Professor B.M. Oomen (1969) has been named Professor by Special Appointment in Legal Pluralism in the Faculty of Law at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). The chair was established by the Amsterdam University Fund (Stichting Amsterdams Universiteitsfonds, AUF).
Barbara Oomen conducts research into the relationship between law and cultural diversity and the manner in which fundamental rights play a role in and affect various social and cultural situations. Her doctoral research addressed the influence of the South African constitution and human rights on the daily practice of customary law and traditional leadership in rural regions. In recent years, she has investigated the local legitimacy of transitional justice mechanisms like international criminal tribunals and truth commissions in countries such as Rwanda and Uganda. One of her recent lines of research concerns the extent to which the Netherlands enjoys a human rights culture and the usefulness of legal anthropological concepts such as legal consciousness in the analysis thereof. In addition to her research, Oomen will lecture at the UvA on legal pluralism, a field that deals with the coexistence of different normative orders, whether or not accorded formal legal recognition.
Oomen has been an Associate Professor in Law at the Roosevelt Academy, which is the honours college of Utrecht University in Middelburg, since 2006. She studied Law and Political Science and graduated with distinction from the UvA, after which she obtained her Doctoral degree, also with distinction, in Leiden. Oomen received the Law & Society Association Dissertation Award for her PhD thesis. She received a Veni grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and a Fulbright New Century Scholarship for her research into transitional justice. Oomen has also worked at Columbia University and the University of Cape Town. She is a member of such groups as the Human Rights Commission of the Advisory Council on International Affairs, the Scientific Commission of the Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO, is Chairwoman of the Platform for Human Rights Education and is a member of the editorial board of the Recht der Werkelijkheid journal. She also regularly writes opinion pieces for the newspaper de Volkskrant.