Matiangai Sirleaf

Assistant Professor of Law

Biography

Matiangai Sirleaf is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University Pittsburgh School of Law. She previously served as an assistant professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law, a Sharswood Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a lecturer for the International Human Rights Exchange Programme run by Bard College and University of the Witwatersrand, teaching courses in international law, criminal law, human rights and transitional justice. Her work focuses on remedying the accountability and responsibility gaps that exist in international law. Her current research agenda analyzes the disproportionate distribution of highly-infectious diseases and the role of law in facilitating this result. Her scholarship has appeared in well regarded general and international law reviews. Her most recent publication is the Responsibility for Epidemics, 97 Tex. L. Rev. 285-351 (2018). The University of Pittsburgh awarded Professor Sirleaf the Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award in 2019. She served as a visiting associate professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law during the fall semester of 2019.

From 2010 to 2012, Sirleaf worked in private practice with Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll in Washington, D.C., where she represented plaintiffs in numerous international human rights cases litigated in federal courts. Prior to that, she served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, as a fellow with the International Center for Transitional Justice, as a summer associate with Debevoise & Plimpton in New York City, and as a law clerk with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia. She received her JD from Yale Law School in 2008, her MA from the University of Ghana (Legon) in International Affairs in 2005 while on a Fulbright Fellowship and her BA from New York University in 2003. In 2014, she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award from New York University.

Key/Recent Publications

Other Publications:

Selected Presentations

  • University of California Los Angeles School of Law, Los Angeles, CA (Jan. 2020), invited speaker, UCLA Law Review Symposium: Transnational Legal Discourse on Race and Empire, panelists on Socio-Economic Equality and Rights, presented draft Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • Saint Louis University School of Law, St. Louis, MO (Sept. 2019), selected speaker for Health Law Scholars Workshop, presented draft of Disposable Bodies & Experimental Trials.
  • Chapman University School of Law, Orange, CA (Sept. 2019), one of eight invited participants nationally to Third Annual Junior Faculty Works-in-Progress Conference, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • Penn State Law School, University Park, PA (June 2019), selected for intensive workshop at 13th Annual Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Workshop, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases (paper selected for edit-letter review by Yale Law Journal).
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, IL (June 2019), selected for panel at 42nd Annual Health Law Professors Conference, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • Duke Law School, Durham, NC (May 2019), Culp Colloquium, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • Duke Law School, Durham, NC (May 2019), Center for International and Comparative Law’s Women in International Law Research Workshop, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Chicago, IL (April 2019), International Law Colloquium, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (April 2019), Global Health Inequities & Infectious Diseases Workshop, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • University of Colorado Law School, Boulder, CO (April 2019), Faculty Colloquium Series, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT (April 2019), panelist on Transitional Justice and Accountability After Mass Crimes at conference on Human Rights and the Politics of Solidarity.
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA (April 2019), interdisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Global Studies Center on Defining the Neglected Tropical Diseases, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • McGill University, Montreal, Canada (Mar. 2019), Margins of Accountability Workshop prior to International Studies Association 2019 conference held in Toronto, Canada discussed next steps for Responsibility for Epidemics project.
  • University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA (Mar. 2019), panelist on Race, Socio-economic Inequality & Human Rights at conference on Critical Perspectives on Race and Human Rights: Transnational Re-Imaginings, presented draft of Racial Valuation of Diseases.
  • University of Dayton School of Law, Dayton, OH (Mar. 2019), panelist on Global Governance – Reconstruction or Falling Through the Cracks? 2019 Gilvary Symposium, Things Fall Apart or Creative Destruction?: The Future of the Rule of Law in International Governance.
  • Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya (Sept. 2018), keynote speech on Regionalizing International Criminal Law presented at conference on 20 Years Since the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – the Status of International Rule of Law, and Access to International Criminal Justice in Africa.
  • University of Colorado Law School, Boulder, CO (Aug. 2018), International Law & Racial Justice Workshop, presented emerging idea on Disposable Bodies of Color: Experimental Trials & the Racial Economy of Treatment.
  • National University of Singapore Faculty of Law, Singapore (July 2018), Third World Approaches to International Law Conference, presented draft of Responsibility for Epidemics.
  • SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas, TX (July 2018), Lutie Lytle Black Women Law Faculty Workshop and Writing Retreat, presented draft of Responsibility for Epidemics.
  • Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA (June 2018), Culp Colloquium, presented draft of Responsibility for Epidemics.
  • University of Richmond Law School, Richmond, VA (May 2018), Mid-Atlantic Junior Faculty Forum, presented emerging idea on Disposable Bodies of Color: Experimental Trials & the Racial Economy of Treatment.
  • Yale Law School, New Haven, CT (Apr. 2018), speaker at a conference on Solidarity: Sustaining the Struggle for Human Rights in a Fractured World, panelist on The Ethics and Politics of Finding Facts and Making Truth.
  • University of Illinois College of Law, Champaign, IL (Mar. 2018), Women in International Law Research Workshop held at the Illinois Center, presented draft of Responsibility for Epidemics.

