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Seminar: Chinese Nationality Laws and Asian-American Identity

  • Event Date 2019-05-27 10:30:00 ~ 2019-05-27 12:00:00


Chinese Nationality Laws and Asian-American Identity


Norman P. Ho (Associate professor of law at the Peking University School of Transnational Law)

Short bio:

Norman P. Ho is an associate professor of law at the Peking University School of Transnational Law ("STL") in Shenzhen, PRC. His research interests are in legal theory and jurisprudence, with an emphasis on premodern Chinese legal theory, Confucianism and law, comparative jurisprudence, property theory, and Asian-American jurisprudence. He has served as a visiting fellow in the Asian Law Institute (National University of Singapore Faculty of Law) and in the Center for Chinese Law (University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law). Prior to joining the STL faculty, Norman was an associate in the Hong Kong offices of Morrison & Foerster and Slaughter and May, where his practice focused on capital markets and private equity transactions. He received his J.D. degree from NYU School of Law and his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chinese history from Harvard University.


Existing Asian-American Jurisprudence (AAJ) scholarship has largely focused its attention on American law’s impact on the experience of Asian-Americans in the United States, especially in relation to themes of racialization and identity. This talk adopts a transnational and comparative approach, focusing on how Asian-Americans – specifically, the identity of Chinese-Americans – are racialized and affected by perceptions in, and the nationality laws of, their ancestral home countries, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, or unofficially, Taiwan). Examining Chinese-Americans’ both social (namely, perceptions and expectations from PRC and ROC society) and legal (via nationality law) treatment in these countries arguably allows us to reconceptualize Chinese-American identity not simply as a narrative of Americanization, but also one of Sinicization. Coupled with perceptions of “foreignness,” “disloyalty,” and “inassimilability” in the United States, a twilight zone of Chinese-American identity then occurs, where Chinese-Americans are in a tug-of-war of sorts between what we might describe as “dueling vectors” of their American identity and the identity of their home countries. They may not feel fully accepted as “Americans,” but at the same time they may feel “too accepted” as “Chinese” by the PRC or ROC. I will discuss specific case studies, namely the experiences of Chinese-American ESL teachers working and living in the PRC and ROC, former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, and NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin, to highlight the tensions between Americanization and Sinicization of Chinese-American identity both by PRC and ROC society and also PRC and ROC nationality law.


May 27, 2019 (10:30 a.m. ~12:00 p.m.)


2nd Conference Room, Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica (9th Floor, North Building of Humanities and Social Science)


Miss Yang, +886-2-2652-5448,