China and Inner Asia
Session Abstract: Between 2011 and 2015, over 300,000 officials in China were punished. Accusations range from bribery to sexual corruption to failed job performance. Harshly disciplining officials and the population in the name of law is not a new phenomenon. This panel aims to examine convict politics from a comparative perspective. Dr. Cai examines criminalization of the bureaucrats in early imperial China, where around 40% of the recorded high officials were accused of violating the law and condemned. Meticulous legalization of job performances with idealized standards, she argues, was one of the major reasons that officials easily became convicts. Ms. Li approaches the criminalization of elites from the regulation of sexuality. She argues that in both the early Roman empire and early imperial China, adultery laws played important roles by enhancing the state’s control over the human body and the family. Dr. Folch examines the Greek prisons within the Roman Empire. He argues that those Greek prisons functioned as nodes of imperial interaction: spaces in which diverse actors— imperial governors and professional jurists, inmates, prison guards, local politicians, and the inmates' family members—negotiated the nature and scope of imperial power. Dr. Zhang explores the punishment of officials in the Ming dynasty. She illustrates that while the personal and the professional spheres were inseparable in the disciplinary regime, the punished officials’ personal reputations often stayed outside the state control. Dr. Kiely will comment if we could see some universal patterns from past to present regarding law, order, and political power.
Paper Presenter: Liang Cai – University of Notre Dame
Paper Presenter: Yunxin Li – Stanford University
Paper Presenter: Ying Zhang – Ohio State University
Paper Presenter: Marcus Folch – Columbia University