post, July 16, 2013.

Don’t Call it “Obamacare,” Huffington Post, October 21, 2013.

The Sochi Olympics Emboldened Putin’s Abuses in Ukraine and Russia, Huffington Post, March 18, 2014.

Thatcher Backed Pinochet in Landmark Human Rights Case, Huffington Post, April 24, 2013.

L’Exceptionnalisme Américain au Cœur de la Campagne, Slate (France), October 20, 2012. 

Les Promesses d’Unité d’Obama Face à la Réalité d’un Pays Fortement Divisé, Le Monde, January 10, 2012.

Ferguson, le Social Plombé par le Racisme, Libération, August 26, 2014.

L’Emprise de l’Anti-Intellectualisme sur la Présidentielle Américaine, Libération, November 7, 2016.

Comparing Political Extremism in Europe and America, Huffington Post, May 17, 2012.

2014, Année de l’Enlisement des Etats-Unis, Le Nouvel Observateur, 30 December 30, 2014.

L’Exécution Sans Douleur, un Moyen de Soulager le Bourreau, Le Nouvel Observateur, May 22, 2014.

La Tuerie du Colorado Evoque l’Exceptionnalisme Américain, Huffington Post (France), August 6, 2012.

L’influence Exceptionnelle de la Religion dans la Présidentielle Américaine, Huffington Post (France), April 29, 2012.

Un Système Pénal Fondé sur le Tout-répressif, Le Monde, June 3, 2011.

Obama’s Second Term Could be Marked by Continued Gridlock and Polarization, Huffington Post, November 7, 2012.


Judging Leaders Who Facilitate Crimes by a Foreign Army: International Courts Differ on a Novel Legal Issue, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law (2014).

The Exceptional Absence of Human Rights as a Principle in American Law, Pace Law Review (2014).

The Failed Invigoration of Argentina’s Constitution: Presidential Omnipotence, Repression, Instability, and Lawlessness in Argentine HistoryInter-American Law Review (2008).

Reconciling the Conflicting Rights of Victims and Defendants at the International Criminal CourtSt. Louis University Public Law Review (2007).

Spain’s Expanded Universal Jurisdiction to Prosecute Human Rights Abuses in Latin AmericaChina, and BeyondGeorgia Journal of International and Comparative Law (2007).


Northwestern University School of Law, Juris Doctor, cum laude, 2006.

New York University, Master in Public Policy, 2003.

Rice University, Bachelor of Arts in History, 2001.


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