Faculty Profile

Neil Diamant

Professor of Asian Law and Society (2002)

Contact Information


Stern Center for Global Educ Room 005


Professor Diamant's research focuses on law and society in Asia (with particular reference to China, Japan, and India), civil-military relations in China, patriotism in comparative perspective, and the history of Chinese constitutionalism. He also teaches courses on Israeli politics and Zionism. Publications: Professor Diamant is the author of two books, Embattled Glory: Veterans, Military Families and the Politics of Patriotism in China, 1949-2007 (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009) and Revolutionizing the Family: Politics, Love, and Divorce in Urban and Rural China, 1949-1968 (University of California Press, 2000). He also co-edited Engaging the Law in China: State, Society and Possibilities for Justice (Stanford, 2005). Recent articles include "Conspicuous Silence: Veterans and the Depoliticization of War Memory in China" (Modern Asian Studies, 2011), "Veterans, Organization, and the Politics of Martial Citizenship in China" (Journal of East Asian Studies, 2007), "Veterans' Political Activism in China" (Modern China, 2014), "Contentious Veterans: China's Ex-Officers Speak Out" (Armed Forces and Society, 2014). Forthcoming articles on China's 1954 Constitution will appear in The China Journal (2015) and Cold War Studies (2015). He has contributed chapters to a number of edited volumes, including "The Limitations of Martial Citizenship in the People's Republic of China," in Peled, Lewin-Epstein, Mundlak and Cohen's Democratic Citizenship and War (2010); "Why Archives?" in Carlson, Gallagher, Lieberthal, and Manion's Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies (2010); and "Legal Syncretism and Family Change in Urban and Rural China" in Galvan and Sil's, Reconfiguring Institutions across Time and Space: Syncretic Responses to Challenges of Political and Economic Transformation (2007).


  • B.A., Hebrew University of Jerusalem 1988
  • M.A., University of Washington, 1991
  • Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1996

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

MEST 262 Zionism
Cross-listed with POSC 290-02 and JDST 262-01.

JDST 262 Zionism
Cross-listed with MEST 262-01 and POSC 290-02.

POSC 290 Veterans in Politics
Throughout history veterans and their organizations have often played an outsize role in shaping regimes, political ideology, legislation and public events such as parades and memorials. At the same time, veterans also have experienced humiliation, homelessness, unemployment and severe trauma upon their return home from war (as seen in the film Born on the 4th of July and represented in songs such as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”). In this class we will explore veterans’ experiences in, and impact upon, politics, society and culture. Since war and conflict have produced many veterans over the centuries, the perspective in the course will be historical and comparative, covering the US, Israel, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

POSC 290 Zionism
Cross-listed with JDST 262-01 and MEST 262-01. This course aims to provide students with a multi-dimensional understanding of Zionism as a political ideology that found its expression in the creation of a state, the establishment of a particular set of economic and cultural institutions as well as in the creation of new conceptions of land, space, and group interaction. At once a future-oriented revolutionary ideology and revivalist movement based on the idea of returning to an ancient homeland, the significance of Zionism in 20th and 21st centuries cannot be understated. Zionism (or rather, Zionists), produced a state Israel whose foundation has roiled politics in the Middle East until today. This course will look at the particular historical circumstances that gave rise to Zionism in the late 19th century, Zionist institutions, political culture and dominant historical narratives. The course will conclude with a detailed examination of more contemporary critics of Zionism both from within Israel and outside of it.

EASN 310 Interpret Chinese Cultural Rev
Cross-listed with POSC 390-01.

POSC 390 Interpreting Chin Cultural Rev
Cross-listed with EASN 310-01. This seminar examines the varying approaches and methodologies scholars have adopted in studying the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976), one of the most important political events in modern Chinese history. While the course does cover some history, its approach is mainly analytical to formulate effective research results. How can we know if a certain methodology is appropriate? How have primary and secondary sources been used to understand this complex event? The goal is to teach students about what happened during the Cultural Revolution and how scholars have studied it.