A Certain Justice: Toward an Ecology of the Chinese Legal Imagination


Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars


East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Comparative Literature


For residence at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences during academic year 2015-2016


How has justice been envisioned and pursued in Chinese culture and society? Is “liberty and justice for all” a first principle in the Chinese legal imagination? This project approaches justice as a juridical, ethical, aesthetic, ecological, and cosmological concept as it emerges from a variety of verbal and visual genres ranging from traditional courtroom drama and knight-errantry tale to modern detective fiction and spy thriller, as well as media and intellectual debates on law and morality, human and animal rights, and social justice. The investigation is structured around five interlocking keywords—justice, violence, guilt, dissemblance, and the exception—and situated at the intersection of literary genre studies, critical legal studies, moral and political philosophy, and cognitive science.