Dr. Sarah Marusek

Sarah Marusek

Sarah Marusek CURRICULUM VITAE, September 2021 Sarah Marusek is Professor of Public Law in the Department of Political Science & Administration of Justice at the University of Hawaiʻi Hilo. Having had the pleasure of teaching at UH Hilo since 2009, Dr. Marusek has also held visiting positions abroad: College of Law Visiting Fellow at Australian National University; Visiting Researcher at Örebro Universitet in Sweden; and Visiting Professor for the Erasmus Law and Humanities course at Università degli Stidu RomaTre in Rome. With Anne Wagner (Research Professor, University of Lille, France), she is Editor for the Law and Visual Jurisprudence Book Series (Springer). She also serves as Associate Editor for International Journal for the Semiotics of Law. In addition to her research here on Hawai‘i Island, Dr. Marusek has received funding for research conducted in Iceland, California, and Oregon.


As an established and productive researcher with a national and international reputation in the interdisciplinary field of law and society, Dr. Marusek’s research lies in the areas of legal culture, legal semiotics, and legal geography. Her research (and teaching) agenda develops ‘everyday jurisprudence’ to engage with the many ways that law happens in the banalities of the day-to-day. Through the symbols, places, and emerging contexts of legality, her work explores the cultural, social, and political aspects of law. Whether within formal frameworks of constitutionality, contested and informal practices of legality and custom, or as an amalgamation of formal and informal, Dr. Marusek's work considers the dynamic relationships between power, place, and personae.

Her first book, Politics of Parking: Rights, Identity, and Property (Routledge 2017, first published by Ashgate in 2012), examines how law and inequality materially manifest through contests over parking terrain. Her second book, Law and the Kinetic Environment: Regulating Dynamic Landscapes (Routledge, 2021), considers the intersections of culture and regulation that dynamically erupt in the actively volcanic terrains of Iceland and Hawai‘i. Her third book, Legal Geography in Motion: Law, Space and the Vehicular Environment (under contract with Routledge), develops the socio-legal liminalities of the American roadscape.

In her edited and co-edited volumes, Dr. Marusek engages with law and inequality in multiple ways: on the street (Digesting the Public Sphere; Street-Level Sovereignty: The Intersection of Space and Law); through public memory and representations of national belonging (Sensing the Nation’s Law: Historical Inquiries into the Aesthetics of Democratic Legitimacy; Flags, Color and the Legal Narrative: Public Memory, Identity, and Critique) and sensory embodiment (Synesthetic Legalities: Sensory Dimensions of Law and Jurisprudence). In her articles and chapters, she explores the nuanced tethering of governance and power to jurisprudential analysis found in daily life by looking closer into the everyday phenomena of emojis, the flow of lava, drive-thrus, coins, license plates, expiration dates, public smell, weight gain, traffic lights, the front lawn, and handicapped parking terrains. She has published extensively in the areas of legal semiotics and legal geography with research articles in a variety of international and interdisciplinary journals in the field of law and related fields: International Journal for the Semiotics of Law; Semiotica; Space and Polity; Law, Culture and the Humanities; Land Use Policy; Gender, Place, and Culture; Non-Liquet: The Westminster Online Working Papers Law & the Senses Series; Social Semiotics; Law Text Culture; Land Use Policy; Journal of Civil Law Studies; Lo Squardarno: Explorations in Space and Society.


As the Public Law specialist in my department, my regular course offerings include an introduction to law and society (Introduction to Law and Legality POLS 220 ), an in-depth study of the U.S. Constitution focused on civil rights and liberties (Constitutional Law POLS 321 ), the complex relationship between law, place, and spatiality (Legal Geography POLS 325 ), the socio-legal construction of community/-ies (Law and Identity POLS 327 ), the evolution of rights and (in)equality in American society (Rights POLS 328 ), and an examination of the propertization of the natural environment (Law, Property, and Nature POLS 444 /CBES 644 ). I am committed to interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, and my courses contribute to a range of programs across my university beyond Political Science, including Administration of Justice, Filipino Studies, Gender & Women’s Studies, Geography, Philosophy, Pre-Law, Sociology, and the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science (TCBES) M.S. Program.

To enhance student experience with the field of law, she developed the Pre-Law Certificate in 2016 as a campus-wide interdisciplinary collaboration involving faculty from Business, English, Gender & Women’s Studies, Geography & Environmental Studies, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology. The Pre-Law Certificate is intended to complement a student’s major with lawyering skills, or what the American Bar Association refers to as an emphasis on critical thinking, reading, and writing abilities. She currently serves as the Certificate’s primary advisor.

Professor Marusek is the 2011 Recipient of the student-nominated, faculty-awarded University of Hawai‘i Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Please contact Sarah Marusek for more information.