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Joshua Freed

Personal Statement

I am a PhD. Candidate in Political Science at UC Berkeley specializing in the history of political thought, legal history, and the philosophy of law. My dissertation project, titled "Ghost of the Empire: Church, Law, and the Public Sphere, 1300-1650" examines how medieval jurists wrote and thought about the Church as a legal actor.

More broadly, I am interested in the legal history of democratic ideas and institutions, including theories and mechanisms of citizenship, exclusion, unfreedom, and accountability. 

Academic Subfields
Political Theory & Philosophy
Candidate Statement

My dissertation project examines how jurists wrote and thought about the ‘Church’ as a legal and political actor and as an active reformer of legal, bureaucratic, and political institutions from roughly 1300 to 1650 in Western Europe. I use texts and commentaries on Spanish, feudal, canon, and civil law, as well as city-statutes, to show that the Church (and the lawyers of, and against the Church) was instrumental in transforming ideas about citizenship, democratic participation, civil asset forfeiture, penal institutions, record keeping, and territoriality.

Primary Subfield
Political Theory & Philosophy
Public Law & Jurisprudence