Faculty Profiles

Teemu  Ruskola

Teemu Ruskola

Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law; Affiliated Faculty Member in Program in East Asian Studies, Department of Comparative Law, Department of History, and Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Areas of Expertise

Chinese Law, Comparative Law, Contracts, Corporations, International Law, International Legal History and Theory, Law and Sexuality

Curriculum Vitae

Teemu Ruskola’s courses include Contracts, Business Associations, Comparative Law, and Chinese Law.  His wide-ranging scholarship addresses questions of legal history and theory from multiple perspectives, comparative as well as international, frequently with China as a vantage point.  

Ruskola is the author of Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law (Harvard University Press, 2013), and co-editor of Schlesinger’s Comparative Law (Foundation Press, 2009).  His articles—appearing in the Michigan Law Review, the Stanford Law Review and the UCLA Law Review, among other places—have explored the intersection of corporate and family law in China, the history and politics of Euro-American conceptions of sovereignty in the Asia-Pacific, and China’s historic status as an international legal subject. He is co-editor (with David L. Eng and Shuang Shen) of a special double issue of the journal Social Text on “China and the Human.”  Ruskola is currently working on a book entitled China, For Example: China and the Making of Modern International Law, which analyzes the history of the introduction of Western international law into China, and the implications of that process for the theory and politics of international law.

Ruskola has received several national and international awards, including fellowships at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Visiting Fellow, 2015-16), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (School of Historical Studies, 2014-15; School of Social Science, 2008-09), the American Council of Learned Societies (Munro Fund for Chinese Thought, 2014-15; Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship, 2002-03), and Princeton University (Law and Public Affairs Fellowship, 2006-07).  An elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law, Ruskola has taught and lectured widely on Chinese law, comparative law, and international law in the United States as well as in Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.  

After graduating from Yale Law School, Ruskola worked as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, in New York and Hong Kong.  Prior to joining Emory, he was professor of law at American University in Washington, DC.  He has been a visiting professor at Cornell Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Education: AB, Stanford University, 1990; Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies, Taipei, 1992; JD, Yale Law School, 1995; AM, Stanford University, 1999.


Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law (Harvard University Press, 2013).

Schlesinger's Comparative Law: Cases, Text, Materials (7th ed., Foundation Press, 2009) (with Ugo Mattei & Antonio Gidi)

Edited Collection

China and the Human (special double issue, co-edited with David L. Eng & Shuang Shen), 109 & 110 Social Text (2011-2012).

Journal Articles

"A Response to Professor Tan’s Review of Legal Orientalism," 128 Harvard Law Review Forum 220 (2015).

"What Is a Corporation? Liberal, Confucian, and Socialist Theories of Enterprise Organization," 37 Seattle University Law Review 637 (part of Sixth Annual Adolf A. Berle Jr. Symposium).

"Where Is Asia? When Is Asia? Theorizing Comparative Law and International Law," 43 UC Davis Law Review 102 (2011).

"Raping Like a State," 57 UCLA Law Review 1477 (2010).

"Gay Rights vs. Queer Theory: What’s Left of Sodomy After Lawrence v. Texas?," 84-85 Social Text 235 (2005).

"Conceptualizing Corporations and Kinship: Comparative Law and Development Theory in a Chinese Perspective," 52 Stanford Law Review 1599 (2000).

Book Chapters

"China and the Making of Modern International Law," in Oxford Handbook on International Legal Theory (Florian Hoffman & Anne Orford eds., Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2015).

"The East Asian Legal Tradition," in Cambridge Companion to Comparative Law 257 (Mauro Bussani & Ugo Mattei eds., Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Presentations and Media Appearances

“Serving the People? Conference on Comparative Perspectives on Corporate Governance and Employees’ Role in the Corporation,” University of Helsinki (May 7, 2015).

“Asia Time(s): The Question of Futurity” (Presidential Roundtable, Annual Meeting of Association of Asian Studies) Chicago (March 28, 2015).

“The Politics of Law and Development in the PRC” (International Relations Seminar at the School of Historical Studies’ Institute for Advanced Study) Princeton, New Jersey (February 18, 2015).

“Comparative Law Expanded: Methodology and Public Law in Nontraditional Comparative Legal Systems,” Works in Progress Program (commentator and discussant) at The Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting, Washington, DC (January 3, 2015).

