May 10
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
A New Enclosure Movement?

A New Enclosure Movement?


10 May 2024 (Friday) 6:00 – 7:00 PM
Academic Conference Room, 11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, The University of Hong Kong




The English working class was born in the wake of the Enclosure Movement, which dispossessed peasants of their land and left them with no option but to sell their labor, thus forming the foundation for the nation’s industrial proletariat. In China, too, there is occurring a similar dispossession of peasantry that is sometimes referred to as a ‘New Enclosure Movement.’ However, processes that took place over a period of some three centuries in England have been telescoped into just three decades in China. What is more, they are taking place in the opposite order: the initial commodification of industrial labor in the 1990s was accompanied by a seemingly inexhaustible stream of migrant laborers into cities even without large-scale commodification of rural land. Why, then, dispossess a peasantry that has already submitted to capital voluntarily, without the need to resort to forcible dislocation? The lecture answers this question from the point view of the changing legal structures of land and labor in China from 1949 until the present.


Professor Teemu Ruskola, University of Pennsylvania

Teemu Ruskola is Professor of Law and Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and a J.D. from Yale University. He is an interdisciplinary legal scholar whose work addresses questions of legal history and theory from comparative as well as international perspectives. Ruskola is the author of Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law (Harvard University Press, 2013) and co-author of Schlesinger’s Comparative Law (Foundation Press, 2009), among other works. Prior to joining Penn, he was the Jonas Robitcher Professor of Law at Emory University.


Professor Jedidiah Kroncke
Associate Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong


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