Debating Property Rights: Land Market, Semi-Colonial Law, and Chinese Industrialization in Shanghai and Guangzhou, 1830 to 1950


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants




My dissertation examines and theorizes the emergence and development of what I conceptualize as a “treaty port property regime” in the Chinese treaty ports of Shanghai and Guangzhou from the 1830s through the 1950s. I argue that the fusion of Chinese customary practices of land transaction and Anglo-American legal discourse on property rights, safeguarded by a joint Sino-Western administrative and court system, prompted Chinese capitalist modernization in these semi-colonial port cities. Eschewing simplistic labels such as “Eurocentric” or “Orientalist,” my project explores the intermingling of Chinese and Anglo-American notions of property rights in localized settings of Semi-colonial port cities.