Course Descriptions

General Course Descriptions for Terms: China

872 - Legal Issues: North America & East Asia

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, social or legal relations with the US. The first formal session of the seminar will be on Wednesday, March 23, 2011, at 6:30 PM at which we will discuss the current state of economic and legal relations between the US and East Asia. I expect to explore such topics as Sino-American economic relations, including the issue of the undervalued Rmb and the US policy of QE2, China’s relations with its neighbors as a result of the maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas, and the tense environment on the Korean Peninsula, but events between now and then may make these topics obsolete.    As in past years, the heart of the seminar will be five videoconferences with students and faculty of Far Eastern National University in Vladivostok, in the Russian Far East. The format of the five sessions, March 30, April 6, 13, 20 and 27 in Madison, will involve a live link-up with FENU beginning at 7:00 PM (10:00 AM, Thursday morning in Vladivostok). Each of the five sessions consists of an initial presentation originating in either Madison or Vladivostok and followed by questions and discussions from both sides. The seminar is conducted in English.   The course will be taught in Madison by Professor Charles Irish and in Vladivostok by Professor Natalia Prisekina.   The course will be offered for 2 credits. The course requirements are attendance and active participation in the five videoconferences and a 20 page research paper on a topic related to North America and/or East Asia. Although the first formal session of the seminar will be on March 23, work on the paper should begin at the beginning of the spring semester and proceed according to the following schedule:

Friday, February 4: selection of paper topic.  Friday, February18: 1 ??" 2 page outline with a listing of the major sources.   Wednesday, March 30: First draft of the paper.   Wednesday, April 27: Final draft of the paper.

Students interested in the course should contact Professor Irish by email at and explain briefly why you are interested in the course. Because of the videoconference format, admission to the course will be limited to 12 students.


940 - Chinese Law

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.

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