1920 - 2014
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SEIDMAN, Robert Benjamin Passed away at his home in Milton, MA on April 3. Born February 24, 1920, Professor Seidman was the much loved husband of Ann Seidman; father of Jonathan, Judy, Katha, Gay and Neva; father-in-law of Christine, Zeph, Heinz and Tom; and beloved grandfather and great-grandfather. He was Professor of Law and Political Science at Boston University from 1974 to 2013. In the course of his career he also taught at the University of Wisconsin Law School, as well as law schools in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Beijing. With Ann Seidman, an economist, he taught short courses in law and development and legislative drafting around the world, from Bhutan to South Africa, and contributed to constitutional drafting in Namibia, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Before becoming an academic, he practiced as an attorney in Connecticut and New York. In World War II, he served in the Coast Guard (seconded to the US Navy), earning a commendation ribbon as captain of an LST. He studied at Ethical Culture, Fieldston, Harvard and Columbia. He was a passionate sailor, aficionado of bad jokes, and insightful theorist of legislative drafting and jurisprudence. A family funeral will be held on April 6, 2014. The date of a public memorial will be announced soon. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the International Consortium for Law and Development (ICLAD). Visit for information and guestbook.

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Published in Boston Globe from Apr. 5 to Apr. 6, 2014.
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3 entries
June 8, 2017
My wife and I had been in China for three years, and I was not aware of Bob's passing until I visited Leiden University last week and heard the news. I found there a student using a framework from Bob and Ann to assess "fit for purpose" land administration. And I presented a paper on land tenure dualism in China that contained seeds planted by Bob and Ann when I studied under Bob at UW-Madison in the 1970's.
Bob planted many such seeds. He was a stimulating and challenging teacher, and brought a rigor to law and development that had often been lacking in earlier discussions. He was a good listener, which cannot be said for many such intellectual powerhouses. I was very fortunate to have had to opportunity to study with him and the other faculty members who formed a penumbra around the Land Tenure Center.

His passing is a great loss but he leave behind a remarkable body of insightful work. Thanks, Bob, and my fond regards to Ann and the family.

John Bruce
February 16, 2017
I just learned of the death of a great man whom I have never met but exchanged emails and spoke few times with him. He was a very kind and helpful professor yet down to earth and humble. I came to know him thru my studies in Human Rights Law. May the creator rest his soul in peace and endow him with highest degrees in heaven. He was a man of good deeds. I am sure every person who came to know him will miss him but his legend will outlive all of the people who knew him. Hence, our prayers to the Creator to rest his soul in peace and to endow patience to all members of his family and friends.

Majid Shunnag,
Human Rights Lawyer,
April 8, 2014
He had a way with expressing ideas that still sound in my ears Here's one in paraphrase: "It's like when Ann and I prepare supper. We don't go the the grocery store to get the best ingredients. We open the fridge and the cupboards, and see what we can cook. . . . It's the same with countries. They don't get to start from scratch either, but come with their histories, fears, hopes and land."
Watching Bob and Ann teach together--I first saw their work in Malawi in 1973--was like watching a fast tango. Whirling ideas, a few fast steps, joy in the movement between the two partners.
--Barbara Brown
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