East Asian Legal Studies Center

About the East Asian Legal Studies Center

The East Asian Legal Studies Center (EALSC) was founded in 1990.  In the past decades, the EALSC has played a major role in the University of Wisconsin Law School's activities in East Asia.  It established extensive partnerships with academic institutions in the region and initiated or co-sponsored a variety of conferences and outreach programs. A list of our partner institutions is available here.

Currently, the EALSC's main tasks are to support faculty and student research on East Asian legal issues, organize talks and conferences on campus, host visiting scholars from East Asia, develop and maintain academic partnerships in East Asia, and promote East Asian legal studies at the University of Wisconsin and beyond.

"Divorce in China: Women's Quest for Freedom"

Professor Ethan Michelson, 

University of Indiana-Bloomington

Ethan Michelson

On March 3, 2014, University of Wisconsin Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies Center hosted Ethan Michelson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Law at Indiana University, to give a presentation titled, “Divorce in China: Women’s Sisyphean Quest for Freedom.” Professor Michelson presented a new project that analyzes court data from Henan Province in China starting in 2009. Through downloading the entire Henan court’s website, Ethan Michelson and his team have been able to collect over one million cases. The focus of this study has been on divorce in Henan and the trends over the last seven years. The team observed that in cases where both parties do not consent to divorce, there is only a 40% approval rate in the first attempt. The parties must submit evidence of the breakdown of mutual affection, such as long periods of separation, extramarital affairs, or evidence of physical abuse. Judges almost never grant divorce in the first attempt in cases of non-consent, even if this evidence exists. In the second attempt, however, there is almost an 80% approval rate. In the rural areas, the team found that more women initiated divorce than men, but in the cities, the ratio was roughly fifty-fifty. At the present time, all Henan court documents have migrated over to one website under the Supreme People’s Court and divorce cases are no longer published, making the data gained by Professor Michelson and his team incredibly valuable.

"Trump Ascendance, the U.S. Decline, and the New World Order: Implications for U.S. Economic Relations with East Asia" 

by Professor Emeritus Charles Irish on February 7, 2017 


On Tuesday, February 7, 2017, Professor Emeritus Charles Irish presented a talk at the University of Wisconsin Law School titled, "Trump Ascendance, the U.S. Decline, and the New World Order: Implications for US Economic Relations with East Asia." Professor Irish commented on President Trump's recent election and how it will have enormous impact on U.S. trade policy. Some of the actions that President Trump has proposed are withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, leaving the North American Free Trade Agreement, and destroying existing bilateral trade agreements. Trump has focused specifically on renegotiating trade with China because China accounts for roughly half of the U.S. trade deficit in goods. While Professor Irish recognizes the valid concern of Americans who have lost manufacturing jobs on account of globalization, he argues that decisions like these by Trump may have a marginal effect on the number of new jobs available in the U.S. What will likely increase in the U.S. is foreign direct investment by companies who are fearful of exclusion from the U.S. market. 

Happy Chinese New Year! 


EALSC and Graduate Programs co-sponsored a gathering of students, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars to celebrate the Year of the Rooster. It was an opportunity for students and scholars from Asia to share their cultural traditions with the UW Law School community from the rest of the world.

Contact details

c/o Research Centers, UW Law School
975 Bascom Mall, Room 6218
Madison, WI 53706-1399  
U.S.A Telephone: 608-890-1395

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