Post by J. Bourgon on 2017-09-16 21:49:44

Dear Translation Workshop Participants,

We are delighted to welcome you to Chicago and look forward to our translation sessions this coming week. We are privileged to have this chance to follow the methodology established by the Legalizing Space in China Project, and to build upon and contribute to their translation efforts. The statutes selected for this workshop come from sections of the Qing Code devoted to criminal procedure. This focus will give us insight into the administrative and procedural mechanisms of the Qing legal system to bring to each of our diverse research endeavors.

Please check your email as you should have received an email from an UChicago email address on how to access the university’s wireless throughout your stay. Your username will be the email address that we have been using to communicate with you.

We will be meeting regularly in the Regenstein library. Present your library pass to the security desk at the entrance of the Regenstein Library. Your library pass can be found within an envelope inside your welcome packet, which will be provided to you upon check in at the Quadrangle Club. While presenting your library pass should be sufficient for entry into the library, please be sure to bring a government or university issued ID card with you the morning of our first session in the event that they may need to verify your identity.

The translation teams are as listed below:

Group A: Statutes 314, 411, 422: Maura, Tom, Yiying, Luca, Du Jin, Alec
Group B: Statutes 394, 396, 416: Frederic, Dan, Janet, Tian Yuan, Chiu Pengsheng Group C: Statute 409: Jerome, Nancy, Wang Zhiqiang, Johanna, Stephanie, Andy

The schedule below provides an outline for how we will spend each day. This can evolve depending on where our various collaborative efforts and group discussions lead.

Sunday, September 17

6:00 PM

6:30 PM

Those already at the Quad Club can meet in the lobby to share cabs/uber to the restaurant. Chicago Graduate Students Dan Knorr and Tian Yuan will meet you. Please maintain any ground transportation receipts.*

Casual Dinner at Homestyle Taste
3205 S. Halsted St. 60608 Chicago, IL


Monday, September 18

8:45 AM 9:00 AM

9:20 AM 9:30 AM

10:15 AM


12:15 PM 12:30 PM

2:00 PM 4:00 PM

Meet in Lobby of Quad Club to walk together to Regenstein Library
Present your Library Pass to the security desk at the entrance of the Regenstein Library

Coffee and Pastries in the Regenstein Library, Room 552 Welcome Remarks and Orientation
Participant Self-Introductions

(Who are you? Where are you from? What have you worked on, and what are you working on now? What kinds of questions do you have about the code or about China’s legal history in general?)

Introduction and Update on Legalizing Space in China Project Questions for Legalizing Space Team
Graduate Student work-in-progress presentations
Walk to Quadrangle Club for lunch

Lunch at Quadrangle Club
Return to Regenstein Library
continue group work.

Reconvene with whole group for general discussion of ongoing translation work (Regenstein Library Room 522)

Independent Dinners*

Tuesday, September 19

9:00 AM 9:20 AM 12:10 PM 12:30 PM 2:00 PM 2:30 PM 3:45 PM

Coffee and Pastries Regenstein Room 522 Translation Groups
Depart for lunch at Salonica (1440 E 57
th Street) Lunch at Salonica

Graduate Student work-in-progress presentations
Translation Groups
(coffee etc. available at the Ex Libris Café on the first floor of the library)


4:00 PM Group Discussion Independent Dinners* Wednesday, September 20

9:00 AM

12:00 PM
12:30 PM
2:00 PM
3:00-3:15 PM Break
3:15-4:30 PM General Discussion (share and consider cross-fertilizing translations) 6:10 PM Meet in lobby to walk to dinner, or walk independently

6:30 PM Dinner at La Petite Folie, (1504 E. 55th Street)

Thursday, September 21

9:00 AM 9:30 AM 11:30 AM 12:30 PM 1:30 PM

Coffee and Pastries Regenstein Room 522
Translation Groups
Convene to discuss next steps / Report on allocation of follow-up tasks Sandwich boxes
Picnic around Library

Coffee and Pastries Regenstein Room 522 Translation Groups

Depart for lunch
Lunch at The Nile (1162 E. 55
th Street) Translation Groups

*Please maintain receipts for any ground transportation related to this workshop and submit to the Center for East Asian Studies. While certain meals have been prearranged as part of the program, we will reimburse you for meals outside of these occasions during your stay in Chicago. Please maintain your total and itemized receipts for submission.


