« UMMA Exhibit - Tradition Transformed: Chang Ku-nien, Master Painter of the 20th Century - January 23 through April 18, 2010 | Main | Recent CCS Lectures on Michigan TV Channel 22 »

January 07, 2010

Winter 2010 CCS Noon Lecture Series - Thomas Buoye

Christian Chroniclers of Chinese Cruelty: Western Misperceptions of Chinese Criminal Justice

January 19, 2010
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

For a variety of psychological, political and economic reasons, Western observers have historically misrepresented China's legal heritage and criminal justice system. At least since the eighteenth century, critics have cited several infamous "miscarriages" of justice involving Westerners to illustrate the inequity of Chinese law. A variety of facile dichotomies often have obfuscated rather than illuminated China's legal heritage. These include the oversimplified notion of Confucian versus Legalist ideologies and the Weberian-inspired constructions of modern/rational versus traditional/irrational law. Similarly, the conflation of the legal practices and institutions of the People's Republic of China with the imperial institutions has contributed to Western misunderstandings. This presentation will examine one wellspring of misinformation, Christian missionaries' depictions of Chinese criminal justice.

Tom Buoye is associate professor and chair of the History Department at the University of Tulsa. His dissertation on violent disputes over property rights in eighteenth-century Guangdong was directed by Albert Feuerwerker and Ernest Young. Most recently he has been working on Qing legal history, particularly the administration of capital punishment.

Posted by zzhu at January 7, 2010 04:22 PM