Matthew S. Erie is an Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Studies in the Oriental Institute and a fellow at St. Cross College. He is an anthropologist and comparativist lawyer by training. He studied law in both the U.S. (University of Pennsylvania J.D.) and China (Tsinghua University LL.M.) and has practiced corporate and real estate law in Beijing and New York City. His dissertation (Cornell, Anthropology Ph.D.) built on this experience practicing law to examine the operation of religious law, specifically Islamic law, in northwest China. His book China and Islam: The Prophet, the Party, and Law (Cambridge University Press, 2016), the first ethnographic account of the contemporary practice of Islamic law by Muslim minorities in China, is based on this work. Most broadly, Professor Erie’s research and teaching assess the intersections of ethics, politics, desire, and law, and he has published in such journals as Law and Social Inquiry, Hong Kong Law Journal, Journal of Legal Education, and East Asia Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review. He is particularly interested in the ethnography of non-Western law, including Chinese and Islamic law for Muslim minorities, and the ways that such studies require new ways to think through the relationship between “authoritarianism” and such institutions as personhood, gender, and property. His current projects examine global anti-corruption regimes and counter-terrorism legislation. He is a member of the Law & Society Association and the New York Bar, as well as the China Editor for SHARIAsource, a project of Islamic Legal Studies Program of Harvard Law School.


Research projects