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Post by J. Bourgon on 2014-11-29 19:57:21

Thursday 18: New Perspectives on Ancient China: Researches on Qin and Han Excavated Texts.


10h-13h: Qin-Han excavated texts reading session lead by Robin Yates and Anthony Barbieri-Low: Zhangjiashan legal documents and Liye administrative documents. 




Alain Thote : “Early Chinese Manuscripts Discovered in Tombs: the Case of Rishu 日書”

Marc Kalinowski : “Some remarks on the relationship between the Qin and Han excavated legal texts and daybook text type manuscripts.”

Marianne Bujard : “Rishu within the scope of Qin and Han religion”



Enno Giele : * Qin-Han manuscript letters

Eric Trombert : *Juyan and Dunhuang documents

Arnaud Bertrand : “Excavating the eastern administrative border of Dunhuang imperial commandery during the former Han dynasty”



General discussion


Friday 19: From Shuihudi to Liye, from law on paper to law in practice?

Morning (9-12):

  • “Forms of Legislation during the Qin and Han,” the different types of laws, including statutes, ordinances, precedents, etc., by Robin Yates
  • “The Evolution of Statutory Law from the Qin to the Han,” with highlight on some of the continuities from the Qin laws to the Tang Code, by Anthony Barberi-Low.

Afternoon (14-17): discussion, animated by three short presentations

            Jérôme Bourgon: From the redemption of punishments to their commutation and abolition: questions about “changes” and “progress” of the Chinese legal system under the Qin and Han dynasty

            Frédéric Constant: The “Confucianization   of law”, after the toppling of the “cruel Legalist dynasty of Qin”: An outdated historical myth?

            Luca Gabbiani: “Contracts” in Chinese history: some remarks and questions.

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Post by J. Bourgon on 2014-04-29 23:15:25

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Post by G. Foliot on 2014-04-05 23:26:02

This panel was proposal for Annual Conference of Association for Asian Studies on Saturday, March 29 from 17:00 to 19:00 in Room 401 on the fourth floor of the Philadelphia Mariott.


Area of Study: China and Inner Asia

Schedule Information: Sat Mar 29 2014, 5:00 to 7:00pm Building/Room: Philadelphia Marriott, Level 4 - Room 401

Session Organizer: Luca Gabbiani (École française d’Extrême-Orient)

Session Participants:

  • Unraveling the “Eight Characters”: Wang Mingde’s (fl. 1674) “Mother of the Code”
    Alison Bailey (University of British Columbia)
  • "To Know or Not to Know?" The Notion of fanshi bu zhi in Ming-Qing China's Juridical Thought and Judicial Practice
    Luca Gabbiani (École française d’Extrême-Orient)
  • Legal Procedure of Fact-Finding in Criminal Justice in Qing China
    Zhiqiang Wang (Fudan University)
  • Denunciation and Social Hierarchies: Legal Coherence and the Establishment of Categories in Chinese Legal Science
    Frederic Constant (University Paris Nanterre)

Discussant: Jerome Bourgon (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Chair: Thomas Buoye (University of Tulsa)


China has a long tradition of codified law anchored in an age-old “science of law” (lüxue), which nourishes the process of legal codification. In the twentieth century, the study of this tradition has mainly been undertaken by the Japanese school of juridical Sinology, while in the West, the idea that China had never established a proper

structure of positive law imposed itself, and with it the sense that throughout the country’s long history, the workings of its ruling institutions had been largely based on moral principles.

Yet, to consider the legal codes promulgated by the successive Chinese dynasties as mere efforts to formalize moral norms does not come close to conveying the multifarious nature of Chinese traditional law. The Qing Code for example, was the product of a firmly established juridical technique, which decisively determined its
contents. The aim of this panel is to show that a positivist reading of the Qing Code is not only possible but also central to a global comprehension of the coherence of imperial China’s legal order, of which the Code, precisely, was the corner stone.

