- (812) 856-1521
- East Asian Languages and Cultures
- IU Bloomington
My interest in China started with studying the language as an undergraduate student at McGill University. After struggling for a year, I abandoned Chinese language study in frustration. But it was an anthropology class on contemporary China (with Laurel Bossen) the following year that renewed my interest and pushed me to give Chinese language study another chance. I devoted the summer of 1991 to intensive language training at Xiamen University. (The moral of the story: it's a difficult language to learn, but don't give up!) After graduating in 1992, I spent a year studying Chinese at Nanjing University before pursuing graduate studies in sociology at the University of Chicago. Since the early 1990s I have lived in China for over eight years, four of which were spent in Beijing collaborating with scholars at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Renmin University of China.
My recent book, Decoupling: Gender Injustice in China’s Divorce Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2022), is a “big data” analysis of almost 150,000 divorce trials from all 252 basic-level courts in two Chinese provinces, Henan and Zhejiang. It reveals and explains routine and egregious violations of China’s own laws upholding the freedom of divorce, gender equality, and the protection of women’s physical security.