Keynote speakers

Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School will be the conference keynote speaker. Each of the four conference themes will be introduced by a keynote as well: Building the state in Asia by Anthony Reid, Australian National University. Asian Developmental States by Andrew MacIntyre, Australian National University. Citizenship in Asia by Steven Wilkinson, Yale University. Developing the rule of law by Patrick Glenn, McGill University.

The Politics of Legal & State Reform in Northeast Asia

Professor Tom Ginsburg
University of Chicago Law School

In the postwar period, Japan, Korea and Taiwan all had similarly structured legal systems, which were rooted in the developmental state model. I characterize this as the Northeast Asian Legal Complex and it had three main elements: autonomous judges operating in a limited zone of activity; a small private bar; and administrative insulation through law.  All three countries experienced significant pressures in the 1990s, resulting from the end of the Showa bubble in Japan, and democratization in Korea and Taiwan.  The politics and dynamics of legal and state reform were very different; yet the three countries ended up adopting a similar set of institutions, including lay participation in criminal decision-making, reformed models of judicial selection and legal education, and greater levels of administrative transparency.  Japan’s state transformation has been less significant than those of the other countries, as it is still an outlier in two important areas of legal reform: criminal procedure and constitutional adjdication.  This paper explains the outcome not as a result of global pressures, but of a competition of ideas associated with modernity and national hierarchy.

Keynote speech

Building the state in Asia

Professor Anthony Reid
Australian National University

The Diverse Origins of Asia’s Nation-states

A world-system of competitive nation-states, theoretically equal in absolute sovereignty (inadequately labelled the ‘Westphalia system’) has been the prevailing orthodoxy since 1945, even though due for an overhaul in the contemporary era of global interdependence.  Asia, however, had the longest and richest experience of a diversity of different systems, most of which were anything but equal.  While the ‘sovereign equality’ of Westphalia is a helpful fiction in many respects, it can lead to unrealistic expectations unless informed by the very different backgrounds of contemporary Asian states.

At one extreme is the Northeast Asian pattern of perduring states with more than a millennium of experience of some of the features of modernity (monopoly of violence, bureaucracies open to talent, a literary canon, etc) but none of the concept of sovereign equality. At the other are the many stateless peoples of southern Asia, whose experience of bureaucracy and the state’s monopoly of violence was a 20th Century one established by an imperial order relatively neutral in ethno-cultural matters.  The lecture will explore these differences and attempt some typology, while  pondering the constraints of these different heritages on contemporary conditions of plurality within a global order.

Asian Developmental States

Professor Andrew MacIntyre
Australian National University

Asian Developmental States: the Past, the Present and the Future

The spectacularly rapid economic transformation of East Asia in the second half of the twentieth century stimulated enormous scholarly effort to explain how the transformation came about and why the East Asian experience was so different to that of other parts of the developing world. With some allowance for the region's diversity, this resulted in the concepts of an "East Asian model" and of the "developmental state" gaining wide currency. This paper reflects on the utility of those concepts and argues that key trends across the region are such that they are becoming poor approximations of the reality of government in Asia today.

Citizenship in Asia

Professor Steven Wilkinson
Yale University

Citizenship in Asia

Political participation, for many in Asia, did not begin with independence. The colonial states, authoritarian and discriminatory as it was, tried to preserve and prolong their power by including more and more Asians within representative bodies that existed for sometimes decades before the departure of the imperial power. Even those formerly excluded from the franchise could sometimes exercise influence because of their connection to those parties and individuals who could vote. This paper looks at the legacies of political representation before independence for the period after. How did the colonial experience affect levels of democracy, conflict, party development and clientelism after independence?

Developing the rule of law

Professor Patrick Glenn
McGill University

Asian Rule of Laws

The rule of law is widely adhered to but impossible to define.  It varies greatly in the jurisdictions of its apparent origin and its advocacy generally dissolves into advocacy of a given national model.  Whichever model is chosen it is inadequate for exportation, and is usually failing, or close to failing, in its home jurisdiction.   Asia’s ancient civilizations will choose and develop the rule of law which is appropriate in their circumstances.  The model will vary from state to state but since Asian states are more evidently cosmopolitan in character than those in Europe and the Americas, it is appropriate to speak of a rule of laws rather than a rule of law.

Last Modified: 11-12-2012