AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 431

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Session 431: Roundtable: We the People:Contitutional Founding in Postcolonial East Asia

Organizer: Sung Ho Kim, Yonsei University, South Korea

Discussants: Jiunn-rong Yeh, National Taiwan University, Taiwan (R.O.C.); Teilee Kuong, Nagoya University, Japan; Li-ann Thio, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Bivitri Susanti, University of Washington, Seattle, USA; Chaihark Hahm, Yonsei University, South Korea

Virtually all constitutions in East Asia were written after 1945 in the course of postwar and/or postcolonial transitions. And yet relatively few attention has been paid to East Asia’s “constitutional moments” from a comparative perspective. This lacuna is even more noticeable in light of recent scholarly interests in the phenomenon of constitutional founding, which have been reinvigorated lately by the fundamental political/legal changes in (would-be) democracies after democratization (e.g., South Africa and former Soviet bloc), violent conflicts (e.g., Iraq and Afghanistan), and sovereign nation-states (e.g., European Union). Building on the latest theoretical perspectives on constitutional founding, this roundtable of political and constitutional scholars will revisit the post-1945 constitutional moments in East Asia. It will explore the ways in which the East Asian experiences might shed light on the theoretical understanding of the flurries of constitutional founding activities in the contemporary world, while highlighting the historical uniqueness of East Asia’s own. This roundtable will be a continuation of the mutual dialogue on this topic among the group of Asian scholars who will have been convened under the auspices of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law in 29-31 October 2010.