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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


Business Associations, Chinese Law, Comparative Law, Contracts


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.