North America & East Asia

Course Page for Spring 2019 - Smithka, Chris

As its name implies, the Seminar on Legal Issues Affecting North America and East Asia will focus on contemporary topics involving Russian or East Asia economic, political, or legal relations with the United States. Examples of topics covered include China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, the proposal to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution, Thailand’s political crisis, and the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
There will be an organizational meeting of the seminar early in the semester (date and location TBD) to discuss the course requirements, especially the 20-page research paper. The seminar itself will have eight sessions held on Wednesday evenings from February 27 through April 24. The first seven sessions, to be held in the Cisco TelePresence Room in the Discovery Building, will be a videoconference format with students at Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia. (Note that, due to Russia no longer observing daylight savings time, starting March 13 the sessions will be held from 7:10-8:40p.) Each of the seven sessions will consist of initial presentations originating in either Madison or Vladivostok and followed by questions and discussions from both sides. The eighth and final session will be held on the evening of April 24 and will be a presentation of final papers (time and location TBD).

The seminar will be taught in Madison by Adjunct Professor Chris Smithka and in Vladivostok by Professor Natalia Prisekina. There may also be lectures by visiting scholars from countries in East and Southeast Asia. The course will be offered for two credits. Due to the space limitations of the Cisco TelePresence Room, this course is capped at ten JD students and seven LLM-LI students. Please reach out to Chris at with any questions about the course.

Learning outcomes:

1. Upon completion of this course, students should have acquired an understanding of East Asian legal systems and of current legal, economic, political, and social issues in East Asia.
2. Upon completion of this course, students should have acquired in-depth knowledge of a discreet area of international law through research and writing.
3. Upon completion of this course, students should have developed sensitivity for effective communication with law students from different cultural and legal backgrounds.

Recent Offerings of this course by this instructor

Spring 2019
Spring 2018
Spring 2017