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CSLS Speaker Series: Ke Li

Monday, February 25, 2019 @ 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

The Center for the Study of Law and Society 
is pleased to announce the next speaker in the Spring 2019 CSLS Speaker Series




Ke Li is Assistant Professor of Political Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York


Speaking on her book

Marriage Unbound: Divorce Litigation, Power, and Inequality in Contemporary China 


Two weeks past the lull of the Chinese New Year, Qinchuan People’s Tribunal reached a decision. It ruled against a divorce petition filed by a villager named Lan Yu. Taking Lan Yu’s case as a window on present-day divorce law practices in Chinese courts, this talk provides at once a close-to-the-ground and a bird’s-eye view of the power courts exercise in shaping citizens and particularly women’s access to divorce. This power has a long, winding history. In connecting the dots between court practices now and those through the history of the People’s Republic of China (1949-present), this talk historicizes, contextualizes, and dissects the mechanisms of power by which courts—especially those at the grassroots level—have restricted marital dissolution. Three mechanisms stand out: excessive reliance on case withdrawal, outright denial of divorce, and stalling marital dissolution by imposing involuntary cooling-off periods. Through those mechanisms, courts in the reform era (1978-present) have continued to dovetail divorce law practices with nation-state-building objectives, with organizational needs and wants, and certainly with judges’ professional interests. Understanding those mechanisms, I argue, is crucial for the efforts to reconceptualize disputation, the central theoretical objective of a larger book project. It also helps explain how divorce litigation comes to reinforce and reproduce gender inequality in Chinese society, the key empirical puzzle this book sets out to solve. 



Please join us on Monday, February 25 from 12:45-2:00p in the Philip Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Ave. 


Excerpts from Marriage Unbound are available via email and in hard copy at the Center.


Coffee and water are provided. We invite you to bring your own “bag lunch.”
We are looking forward to seeing you soon!


Jonathan Simon, Faculty Director

Rosann Greenspan, Executive Director



Monday, February 25, 2019
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Center for the Study of Law and Society


Philip Selznick Seminar Room
2240 Piedmont Ave
Berkeley, CA 94720-2150 United States
+ Google Map

Events are wheelchair accessible. For disability-related accommodations, contact the organizer of the event. Advance notice is kindly requested.

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