This course will explore major topics in Chinese legal history through selected readings of primary and secondary sources about substantive law, legal institutions and the supporting political-philosophical norms, as well as through the study of imperial-era legal cases and literary representations of the legal system in operation. The course will be divided into segments: A first segment will introduce some of the basic concepts, philosophical bases and institutions supporting the traditional, pre-imperial and then imperial, Chinese legal orders, and orthodox perceptions (by both Chinese and foreigners) of that legal order. The second segment will explore in more detail the actual operation of the traditional Chinese legal system, with an emphasis on the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Provisional Republican, Beiyang Government, KMT party-ruled state, and Communist pre-1949 base area systems. A third segment will analyze specific areas of historical legal order development, including public international law from the 18th century, company law, and constitutionalism in the Chinese world.
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