In recent years, English-language Sinology has shed new and interesting light on the nature and workings of traditional Chinese law, underlining the importance of local sources, most notably judicial archives. In the process though, Chinese positive law and its underlying “legal knowledge” have been marginalized. This approach limits our understanding of China’s traditional legal culture and the time is ripe for a renewed interest in this legal culture’s most fundamental texts.

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Post by J. Bourgon on 2013-11-07 15:11:53

ENS-Lyon : projet « Régir l’espace chinois/Legalizing Space in China ».

UNIGE, Département d’histoire générale, Unité d’histoire moderne : équipe DAMOCLES

Colloque international/International Conference :

13-14 juin 2013



Université de Genève :

Uni Bastions, 5 rue de Candolle, salle B 111 (Bâtiment central 1er étage)


Organisation et coordination :

Jérôme BOURGON – Michel PORRET



L’extorsion d’aveux destinés à servir de preuve a été pratiquée par la plupart des systèmes judiciaires. Quelles techniques, quels instruments, quels discours, quelles oppositions la torture judiciaire a-t-elle suscités dans trois grandes civilisations — l’Europe, l’Islam, et la Chine ? Quand et comment la torture y a t-elle été abolie ? La torture judiciaire chinoise, qui n’a encore fait l’objet d’aucun colloque ni d’aucun ouvrage, sera pour la première fois sur la sellette. // Extorting confession to serve as evidence on trial has been practiced by most judiciaries all over the world. What were the practices, the tools of judicial torture, and what kind of doctrinal argument were used to legitimize it, what kind of criticism or opposition did it raise in three great civilizations— Europe, Islam, China? When and how did they abolish it? Judicial torture in China, a topic that was never devoted any study yet, will be for the first time put under scrutiny.

Programme du Colloque /Conference Schedule

Jeudi 13 juin/Thursday 13 June

9:00-9:30: Reception/Welcome

9:30-9 :45 Adresse inaugurale : Nicolas Zufferey (UNIGE, doyen de la Faculté des Lettres)

9:45-10:30 Keynote speech: John Langbein (Yale U. Fac of Law) 


10:45-12:30 : Justifying torture/ Justifier la torture (chair : John Langbein)

Robert Jacob, Construire la vérité judiciaire sous un Ciel omniscient. Notes d'histoire comparée sur la légitimité de la torture dans les systèmes juridiques occidentaux et chinois.

Tam Ka-chai, Controversies to the Morality and Effectiveness of Judicial Torture in Novels and Casebooks from late Ming China.



14:00 -15:30 Practicing torture/Pratiquer la torture (chair : Michel Porret)

Céline Golay, L'usage de la torture judiciaire dans la République de Genève au seuil des Lumières.

Nancy Park, Discourses on Judicial Torture in Official Handbooks


16:00-17 :30 Torture as evidence/La preuve par la torture (chair : Luca Gabbiani)

Sonia Vernhes Rappaz, Épreuve de la souffrance et preuves du crime: pratique de la question judiciaire à Genève au XVIe siècle.

Wang Zhiqiang, Practice of torture and the question of fact-finding in early eighteenth century China through local and central archives.

Vers 18:30 : buffet d’honneur


Vendredi 14 juin/Friday 14 June


9:00-10:45 : Codifying torture, quantifying pain/ Codifier la torture, mesurer la douleur (Chair : Luca Gabbiani)

Michel Porret, La machine et les techniques du corps : pour une histoire matérielle de la question tout autour de la Constitutio Criminalis Theresiana (1769).

István T. Kristó-Nagy, Corrupt officials torturing corrupt officials at the peak of the Islamic empire (under the rule of the Umayyad and ‘Abbāsid dynasties).

Jérôme Bourgon, “Spitting the truth” (tushi吐實): assessing the right amount of pain to ensure veracious confessions.


11 :00-12:30 : Questioning Torture/La torture sur la sellette (Chair : Jérôme Bourgon)

Luigi Delia, Un mal nécessaire ? La torture dans les recueils juridiques à l'âge des Lumières.

Dimitri Vanoverbeke, Japanese law and torture in transition (1868-1880).