Other Activities

  • The Office of the Provost awarded Professor Sirleaf’s collaboration with a team of multi-disciplinary scholars at the University of Pittsburgh a Teaming Grant to support their effort to pursue large-scale external funding for a project aimed at Understanding the Development and Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases. Read more here.
  • The University of Pittsburgh awarded Professor Sirleaf the Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award for 2019. This award annually recognizes outstanding scholarly accomplishments of members of the University of Pittsburgh's faculty. Junior Scholar Awardees include faculty members who, by virtue of the exceptional quality of their early contributions, have demonstrated great potential as scholars and have achieved national and international standing as an outstanding scholar. Read more here.
  • The American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics (ASLME) announced at the annual Health Law Professors Conference that Professor Sirleaf was selected as one of four Health Law Scholars for 2019. The selected scholars were invited to present their work at the 2019 Health Law Scholars Workshop. The annual workshop is jointly sponsored by St. Louis University School of Law and ASLME. Professor Sirleaf’s abstract Disposable Bodies and Experimental Trials was selected through a competitive process. Sirleaf presented her research in progress and received in-depth advice from experienced health law academics. Read more here.
  • The University Center for International Studies (UCIS) at the University of Pittsburgh awarded Professor Sirleaf a Faculty Fellowship for AY 2018-19. The purpose of the UCIS Faculty Fellowship is to enable faculty members to undertake projects or acquire skills that enhance the University’s capabilities in some branch of international studies. Prof. Sirleaf will use the fellowship to organize a workshop that will bring together a multidisciplinary group of scholars and students at the University of Pittsburgh and beyond to examine global health inequities in the distribution of infectious diseases as well as prepare a scholarly journal article for publication. Read more here.
  • The University of Pittsburgh awarded Professor Matiangai Sirleaf, Assistant Professor of History Mari K. Webel, and Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, Michael R. Dietrich the Social Science Research Initiative (SSRI) grant for AY 2018 - AY 2019. Their proposal, “Understanding the Development and Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) – 1950 to Present,” interrogates the concept of NTDs, a category used to describe a set of diseases that highlight health inequities.
  • The African Studies Program, at the University of Pittsburgh awarded Professor Sirleaf a Faculty Research Grant for AY 2018 – 2019. The competitive grants are awarded to Pitt faculty affiliated with the African Studies Program to fund research related to Africa. The research grant will be used to fund Professor Sirleaf’s research investigating whether experimental clinical trials during the Ebola epidemic comported with international guidelines.
  • The Ford Institute for Human Security at the University of Pittsburgh's School of Public Affairs awarded Professor Sirleaf a research grant for AY 2016 - AY2018 to support her work on global health inequities and the distribution of infectious diseases. The annual competition supports the work of full-time or core non-tenured faculty for research and publication on a human security topic.
  • New York University Martin Luther King Jr. Humanitarian Award 2014, presented annually to an NYU alum, faculty, or staff member who embodies and exemplifies the characteristics promoted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.