School of International and Public Affairs, 420 West 118th Street, Room 918, New York, NY 10027
Speaker: Ethan Michelson, James and Noriko Gines Department Chair in East Asian Languages and Cultures, Professor in Sociology, Academic Director of the IU China Gateway, Indiana University
Moderator: Yao Lu, Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
Using 'big data' computational techniques to scrutinize cases covering 2009–2016 from all 252 basic-level courts in two Chinese provinces, Henan and Zhejiang, Ethan 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 talk discusses key findings from his new book of the same name. 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. Michelson 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.