General Course Descriptions for Terms: China
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 28 through May 2. 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 14 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 May 2 and will be a presentation of final papers (time and location TBD). The seminar will be taught in Madison by Adjunct Instructor 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 presentations. 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.
What roles do law and legal institutions play in the process of economic development? Does legal system development result from economic development, or is a "good" legal system a prerequisite to economic development? If a "good" legal system is indeed a prerequisite, can institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, or the aid agencies of the United States government play positive roles in supporting legal system reform in developing countries? What economic theory would, or should, inform such efforts? What about non-economic concerns such as democratic legitimacy, national sovereignty, or human rights? And what about countries like China, or South Korea or Taiwan in the past, where high speed growth has gone hand in hand with deeply flawed legal orders? We will explore these and other questions throughout the semester, as we look at the history of ideas and practices in the field of Law & Development, as well as national case studies. Students will write and present research papers on Law & Development topics of their choice, and these papers, together with class participation and short response papers, will provide the basis for grading.