Lawrence Rosen is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at Princeton University, where he taught from 1977 until 2017 and Adjunct Professor Emeritus at Columbia Law School, where he taught from 1979-2019. He is currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Islamic Law Program. A native of Cincinnati, he earned his B.A. at Brandeis University and his Ph.D. and J.D. degrees at the University of Chicago before serving on the faculties of the University of Illinois and Duke University. As an anthropologist he works on Arab social life and Islamic law, with long-term experience doing fieldwork in North Africa; as a legal scholar he has written and taught on the rights of indigenous peoples, comparative law, and American socio-legal issues. He is a member of the bar of the State of North Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Named to the first group of MacArthur Award Fellows, he has been a Fulbright Fellow and held grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation. A Member of Commons at Wolfson College, Oxford, Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, he has served as a Phi Beta Kappa Lecturer and Visiting Professor at Ben Gurion University, The University of Arizona, and the law schools of Northwestern, Georgetown, and the U. of Pennsylvania.
Rosen has also been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, and twice each at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, the Rockefeller Study Center at Bellagio, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He has given the Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures, the Lt. Jones-Huffman Memorial Lecture at the U.S. Naval Academy, the Miller Lecture at the University of Virginia, the Sabbagh Lecture at the University of Arizona, and the Annual Socio-Legal Lecture at the University of Oxford. At Princeton he has received The President’s Distinguished Award for Teaching, The Ombudsman’s Award for Civility, The President’s Committee on the Status of Women Award, the Princeton University Women’s Organization Award, and the Graduate Mentoring Award. He received the Royal Anthropological Institute’s J. B. Donne Essay Prize Award for his study of Islamic mosaics and society.
Among his books are: Bargaining For Reality: The Construction of Social Relations in a Muslim Community (Chicago); Meaning and Order in Moroccan Society (with Clifford and Hildred Geertz; Cambridge); The Anthropology of Justice: Law as Culture in Muslim Society (Cambridge);The Justice of Islam (Oxford); The Culture of Islam (Chicago); Law as Culture: An Invitation (Princeton), Varieties of Muslim Experience (Chicago), Two Arabs, a Berber and a Jew: Entangled Lives in Morocco (Chicago), The Judgment of Culture: Cultural Assumptions in American Law (Routledge), Islam and the Rule of Justice (Chicago), The American Indian and the Law (ed., Transaction), and Other Intentions (ed., SAR Press).
He has written for The American Scholar, TLS, L.A. Review of Books, The Boston Review, The London Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The American Interest, The Literary Review, Yale Law Journal, University of Chicago Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Supreme Court Review, Foreign Policy, The Wilson Quarterly, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald-Tribune, and The Washington Post. Books in progress include Tribes: What They Were, What They Are, and Why They Still Matter; and American Political Culture: Anthropological Perspectives.