Yun-Ru Chen

  • Name: YUN-RU CHEN
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Education: S.J.D., Harvard Law School
  • Tel: +886-02-3366-8957
  • email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Research interests: East Asian Legal History (Taiwan, China, and Japan), Chinese Legal Traditions, Critical Legal Studies, and Family Law, Globalization of Law
  • Education: S.J.D., Harvard Law School; LL.M., Harvard Law School; LL.M., National Taiwan University; LL.B., National Taiwan University (Minor in Economics)

Yun-Ru Chen is an associate professor of law at National Taiwan University. Her research interests focus on the versatility of the family across multiple levels from transnational perspectives, ranging from strategies in individual lives, its positions in the political economy of transforming states, to its roles in constructing national identities. She teaches areas of family law, legal history, legal theory (critical legal studies & legal realism), and globalization of law.

Taking colonial Taiwan as the vantage point, Prof. Chen’s doctoral dissertation suggests that ideas about nations and families were far from homogenous in the colonial encounter. She argues that it is not necessary that family law should play a reactionary role in developing nationalism in non-western societies. Her dissertation, awarded the best East Asian law thesis at Harvard Law School (The Yong K. Kim Prize), is being adapted into a book with the provisional title, “Paradoxes of the National Family Law in (Post-)Colonial East Asia: Taiwan as the Nexus.” Drawing on firsthand litigation records across successive political regimes, she has written extensively about how ordinary men and women interact with governmental entities, emphasizing how they adopt (and transform) both new and traditional methods of narrating legal stories. Currently, she is investigating the contractual, fluid, and thus "unorthodox" aspects of family traditions in Taiwan and East Asia.

Professor Chen received her Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) from Harvard Law School and completed her master's degree and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), with a minor in Economics, at National Taiwan University. She also successfully passed both the bar and judicial exams in Taiwan. At present, she is engaged as a guest researcher at the Waseda Institute for East Asian Legal Studies and serves as the secretary-general of the Taiwanese Legal History Association.


Journal Article

Chen, Y.R. (Forthcoming). Reception and Creative Deviation: A Global Legal Historical Genealogy Study of Family Law Exceptionalism in Colonial Taiwan .  NTU Law Review, Forthcoming. TSSCI-I [written in Chinese]


Chen, Y.R. (2023). Development in Legal History in 2020-2022:A Dialogue Between Legal Practitioners and Legal Historians, NTU Law Review, 52(Special Issue), 1381-1405. TSSCI-I [written in Chinese]


Chu, K.Y. & Chen, Y.R.  (2022). Gap between Law and Practice in Qing-Taiwan: Local Diversity of Posthumous Adoption. Taiwan Historical Research, 29(4), 71-120. THCI Core-I [written in Chinese]

Chen, Y.R. (2022). Legal Transplant in Society: An Omnipresent Aberrance? Chengchi University Law Review, Special Issue, 1-54.TSSCI-I [written in Chinese]


Chen, Y.R. (2022). Taking Separation Right Seriously: A Legal-Social History in Republican China (1912-1949). Chengchi University Law Review, 162, 93-178. TSSCI-I [written in Chinese]


Chen, Y.R. & Lin, Y.Y. (2020). In the Name of the Father/Mother?: Wills in Division of Family Property in Qing-Taiwan. Taiwan Historical Research, 27(1), 1-50. THCI Core-I [written in Chinese]

2019.10 Chen, Y.R. (2019). Bad(Wo-)man Theory of Traditional Chinese Law: From the Vantage Points of Adultery and Abduction Cases in Tan-Hsin Archives. Academia Sinica Law Journal, Special Issue, 371-454. TSSCI-I [written in Chinese]
2019.09 Chen, Y.R. & Huang, S.C. (2019). Family Law in Taiwan: Historical Legacies and Current Issues. NTU Law Review, 14(2), 157-218. TSSCI-II
2019.03  Chen, Y.R. (2019). Family Law and Politics in the Oriental Empire: Colonial Governance and its Discourses in Japan-Ruled Taiwan (1895-1945). NTU Law Review, 14(1), 1-51.TSSCI-II 

Chen, Y.R. (2018). Cases of Adultery and Abduction in Tan-Hsin Archives: Re-examining Legal Traditions in Qing-Taiwan. Taiwan Historical Research, 25(4), 21-73. TSSCI-I  [written in Chinese]


Chen, Y.R. (2014). 'Rule of Law' as Anti-Colonial Discourse: Taiwanese Liberal Nationalists' Imagination of Nation and World under Japanese Colonialism. Law Text Culture, 18, 166-197.


Chen, Y.R. (2013). Family Law as a Repository of Volksgeist: The Germany-Japan Genealogy. Comparative Law Review, 4(2), 1-34.


Paper in Collections

Chen, Y.R. (2023). Foreign Law vs. Local Society? Legal Transplantation as a Conceptual Tool in Law and Society Studies. In H.T. Wang (Ed.), How Does Law Matter—— (pp. 343-374). Rive Gauche Press.


Conference Papers (selected)

2022.04.07  Yun-Ru Chen (2022, April 7). When legal ideas traveled: Lin Cheng-Lu’s anti-colonial discourses in 1920s-Taiwan and beyond. The 19th EATS (European Association of Taiwan Studies) Conference.
2022.03.25 Yun-Ru Chen (2022, March 25). Departing from Asia to the World: The 1920s Family Law and Nationalists Discourse in Japan-Colonized Taiwan. AAS (Association for Asian Studies) 2022 Conference.
2018.11.22-23 Yun-Ru Chen (2018, November 22-23). Paradoxes of the National Family Laws in Colonial East Asia: Taiwan as the Nexus.



Academic Employment
2020.8- Associate Professor, National Taiwan University College of Law
2016.8-2020.7 Assistant Professor, National Taiwan University College of Law
2015.4- 2016.3 Assistant Professor/ Researcher, Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda UniversIty
2014.8- 2015.3 Postdoctoral Fellow, Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, State University of New York, Buffalo
2013.7- 2018.7 Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard Law School


2014 A candidate for JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers (declined by University’s Rule)
2014 Baldy Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, State University of New York, Buffalo
2013 IGLP Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Institute for Global Law and Policy Harvard Law School
2013 Best Paper Award, The Yong K. Kim Prize, Harvard Law School