Bernard K. Freamon
Professor of Law
Professor Freamon's primary teaching focus is in evidence and legal philosophy, with a particular concentration in Islamic Jurisprudence and Islamic Legal History. He also has strong interests in ethics, international law, comparative law, and Anglo-American legal history. In recent years, Professor Freamon has increasingly turned his attention to the problem of slavery in the Islamic world. His J.S.D. doctoral dissertation, submitted and approved in 2007, is concerned with conceptions of equality in Islamic Law and their relation to the problem of slavery in Islamic legal history.
Professor Freamon currently teaches Evidence, Islamic Jurisprudence, Prisoners' Rights, Post-Conviction Remedies, Professional Responsibility, Civil Rights, Law in the Modern Middle East, a course on Slavery, Human Trafficking and the Law, and research seminars on Topics in Islamic Law and Jurisprudence and the Legal Implications of the Recent Middle East Revolutions. He is the Director of the Law School's Program for the Study of Law in the Middle East, based in Cairo, Egypt. The Program is currently in a hiatus due to recent onrest in the Middle East. In a recent initiative, Professor Freamon has also organized a winter intersession study abroad program in Zanzibar, Tanzania, focusing on the twin problems of modern day slavery and human trafficking. The program began operation in the winter of 2007-8 and is now in its eighth year. Every winter the program attracts between 20 and 30 law students from all over the world to Zanzibar to study slavery and human trafficking.
Consistent with these initiatives and his research interests, Professor Freamon is currently pursuing a major research and writing project on the abolition of slavery in the Islamic world. His forthcoming book, "Islam, Slavery, and Empire in the Indian Ocean World," will be the first installment in that effort. In 2007 he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. In November, 2008 he was an organizer and co-convener of an important Gilder Lehrman international conference at Yale entitled "Slavery and the Slave trades in the Indian Ocean and Arab Worlds: Global Connections and Disconnections." The conference attracted a number of significant scholars from around the world and the conference papers together with several other submissions were published in 2013 in a Yale University Press publication, entitled "Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition," edited by Professor Freamon and Yale Professors Robert Harms and David Blight. In 2010-2011, he participated in a convocation of scholars seeking to address important jurisprudential issues raised by efforts to redefine slavery and slave trading, in response to national and international efforts to criminalize human trafficking and related behaviors. His submission, entitled "Definitions and Conceptions of Slave Ownership in Islamic Law," is a chapter in a larger collection of submissions, entitled "The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary," published by Oxford University Press in 2012 ( Jean Allain, Editor).
Professor Freamon has wide experience, and has lectured, consulted, and published in the areas of Islamic Jurisprudence, Islamic Legal History, American Legal History, Comparative Law, Evidence, Prisoners' Rights, Slavery and the Law, and Professional Ethics. In March 2010, Professor Freamon was elected to membership in the American Law Institute, the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work aimed at clarifying, modernizing and improving the law. In 2011 he was appointed co-rapporteur to the Islamic Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association. He recently completed a year as Chairperson of the Section on Islamic Law of the Association of American Law Schools and he was one of the conveners of a ground-breaking conference on "The Teaching of Islamic Law at American Law Schools," sponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School. He is the author of a number of articles and book chapters in Islamic law and jurisprudence, including "Martyrdom, Suicide and the Islamic Law of War: A Short Legal History," in the Fordham International Law Journal, "Some Reflection on Post-Enlightenment Quranic Hermeneutics," published as part of a symposium on the future of Islamic law scholarship in the Michigan State Law Review and "The Emergence of a New Qur'anic Hermeneutic: The Role and Impact of Universities in West and East," which is part of a collection entitled "The Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shari'a" (London: I.B. Tauris, 2008). The collection is a festschrift of invited submissions from scholars in Islamic law honoring Professor Frank Vogel, the retired Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program at Harvard. Professor Freamon is also the author of two entries in the recently published Encyclopedia on Antislavery and Abolition (Greenwood Press, 2007), one entitled "The Qur'an and Antislavery," and the other entitled "The Ideological Origins of Antislavery Thought." His entry "Slavery," appears in the recently published Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (Princeton University Press, 2012). In addition to his work on slavery and equality, Professor Freamon also has an interest in the Islamic law of war and the intersection of Islamic law, Islamic legal history, and international criminal law. He recently delivered a lecture on jihad at a University of Virginia Law School symposium organized by the U.S. Army War College and his Fordham International Law Journal article on the reinterpretation of the concept of martyrdom in the Islamic law of war is widely cited.
