Michael McCann is Gordon Hirabayashi Professor for the Advancement of Citizenship at the University of Washington. He served as Chair of the Political Science Department for three different terms between 1995 and 2018. He was the leading architect and advocate of the Law, Societies, and Justice Department as well as the Comparative Law and Society Studies (CLASS) Center at UW starting in the late 1990s; he served as Director of both for a decade, until 2010. Professor McCann was a teacher and leader in the UW LSJ Rome Program in Comparative Legal Studies for a number of years, and he returned to the program in 2018. He also served as Director of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies from 2014 to 2018.
Professor McCann’s research focuses on the politics of rights and rights-based struggles for social justice, with an emphasis on challenges to race, gender, and class hierarchies. He also was an important figure in the interpretive turn toward scholarly analysis of legal discourse as a constitutive form of power. He is author of over sixty article-length publications and author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of eight books, including Rights at Work: Pay Equity Reform and the Politics of Legal Mobilization (Chicago, 1994) and (with William Haltom) Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis (Chicago, 2004); both books have won multiple (six total) professional awards. Professor McCann has won a variety of awards for conference papers and published articles as well. His most current book, with George Lovell, is Union by Law: Filipino American Labor Activists, Rights Radicalism, and Racial Capitalism (Chicago 2020). The book documents the history of struggles for socioeconomic rights and social justice by Filipino immigrant workers in the western United States over the twentieth century, culminating in a devastating assassination of two dynamic young activist leaders and a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1989 (Wards Cove Packing Co. v. Atonio) that largely killed collective worker challenges to structural race and/or gender discrimination.
Professor McCann was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2008), a Law and Public Affairs Program Fellowship at Princeton (2011-12), and numerous NSF and other research grants; he was elected as president of the U.S-based international Law and Society Association for 2011-13. He won a UW Distinguished Teaching Award (1989) and recently (2014) won the Landolt Distinguished Mentoring Award by the UW Graduate School. He is an original member of the Steering Committee for the UW Center for Human Rights. He looks forward to creating and teaching several new courses on the topics of rights based political advocacy and social change in the next few years.
- "Listening for the Songs of Others: Insiders, Outsiders, and the Legal Marginalization of the Laboring Underclass in America.” In Mary Nell Trautner, ed., Insiders, Outsiders, Injuries, & Law: Revisiting "The Oven Bird’s Song." New York: Cambridge University Press. 2018
- Michael McCann, “Law and Social Movements: Old Themes and New Directions for Research.” Forthcoming in edited book on The Uses of Law by Social Movements, Julie Ringelheim, ed. 2020
- “How States Justify Internment: The Case of Northern Ireland.” Sarah Dreier, Emily Gade, and Michael McCann. Funded by NSF grant. Planned submission to Law & Society Review, summer 2020.
- William Haltom and Michael McCann, “When Might Claims of ‘Too Much Litigation’ Be Other than Political Sloganeering?”. With William Haltom. Forthcoming in Onati Socio-Legal Series, 2020
- Michael McCann, “A. Philip Randolph: Radicalizing Rights at the Intersection of Race and Class,” in Melvin L. Rogers and Chip Turner, eds., African American Political Thought: A Collected History. Forthcoming, University of Chicago Press. 2020.
- Michael McCann, with George I. Lovell. Union by Law: Filipino American Labor Activists, Rights Radicalism, and Racial Capitalism. With George Lovell. University of Chicago Press. 512 pp. In cloth and paper, April, 2020.
- Michael McCann, “Listening for the Songs of Others: Insiders, Outsiders, and the Legal Marginalization of the Laboring Underclass in America.” In Mary Nell Trautner, ed., Insiders, Outsiders, Injuries, & Law: Revisiting "The Oven Bird’s Song." New York: Cambridge University Press. 2018
- Michael McCann. 2015. “Covering Legal Mobilization: A Bottom–Up Political History of Wards Cove v. Atonio.” With George Lovell and Kirstine Taylor. Law & Social Inquiry.
- Michael McCann. 2014. “The Unbearable Lightness of Rights: On Sociolegal Inquiry in the Global Era.” Law & Society Review, Vol 48 (20): 245-273.
- Michael McCann. 2014. "The Personal is Political: On Twentieth Century Activist Lawyers for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties." Tulsa Law Review Vol 49, Number 2.
- Michael McCann. 2014. "Money, Sex, and Power: Gender Discrimination and the Thwarted Legacy of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” Keynote Address for Symposium, “Revisiting Sex: Gender and Sex Discrimination Fifty Years after the Civil Rights Act." University of Denver Law Review Vol 91 (4):779-802.
- Michael McCann. 2004. Distorting the Law: Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis. University of Chicago Press. [with William Haltom]
- “From Identity Politics to Intersectional Solidarity: The Challenge of Rights-Based Social Movements.” In Handbook on Law and Social Movements. Ed Steven Boutcher, et al. Forthcoming 2021
- Michael McCann, Laboring for Civil Rights at the Intersection of Race and Class: Reconsidering the Legacy of A. Philip Randolph. Book in progress, solicited by Polity Press. Expected publication in 2023
- Michael McCann and Filiz Kahraman, “The Interdependence of Authoritarian and Liberal Legalities in Racial Capitalist Regimes.” With Filiz Kahraman. Article solicited for Annual Review of Law and Social Science. 2021.
Summer 2018 B-term
- Union by Law - Professors Michael McCann and George Lovell’s New Book Explores the Role of Litigation in Pushing for Social Change - November 30, 2020
- KUOW Interview With Michael McCann, Political Science and LSJ Professor - June 17, 2020
- Professor Michael McCann Guest Stars on Online Comedy Series, Adam Ruins Everything - February 8, 2017
- Congratulations, Class of 2015! - July 6, 2015