Pakistani scholar Nasser Hussain laid to rest

Nasser HussainSo sorry to have to share this news, about the younger brother of a childhood friend. Obituary below. Also see this article by one of his former students that so elegantly sums up his passions in life.

BOSTON: Karachi-born Nasser Hussain, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College, USA, passed away in the early hours of Nov 9 after an extended illness, at the residence of his brother Omar Hussain in the Boston area. He was 50.

Scholars, friends and family from around the world including his elderly mother Sultana Hussain from Karachi, gathered for his funeral on Friday. His father Captain (Retd.) Tajammul Hussain, Pakistan Navy, passed away in January 2014.

Hussain did his ‘A levels’ from Karachi Grammar School in 1983. He graduated from Yale University (1988), and went on to obtain his Masters degree in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley.

His first book, ‘The jurisprudence of emergency’ (U. of Michigan, 2003) was based on his PhD dissertation from Berkeley, earned in 1996. The dissertation was a study of sovereignty and the rule of law in British India, done under the supervision of Thomas R. Metcalf, acclaimed historian of South Asia.

Nasser-collage by ImanThe issues he took up in his scholarly practice are particularly relevant in today’s polarised world. He was among the six professors of legal history who signed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the International Human Rights Clinic arguing that sovereign nations were expected to provide a remedy when their subjects committed violations of the law of nations, wherever the wrongs occurred. The case referred to the torture and degrading treatment of detainees at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and 2004.

“A beloved teacher, scholar, colleague, mentor, and friend, Nasser, an internationally recognized historian and theorist of law and colonialism, brought brilliance, passion, and a deep commitment to principle to all that he undertook,” said Catherine Epstein, Dean of the Faculty and Professor of History at Amherst College in a statement.

“Beyond the accomplishments of his intellectual life, Nasser was known for his irreverent wit, tremendous kindness, and unfailing generosity. He began teaching at Amherst in 1996 and has inspired countless students and colleagues.”

Amherst College is planning a memorial service for Nasser Hussain early next year.

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