Decoupling: Gender Injustice in China’s Divorce Courts

Mon, Mar 28, 2022, 4:30 pm
Louis A. Simpson building, Room A71 & Zoom
Registration Required - open to the public
Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China

All in-person attendees must pre-register for the event in accordance with University policy. Please register HERE.

This event will be simultaneously broadcast via Zoom. To Zoom register, click HERE.

Refreshments will be served.

Please meet at 4:15 PM at the outside entrance closest to A71. This entrance is located on the Shapiro walk level and below the fountain level (picture attached/below). The doors are locked, someone will let you in at 4:15 pm; please do not walk in with others entering the building.

A71 Shapiro Walk Entrance

Michelson will present key findings from his new book (Cambridge University Press) on Chinese courts, judicial decision-making, family law, gender violence, and the limits and possibilities of the globalization of law. Michelson’s analysis of almost 150,000 divorce trials reveals routine and egregious violations of China’s own laws upholding the freedom of divorce, gender equality, and the protection of women’s physical security. Using “big data” computational techniques to scrutinize cases covering 2009–2016 from all 252 basic-level courts in two Chinese provinces, Henan and Zhejiang, Michelson reveals that women have borne the brunt of a dramatic intensification since the mid-2000s of a decades-long practice of denying divorce requests. This book takes the reader upstream to the institutional sources of China’s clampdown on divorce and downstream to its devastating and highly gendered human toll, showing how judges in an overburdened court system clear their oppressive dockets at the expense of women’s lawful rights and interests.

Ethan Michelson is the James and Noriko Gines Department Chair in East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Professor of Sociology and Law at Indiana University Bloomington, where he has been teaching courses on law and society, law and authoritarianism, and contemporary Chinese society since 2003. He has won several awards for his published research on China’s legal system.

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