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Chinese speaker series

“What could a criminal know of the law? Republican Chinese Legal Reform from the very bottom up,” presented by Professor Johanna Sirera Ransmeier, University of Chicago

Time: March 23, 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Location: TBA, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322

Open and free to the public

Throughout the first decades of the twentieth century legal reformers, judges, and bureaucrats and politicians strove to create a stable legal system for a modernizing China. As people in the new republic began to understand themselves as citizens rather than subjects, their expectations of the legal system rose. For some, this was accompanied by increased awareness of the contents of the laws, and an evolving understanding of the mechanics of how the judicial system could or should function. In this talk, Ransmeier examines the perspective of convicted criminals on changing laws. 

About the speaker

Professor Ransmeier's research explores the relationship between family life and the law in modern China, often through the lens of crime. She is presently completing a book on the trafficking of people in North China during the late Qing and Republican period. Transactions in people remained an intimate and essential part of life for many throughout this time of transition. This book demonstrates that despite traffickers most frequent protestations, poverty was not solely to blame. Traditional Chinese family structure itself enabled a highly flexible market for everyone from slaves, servants, wives, concubines, wet nurses, prostitutes, private drivers, funeral musicians, and apprentice street performers.