14 :00-15 :30 : Does abolition mean suppression?/Abolir, est-ce supprimer ? (Chair J. Langbein)

Sun Jiahong, Abolishing judicial torture: from the 1870s debates arisen by the Japanese abolition to the 1905 Chinese decrees.

Laure Zhang, Illégale, mais régulière ? Le recours à la torture dans les cas passibles de la peine de mort en Chine contemporaine.

16 :00-17 :00 : Conclusions/General discussion and conclusion

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Post by J. Bourgon on 2011-01-19 02:37:45

Report on “Legalizing Space in China: The Shaping of the Imperial Territory through a Layered Legal System”


Lyon, January 20-22, 2011


Fifteen scholars[1] around the world specializing in East Asian history and law gathered at the Institut d’Asie Orientale (IAO) of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon on January 20-22, 2011, for intense and highly productive discussions on Chinese law codes.  The workshop served as a launch pad for a four-year project led by Jérôme Bourgon (CNRS-Universté de Lyon-IAO).  The main objective of the project, funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) of France, is a juridical translation of the the Ming and Qing (statutes) and tiaoli (appended substatutes), codified from the fifteenth through the late nineteenth century. 

The project focuses on contextual and spatial dimensions.  It intends to link the translation of the codes with other legal texts and jurisprudential knowledge, thereby providing insights on how the codified laws, starting as local measures, were systematized and extended over time and in particular how they were applied in practice.  The discussion at the workshop centered on substantive and concrete questions about the implementation of the project.  Substatutes numbered 200 to 300 during the Ming period, growing to nearly 2,000 by the end of the Qing.  The sheer size of the code poses a challenge for any translation efforts, especially for a project like this one that envisions to include not only code articles but related regulations as well as judicial cases.  The participants agreed that ensuring accuracy and usefulness of translation would be more critical than attempting completeness, and decided to concentrate on the most frequently used parts of the code.  The project aims to compile a comprehensive glossary of legal terms, with English and French equivalents, which is expected to become a full-fledged dictionary of Chinese law. 

Special attention will be paid to examining the relationship between state law in the center with provincial and local rules, and also the connection between the Ming-Qing code and laws and regulations outside China, those of the Mongolian, Tibetan, and Korean people for example.  There was consensus among the particpating scholars that the project should investigate how legal texts were tied with actual judicial practice in situ across the Chinese imperial territory and the peripheries.  It is expected that such a defined focus will lead to a veritable mapping of the various legal rules in force in the sinicized world. 

The progress of the project, proceeding in tandem with the research of the individual members in their respective fields, will be continuously made available online.  The project website,, has been launched and will include databases of related materials, layouts of the Chinese legislation, and the maps of the administrative boundaries of the Ming and Qing Empires, among others.  As part of the project, a bi-weekly seminar devoted to translating and studying the code and related documents will start in Paris under the direction of Jérôme Bourgon and Frédéric Constant.  The first meeting, scheduled on March 11, 2011, at the Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, will begin with articles from the Part One of the Chinese penal code, headed “Names an Rules” (Mingli lü).  The seminar is open to and welcomes all researchers and advanced students interested in studying the Chinese legal tradition through the original texts of Chinese law. It intends to invite Scholars able to help highlighting issues and translatingarticles of the Ming and Qing code.


For further information and inquiries, please contact Jérôme Bourgon (   






The participants in the workshop were Jérôme Bourgon (CNRS-IAO), Claude Chevaleyre (EHESS, Paris), Frédéric Constant (Université Paris X), Luca Gabbiani (Ecole Française d’Extrême Orient, Taipei Center  ), Yonglin Jiang (Bryn Mawr College), Marie Seong-Hak Kim (St. Cloud State University), Rui Magone (Max Planck Institut, Berlin), Kentaro Matsubara (University of Tokyo), Hélène Piquet (Université du Québec à Montréal), Pierre-Emmanuel Roux (EHESS, Paris) , Yigong Su (Tsing-hua  University, Beijing), Zhiqiang Wang (Fudan University, Shanghai), Yanhong Wu (Zhejiang Univesity, Hangzhou), Ning Zhang (Université de Genève), and  Xiaoye Zhang (University of Political Sciences and Law of China —Zhengfa daxue, Beijing).




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