Teemu Ruskola


Professor of Law, Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations

Teemu Ruskola is Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations as well as Professor of Law. He is a scholar of Chinese law and society in a comparative and global context, with an interest in China’s place and role in the development of social theory. He is the author of Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law (Harvard University Press, 2013), co-author of Schlesinger’s Comparative Law (Foundation Press, 2009), and co-editor (with David L. Eng and Shuang Shen) of a special double issue of the journal Social Text on “China and the Human.” He has also published widely in law journals, from the American Journal of Comparative Law to the Yale Law Journal.

Ruskola is currently working on two book projects. The Unmaking of the Chinese Working Class: A Brief history of Inequality in the PRC analyzes the ongoing reorganization of rural and urban capital in China, marking a transition from a politically enforced inequality between city and country to a legally structured inequality between the rich and the poor, with further implications for both labor and domestic relations. Ruskola’s second project, China, For Example: China and the Making of Modern International Law, investigates the history of the introduction of Western international law into China as part of the globalization of Euro-American conceptions of sovereignty.

Ruskola is an elected member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. He has received several national and international awards for his interdisciplinary scholarship, 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).

Ruskola received undergraduate and graduate degrees in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his law degree from Yale University. He worked as an associate with the U.S. law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and Hong Kong before entering academia. Prior to joining Penn, he was the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law at Emory University, with affiliations in Comparative Literature, East Asian Studies, History, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. He has been a visiting professor at Cornell University, Georgetown University, and Princeton University, among other places.