On Wednesday, March 23, 2016 Professor Alison Conner spoke at USALI about her life and interests in law and history. As a graduate of South East Asian Studies and Chinese studies as well as law, Professor Conner shared her stories teaching law at Nanjing University Law School, National University of Singapore and University of Hong Kong. From there, she developed a fervent interest in the portrayal of law in Chinese films. In her presentation, she showed Chinese films during the Republican era such as the Goddess, Street Angel and Long Live the Missus to illuminate Chinese legal development at that time.
More about Professor Conner:
Alison W. Conner joined the faculty at William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, in 1995 after nearly twelve years of teaching and research in Asia. She earned her Ph.D. in Chinese and Southeast Asian history at Cornell University and her law degree at Harvard Law School, where she specialized in Asian and comparative law and was a research fellow in the East Asian Legal Studies Program. Following law school, she taught Chinese and East Asian history and then spent five years practicing law on Wall Street before moving to Asia in 1983.
During the 1983-84 academic year, she taught as a Senior Fulbright Professor at the University of Nanjing's Department of Law. From 1984 to 1986 she was a member of the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore, teaching courses in Singapore law. In 1986 she joined the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Law, where she taught both Hong Kong and Chinese law as a tenured member of the faculty. In 2004 she returned to China on her second Fulbright award and taught comparative law as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Law at Beijing's Tsinghua University, and she has continued to teach in other programs in Hong Kong and Australia. During spring 2014 she served as the inaugural resident director for the University’s study abroad semester in China.
Professor Conner writes on modern Chinese law and Chinese legal history, especially in areas relating to the legal profession and legal education. But she also maintains her broader interests in Asian history, art and cinema. Her most recent research has focused on the depiction of law and the legal system in classic Chinese movies, which she loved when she first saw them in Hong Kong in the 1980s. A frequent speaker on the topic, she served as co-convener of two law and film symposia (in 2012 and 2013) and organized the Law & Film Institute at the Law School.