USC Gould Search

Mugambi Jouet
USC Gould School of Law

Mugambi Jouet

Associate Professor of Law

699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA Personal Website: Link
SSRN Author Page: Link

Last Updated: November 8, 2022

Mugambi Jouet’s research focuses on American exceptionalism, criminal justice, and comparative history from a multidisciplinary perspective. He is an expert on the distinctive historical evolution of American law, government, and sociopolitical culture compared to other Western democracies: European nations, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

His scholarship has notably analyzed the death penalty, mass incarceration, juvenile justice, guns, and abortion. He is the author of Exceptional America: What Divides Americans From the World and From Each Other (University of California Press, 2017), a comprehensive book on the relationship between American exceptionalism and the intense polarization of modern America, from criminal justice to socioeconomic inequality and beyond.

His research has appeared or is forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews, including the American Journal of Comparative Law, American Journal of Legal History, Federal Sentencing Reporter, American Journal of Criminal LawJournal of Criminal Law and Criminology, UBC Law Review, Nature - Palgrave Communications and Theoretical Criminology. He is the recipient of the 2021 Brophy Prize for the article in the American Journal of Legal History that “most significantly breaks new ground and adds new insights to the study and understanding of United States legal history.”  

Jouet has been interviewed by many media outlets, such as The New York Times, Time, C-SPAN, National Public Radio, CBC, Radio Canada, France 24, and France Culture. His commentary has been featured in The New Republic, Slate, Boston Review, Mother Jones, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Hill, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur and Le Monde, France’s flagship newspaper.

Before joining USC in 2022, he was a law professor at McGill University following a Grey Fellowship at Stanford Law School. A member of the New York bar, he previously represented numerous indigent prisoners, from homicide cases to the “War on Drugs,” in Manhattan and the Bronx. He equally served as a judicial clerk at the U.N. war crimes tribunal for Yugoslavia in The Hague, and as an assistant clinical law instructor at Sciences Po in Paris. He has traveled widely internationally and is trilingual in English, French and Spanish.

Jouet earned his PhD in Law, summa cum laude, from Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne; his JD, cum laude, from the Northwestern University School of Law; his MPA in Policy Analysis from New York University; and BA in History from Rice University.

Twitter: @MugambiJouet 


  • Exceptional America: What Divides Americans From the World and From Each Other (University of California Press, 2017). - (www)


  • “A History of Post-Roe America and Canada: From Intertwined Abortion Battles to American Exceptionalism,” Michigan Journal of Gender & Law (forthcoming 2023-24). - (SSRN)
  • “From Humanity to Systemic Inequity: A Historic Development in Criminal Sentencing,” New York University Review of Law & Social Change (forthcoming 2023-24). 
  • “Death Penalty Abolitionism From the Enlightenment to Modernity,” American Journal of Comparative Law (forthcoming 2023). - (SSRN)
  • “Guns, Mass Incarceration, and Bipartisan Reform: Beyond Vicious Circle and Social Polarization,” Arizona State Law Journal (forthcoming 2023).   - (SSRN)
  • “A Lost Chapter in Death Penalty History: Furman v. Georgia, Albert Camus, and the Normative Challenge to Capital Punishment,” 49 American Journal of Criminal Law 119 (2022).  - (SSRN)
  • “The Day Canada Said No to the Death Penalty in the United States: Innocence, Dignity, and the Evolution of Abolitionism,” 55 UBC Law Review 439 (2022). - (SSRN)
  • “Foucault, Prison, and Human Rights: A Dialectic of Theory and Criminal Justice Reform,” 26 Theoretical Criminology 202 (2022).  - (www)
  • “Revolutionary Criminal Punishments: Treason, Mercy, and the American Revolution,” 61 American Journal of Legal History 139 (2021). - Won Brophy Prize for best article in American legal history - (www)
  • “Juveniles Are Not So Different: The Punishment of Juveniles and Adults at the Crossroads,” 33 Federal Sentencing Reporter 278 (2021).  - (SSRN)
  • “Mass Incarceration Paradigm Shift?: Convergence in an Age of Divergence,” 109 Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 703 (2019).  - (SSRN)
  • “Guns, Identity, and Nationhood,” 5 Nature – Palgrave Communications 138 (2019).  - (www)
  • “Judging Leaders Who Facilitate Crimes by a Foreign Army: International Courts Differ on a Novel Legal Issue,” 47 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 1091 (2014). 
  • “The Exceptional Absence of Human Rights as a Principle in American Law,” 34 Pace Law Review 688 (2014). 
  • “The Failed Invigoration of Argentina’s Constitution: Presidential Omnipotence, Repression, Instability, and Lawlessness in Argentine History,” 39 Inter-American Law Review 409 (2008).
  • “Spain’s Expanded Universal Jurisdiction to Prosecute Human Rights Abuses in Latin America, China, and Beyond,” 35 Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law (2007).
  • “Reconciling the Conflicting Rights of Victims and Defendants at the International Criminal Court,” 26 St. Louis University Public Law Review 249 (2007).


LLM Guide
June 5, 2023
Re: USC Gould School of Law

Law schools have been adapting to the increase in technological advancements, especially with the increased need for attorneys with the creation of AI. “Attorneys work on the front end, conducting threat assessments to ensure that their clients’ systems and data are protected, and on the back end, to navigate any legal issues that may arise as a result of the attacks," Gruzas said.


Robin Craig
April, 2023

"Fish, Whales, and a Blue Ethics for the Anthropocene: How Do We Think About the Last Wild Food in the Twenty-First Century?," 95:6 Southern California Law Review 1307-1343 (April 2023).

Robin Craig
April, 2023

"California Exceptionalism in the Colorado River: A Brief History and Implications for the Future."

Robin Craig
April, 2023

"Toward a Global Sustainable Development Agenda Built on Resilience" (with Murray W. Scown, Craig R. Allen, Lance Gunderson, David G. Angeler, Jorge H. Garcia, & Ahjond Garmestani), Global Sustainability (online publication April 2023).