Professor Freamon was the founding director of Seton Hall Law School's Center for Social Justice and served for five years as Chairman of the Board of Essex- Newark Legal Services. He is a member of the Board of Editors of the New Jersey Law Journal and he served as an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey ACLU from 1998 until 2008. In the 1999-2000 academic year, Professor Freamon was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at NYU Law School. He has been a visiting professor at Washington & Lee School of Law in Lexington, VA and at Rutgers Law School in Newark, NJ. His international experience includes two years on the law faculty of the University of Nairobi in Nairobi, Kenya and a sabbatical semester in 1993 as a special student at Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, the premier educational institution in the Sunni Islamic world.
Professor Freamon received his B.A. from Wesleyan University and his J.D. from Rutgers University (Newark). He also possesses LL.M. and J.S.D. degrees from Columbia University School of Law. He came to Seton Hall in 1979.
LAW REVIEW ARTICLES
Some Reflection on Post-Enlightenment Qur’anic Hermeneutics, 2006 MICHIGAN STATE LAW REVIEW 1403 (2008)
The Origins of the Anti-Segregation Clause in the New Jersey Constitution, 35 RUTGERS L. J. 1267 (2004)
Martyrdom, Suicide, and the Islamic Law of War: A Short Legal History, 27 Fordham Int'l L.J. 299 (2003)
Slavery, Freedom, and the Doctrine of Consensus in Islamic Jurisprudence, 11 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 1 (1998)
A Blueprint for a Center of Social Justice, 22 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1225 (1992)
"Public Censure for Bigoted Speech: A New Perspective" in Crossfire--Censure and the Academic Community, 1 SETON HALL CONST. L.J. 5 (1989)
Death with Dignity Laws: A Plea for Uniform Legislation, 5 SETON HALL LEGIS.J. 105 (1982)
A Review of the Rights of Terminally Ill Patients, 1 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 80 (1982) (with Linda Mehling)
"Slavery," Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, Princeton: Princeton University Press (2012)
"Ideological Origins of Antislavery Thought," in 1 Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition, at 345-357, Westport, Conn. and London, U.K.: Greenwood Press (2007)
"Qur'an and Antislavery," in 2 Encyclopedia of Antislavery and Abolition, at 555-560, Westport, Conn. and London, U.K.: Greenwood Press (2007)
Peer Review Physicians and the State Action Exemption: Are They Protected When They Act in Bad Faith?, 9 Preview of U.S. Sup. Ct. Cases 247 (1988)
Evidence: Cases and Problems, 2nd Edition, Harrison, Norcross, Ga., 1995 (1995) (with Bracy, Raitt, Bodensteiner, and Klebba)
BOOKS AND BOOK CHAPTERS
Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition, New Haven: Yale University Press (forthcoming 2013) (Co-Editor with Robert Harms and David W. Blight)
"Straight, No Chaser: Slavery, Abolition and Modern Islamic Thought," in Indian Ocean Slavery in the Age of Abolition, New Haven: Yale University Press (forthcoming 2013) (Robert Harms, David W. Blight, and Bernard K. Freamon, eds.)
"Definitions and Conceptions of Slave Ownership in Islamic Law," in The Legal Understanding of Slavery: From the Historical to the Contemporary, Oxford: Oxford University Press (2012) (Jean Allain, ed.)
"Islamic Law and Trafficking in Women and Children in the Indian Ocean World" in Trafficking in Slavery's Wake: Law and Experience of Women and Children, Athens: Ohio University Press (2012) (Benjamin Lawrance and Richard L. Roberts, eds.)
The Emergence of a New Qur'anic Hermeneutic and the Role and Impact of Universities in West and East, in The Law Applied: Contextualizing the Islamic Shari'A, London: I.B. Taurus (P. Bearman, W. Heinrichs, and B. Weiss, eds.) (2008)
Action Research for Justice in Newark, N.J., in Educating for Justice: Social Values and Legal Education, pp. 167-193 Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing (Jeremy Cooper and Louise Trubek, eds.) (1997)
"A Danish Trojan Horse: Law and the Muhammad Cartoons", Jurist (2006)
"An Optimistic Democrat," review of "After Jihad" by Noah Feldman, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York (2003)
"A Primer in Islamic Law," a review of Laleh Bakhtiar's Encyclopedia of Islamic Law: A Compendium of the Major Schools, Kazi Publications, Chicago (1995)
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Islam, Slavery, and Empire in the Indian Ocean World, (book manuscript)
The Williams Theses and the Abolition of Slavery in the Indian Ocean World, (book chapter)
A Pietistic Egalitarianism: the Holy Qur'an, Slavery, and the Elusive Quest for Understandings of Equality in Islam
The Problem of Slavery in Islamic Law and Culture
Teaching Resistance to Victims of Human Trafficking