UC Law lecture examines religious expression for imprisoned persons

SpearIt, Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, will present a lecture based on his new book, Muslim Prisoner Litigation: An Unsung American Tradition, at 12:15 pm, Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, in Rm. 160 of the College of Law. Faculty and students are invited to attend this event.  

About the Lecture

Since the early 1960s, incarcerated Muslims have used legal action to establish their rights to religious freedom behind bars and improve the conditions of their incarceration, safeguarding the civil rights not only of imprisoned Muslims but of all those confined to carceral settings. Spearlt will discuss this missing chapter in the history of Islam in America while illuminating new perspectives on the role of religious expression and experience in the courtroom. The presentation will be dynamic, actively engage the audience and feature visual representations of his research.

About the Lecturer

SpearIt, Professor of Law

SpearIt, Professor of Law

SpearIt, Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, is an internationally recognized scholar and teacher. He is the author of the recently released book Muslim Prisoner Litigation: An Unsung American Tradition (University of California Press 2023), which examines the history of Muslim prisoner litigation through the lens of OutCrit jurisprudence, and American Prisons: A Critical Primer on Culture and Conversion to Islam (First Edition Design 2017).

Currently, he is a contributing editor at JOTWELL Criminal Law. He also serves on the American Bar Association’s Corrections Committee and serves as an Affiliate Faculty at the Center for Security, Race, and Rights at Rutgers University.

Professor SpearIt’s scholarly offerings include Understanding an American Paradox: An Overview of The Racial Muslim: When Racism Quashes Religious Freedom, 50 Hastings Const. L. Quarterly 141 (2023); Muslims in American Prisons: Advancing the Rule of Law through Litigation Praxis, 3 Harvard J. Islamic L. 29 (2022); 9/11 Impacts on Muslims in Prison, 27 Mich. J. Race & L. 101 (2022); Bargaining Away the Constitution, JOTWELL (6/23/22) (reviewing Carissa Byrne Hessick, Punishment Without Trial: Why Plea Bargaining is a Bad Deal (2021)). 

He also wrote the following: Clarence Thomas would be in Trouble if he were a Regular Judge, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/27/23; Christians who follow Jesus Should oppose the Death Penalty. So should Conservatives, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/3/23; Litigious Zeal, Inquest, 11/8/22; “Shootings Proclaim War on Terror is Dead,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review (6/1/22). Additionally, he was recently interviewed on the podcast, “Law According to a King” in the episode entitled In God We Trust (1/14/22), and was quoted in TIME Magazine, “‘I Don’t Think You’re Going to be Eating Tonight.’ Muslims Describe Ramadan in U.S. Prisons” (5/12/21) and in the American Bar Association, "Challenging Systemic Racism with Human Connection," (2/26/21).

As an instructor, Professor SpearIt has taught a range of courses including Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law, Sentencing, Corrections Law, and Professional Responsibility, among other courses. He has taught at a number of law schools including Saint Louis University, Seattle University, Texas Southern University, University of Arkansas, and Gonzaga University. In addition, he has taught at San Quentin State Prison.

Professor SpearIt earned a bachelor's in philosophy, magna cum laude, from the University of Houston, a masters of theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara, and his JD from the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

Lead photo: Istockphoto.com; SpearIt: Univ. of Pittsburgh


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