Mugambi Jouet

Associate Professor of Law
Last Updated: October 6, 2023

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. In 2022, he won the Brophy Prize for the article that “most significantly breaks new ground and adds new insights to the study and understanding of United States legal history.” His research has appeared or is forthcoming in peer-reviewed journals and law reviews, including the American Journal of Comparative LawAmerican Journal of Legal HistoryAmerican Journal of Criminal LawFederal Sentencing ReporterJournal of Criminal Law and CriminologyUBC Law ReviewNature – Palgrave Communications and Theoretical Criminology.

Jouet is also 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.

He has been interviewed by many media outlets, such as The New York TimesTime, 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.