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Upcoming AAS Panels sponsored by ISCLH March 26-27, 2015

ISCLH is proud to announce two wonderful panels it has successfully sponsored at the upcoming annual conference of the Association for Asian Studies in Chicago on March 26 and 27, 2015:

THURSDAY, 26 MARCH 2015 | 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Chicago Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Level 4, Sheraton Ballroom V

Comparative Perspectives on Confucian Justice and Imperial Rule in Chosŏn Korea and Qing ChinaSponsored by International Society for Chinese Law & History

Organizer | Li Chen | University of Toronto

Panel Abstract:

This panel provides a valuable opportunity to compare the legal cultures and judicial practice in Chosŏn Korea and Qing China in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Both societies then were heavily influenced by Confucian ideas of justice, benevolence, imperial legitimacy and social hierarchy. And these ideas in turn informed public expectations of how the authorities should administer law and treated the people. Jisoo Kim’s paper will analyze how victims of abusive judicial torture in Chosŏn Korea and their female relatives strategically invoked some of the Confucian ideals to press charges against the local judicial officers. This presented a thorny issue for the central government trying to support its local agents while claiming compassionate rulership. In comparison, Thomas Buoye explores the tensions between the Qing rulers’ desire for imperial control, which led to a rising number of capital statutes and offenders, and their desire to claim benevolent rule, which contributed to numerous unresolved capital cases awaiting mandatory imperial review in the Autumn Assizes. Although the Qing emperors often blamed local judges for causing such judicial backlog and treating capital offenders too leniently, Li Chen shows that a major cause for such imperial frustration lay in the feared loss of control over interpretation and administration of law as most local judges depended on private legal specialists to handle their judicial matters. These papers will illustrate how different social, cultural and political contexts enabled or limited individual and institutional actors in seeking justice, order, social recognition, or power.

Commentator: Bradly Reed, Univ. of Virginia


Jisoo M. Kim, George Washington Univ., “In Search of Justice: Making Accusations against Unjust Magistrate in Eighteenth-Century Korea”

Thomas Buoye, Univ. of Tulsa, “Imperial Pique and the ‘Benevolence of Women,’: The Politics of Criminal Justice in Eighteenth-Century China”

Li Chen, University of Toronto, “Politics of Justice and Knowledge of Law in Qing China.”

FRIDAY, 27 MARCH 2015 | 3:15 PM – 5:15 PM

Chicago Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Level 4, Sheraton Ballroom III

Legal Politics in the Qing Colonial TerritoriesSponsored by International Society for Chinese Law and History

Organizer | Max Oidtmann | Georgetown University

Organizer | Melissa Macauley | Northwestern University

Panel Abstract:

What was the “law” in the Qing’s outer territories in Mongolia, Tibet, and Xinjiang? Who made it and who used it? Over the last five years, large collections of archival materials from Qing-period agencies and offices in Inner Asia have become available to researchers, allowing for an unprecedented glimpse of grassroots legal politics. These archives reveal that Tibetans, Muslims, Mongols and other non-Han groups made extensive use of Qing institutions to resolve local conflicts. This fact has forced a reconsideration of basic questions about life in Inner Asia in the aftermath of the 18th-century Qing conquests. Was the local legal scene “pluralistic”? Who won in the Qing courtroom: indigenous people or the Qing state? Was there such a thing as “Qing jurisprudence”? The (re)emergence of these legal sources also permits historians of law in China to place the Qing expansion in a comparative framework with the better-studied contemporaneous colonial legal regimes. Was the Qing legal order “colonial”? How can a comparative study of the Qing legal order illuminate changes in legal practices and jurisprudence elsewhere in the 19th century world? This panel brings together four original papers to tackle these questions. Each paper presentation will run for twenty minutes. The final forty minutes will be reserved for a response from our discussant and conversation with the audience.

Area of Study: China and Inner Asia

Discipline(s): History, Law


Max Oidtmann, Georgetown Univ., “The ‘Warring States’ of Amdo: Qing Jurispractice and the Creation of the ‘Tibetan World,’ 1772-1911”

Wesley Chaney, Stanford Univ., “Stolen Land and Broken Families: Law and Disputes in Rebellion’s Wake”

Jianfei Jia, Indiana Univ., “Legal Pluralism in Penal Cases from the Qing’s Muslim Frontier: The Role of Islamic Law”

Eugene John Gregory, “U.S. Military Academy West Point, “Desertion and the Development of the Militarized Criminal Adjudicative Track.”



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