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, social, or legal relations with the United States. Examples of topics covered include China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, the problems and opportunities of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Myanmar’s recent elections, the proposal to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution, increased tensions in U.S.—Russia relations, and Thailand’s political crisis. There will be an organizational meeting of the seminar early in the semester (date TBD) to discuss the course requirements, especially the 20-page research paper. The seminar itself will have eight sessions held on Wednesday evenings from March 2 through April 27. The first seven sessions will be in a video-conference format with Far Eastern National University in Vladivostok, Russia. (Note that, due to Russia no longer observing daylight savings time, the sessions on March 2nd and March 9th will be from 6:10-7:40p, with the final five sessions on March 16th, March 30th, April 6th, April 13th, and April 20th being 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 27th and will be a presentation of final papers (exact time TBD). The seminar will be taught in Madison by 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.
What roles do law and legal institutions play in economic development? Does legal system development lag economic development, or is a "good" legal system a prerequisite of 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 play a positive role in supporting legal system reform in developing countries? What economic theory would, or should, inform such efforts? What about democratic legitimacy, or national sovereignty? And what about countries like China, or South Korea before it, where high speed growth has gone hand in hand with seriously flawed legal orders? These are the kinds of questions we will explore throughout the semester, as we look at the history of ideas and practices in the field of Law & Development, as well as at national case studies. Students will write and present research papers on topics they choose, and these papers, together with class participation and short response papers, will provide the basis for grading.