Professor Karen Musalo attended Brooklyn College, graduating with a B.A. in Comparative Literature (1973), and UC Berkeley School of Law (1981). She has been with UC Hastings since 1997, following years of teaching, as well as lawyering in the nonprofit world. She has written numerous articles on refugee law issues, with a focus on gender asylum, as well as religious persecution, and conscientious objection as bases for refugee status.
Professor Musalo has contributed to the evolving jurisprudence of asylum law not only through her scholarship, but through her litigation of landmark cases. She was lead attorney in Matter of Kasinga (fear of female genital mutilation as a basis for asylum), which continues to be cited as authority in gender asylum cases by tribunals from Canada to the United Kingdom to New Zealand. Her recent litigation victories include Matter of R-A-, and Matter of L-R-, two cases which establish that women fleeing domestic violence may qualify for refugee protection. Her work examines the linkage between human rights violations and migration, with a focus on the phenomenon of femicides in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras and its relation to requests for refugee protection from women from these countries. She directs the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, which is internationally known for its cutting edge research and legal advocacy and for its program of expert consultation to attorneys around the world. Professor Musalo, along with Professor Richard A. Boswell, cofounded the Hastings to Haiti Partnership.
Courses Taught: Refugee Law & Policy, Refugee & Human Rights Clinic
Expertise: Refugee Law, Women’s Rights, and Clinical Education