Course Description

This seminar is designed to give students an appreciation of the role of law in Chinese society, in the past, and today. We will begin the seminar with an examination of law in traditional Chinese society, which constituted perhaps the world's most influential alternative to the Western legal tradition. We then look briefly at past efforts to "modernize" Chinese law, during the Republican period before 1949, and during the influence of Soviet law after 1949. The remainder of the semester will be spent on China's current efforts to establish a legal system, focusing on topics such as constitutional law and human rights, intellectual property law, environmental law, or corporate law. The exact topics covered will depend upon students' interests. Students will write papers, and will present those papers to the class during the last few sessions. Grading will be on the basis of the papers and the

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, students will be familiar with the legal tradition of Imperial China, which in world history has been the most influential alternative to the Roman law tradition.

They will also be familiar with China’s efforts to modernize its legal system along Soviet lines, and according to Western European and American models.

Finally, they will be have examined in detail several areas of contemporary Chinese law, allowing them to understand how China’s current legal reform efforts are affected by the political and economic development context in which the law functions.

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