Law Review Symposium Examines ‘The Asian Century'
The 2010 UC Davis Law Review Symposium drew a large crowd of King Hall faculty, students, alumni, and staff to the Wilkins Moot Courtroom on February 26 for a discussion of the increasing influence of Asia on economic development, human rights, and the law. The symposium featured presentations by Professors Lisa R. Pruitt, Madhavi Sunder, Keith Aoki, and Afra Afsharipour, as well as opening remarks by Dean Kevin R. Johnson, and closing remarks by Professor Anupam Chander. Professors Diane Marie Amann, Bill Hing, and Miguel Méndez served as panel moderators, and Professor Sunder introduced a keynote address by prominent philosopher Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at University of Chicago Law School.
The symposium, entitled "The Asian Century?" featured a series of panel discussions examining different aspects of how the rise of Asia, exemplified in rapid economic development of China and India, may bolster or hamper efforts to expand human capabilities.
In her keynote address, Nussbaum focused on education and the problems associated with adapting Asian models for American classrooms. In particular, she criticized the current tendency to praise educational systems in China and Singapore, which concentrate on rote learning and standardized test scores, while neglecting the example of India's Rabindranath Tagore, who placed more of an emphasis on liberal arts, which Nussbaum said are critical to the development of self-criticism, multi-cultural awareness, and other skills vital to citizenship in a democracy.
"If we turn to Asia, let us praise what deserves praise," Nussbaum said, suggesting that "the humanistic aspects of the Confucian tradition" and "the vision of Tagore" offer more relevant examples for democratic societies.
Panel discussions included "Human Rights Under Stress," which featured Professor Pruitt with Anil Kalhan, Associate Professor of Law, Drexel University School of Law, and Holning Lau, Associate Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law; "The Concept of Asia in International Law" with Professor Aoki and Tom Ginsburg, Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School, and Teemu Ruskola, Professor of Law, Emory Law School; and "Lost in Translation?" with Professor Afsharipour, Peter Yu, Kern Family Chair in Intellectual Property Law, Drake Law School, and Yong-Sung (Jonathan) Kang, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law.