“Toward a Global History of Chinese Law,” (roundtable), at The American Historical Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY ( January 2, 2015).

“Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law,” at the Centre for South Asian Studies, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada (November 11, 2014).

“China and the Making of Modern International Law,” at the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study’s weekly colloquium, Princeton, NJ (November 6, 2014).

“China, for Example: A Genealogy of Chinese Sovereignty Since 1492,” at the Center for Chinese Studies, University of California at Berkeley, California (October 31, 2014).

  • Also presented on this topic for the law faculty of National Taiwan University in Taipei (October 15, 2014).

“A Tale of Two Chinas: The Law and Politics of Economic Development,” at the East Asian Studies Seminar, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ (October 27, 2014).

“Object Lessons: The Macartney Embassy,” (keynote) at “Envisioning ‘Things’: An International Conference on Material Culture,” held at National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (October 18, 2014).

"Legal Orientalism," Video interview: China File, https://www.chinafile.com/library/books/Legal-Orientalism »  

"Race and Empire in East Asia. Race Across Time and Space," Mellon-Sawyer Seminar: University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA (April 11, 2014).

"Raping Like a State," Research seminar: Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Emory University. Atlanta, GA (February 25, 2014).

"Extraterritorial Courts Before Guantánamo," Section for Legal History, annual meeting of Association of American Law Schools. New York, NY (January 4, 2014).

"The Moral Responsibility of Firms," Wharton-INSEAD Corporate Ethics Conference, INSEAD European Campus. Fontainebleau, France (December 13, 2013).

"The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power," Panel discussion: Emory Law School. Atlanta, GA (November 4, 2013).

"Onko Kiinasta tulossa oikeusvaltio?" Panel discussion: China Law Week, University of Helsinki. Helsinki, Finland (October 8, 2013).

"Legal Orientalism," Faculty seminar: Faculty of Law, University of Helsinki. Helsinki, Finland (October 7, 2013).

"American Orientalism in Action," Faculty workshop: UCLA School of Law. Los Angeles, CA (September 13, 2013).

Law and Humanities Junior Scholar Workshop, Georgetown University Law Center (senior commentator). Washington, DC (June 4, 2013).

"The Political Economy of Corporation Law in China," Fifth Annual Adolf A. Berle Jr. Symposium on Capital Markets, the Corporation, and the Asian Century. Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales. Sydney, Australia (May 14, 2013).

"Secrecy and the War Powers," War and Security Workshop Series, Emory Law School (moderator). Atlanta, GA (April 8, 2013).

"Legal Orientalism," Symposium on Social Text special issue on “China and the Human,” Institute for International Law and the Humanities, University of Melbourne Law School. Melbourne, Australia (December 5, 2012).

"Legal Orientalism: A Global Genealogy of Chinese Law," East Asian Studies Roundtable, Emory University. Atlanta, GA (October 26, 2012).

"Legal Orientalism: A Global Genealogy of Chinese Law," Annual Meeting of European China Law Studies Association, University of Helsinki (keynote). Helsinki, Finland (September 24, 2012).

"Legal Orientalism: The District of China Is Not the Disctrict of Columbia,"Post-Colonial and Colonial Studies Workshop, Emory University. Atlanta, GA (September 18, 2012).

"Law and Being Human in the World," Law & Humanities Senior Scholar Workshop, University of California at Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA (June 11, 2012).

"Mapping Chinese Sovereignty," Conference on Cartographies of Legal Pluralism in a Transnational World, Center for Transnational Legal Studies. London, United Kingdom (April 27, 2012).

"Genealogies of Chinese Sovereignty Since 1421," Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA (April 23, 2012).

"The State of Transnationalism," Conference on “Transnationalism: A Useful Category of Analysis?” Department of English, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA (March 15, 2012).

"The District of China Is Not the District of Columbia," Faculty Workshop: School of Law, University of Texas at Austin. Austin, TX (February 27, 2012).

"Janet Halley’s Family Law Genealogy," Symposium on “From the Household to the Family.” Harvard Law School. Cambridge, MA (February 23, 2012).

"The District of China Is Not the District of Columbia," Faculty Workshop: School of Law, Washington University in St. Louis. St. Louis, MO (January 24, 2012).