Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marco Wan

University of Hong Kong

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Marco Wan is trained in both legal studies and literary studies, and has studied at Yale, Cambridge and Harvard Law School. Marco Wan received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. In 2010 he was Visiting Scholar at Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge as well as Academic Visitor at the Law Faculty at the University of Oxford in 2012. He was recently Visiting Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Singapore. Currently Marco Wan is Associate Professor of Law and Honorary Associate Professor of English at the University of Hong Kong. He also serves as Associate Dean (International Affairs) at the HKU Law Faculty. He is Managing Editor of Law and Literature, and serves on the editorial boards of various specialist journals. From June to August 2017 Prof. Dr. Marco Wan has been Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”, Bonn.

His research areas include Law and Literature, Law and Film, Legal Theory, Gender, Sexuality and the Law. 


Research Project

Constitutional Debates and Hong Kong Cinema

While at the Center, Marco Wan will be pursuing a project on law and cinema. He will examine the ways in which films refract legal debates on topics such as sovereignty, rights and the nature of executive power, with a particular focus on the legal-cultural environment of Hong Kong. 

The main objectives of the proposed research are two-fold: it investigates how film can contribute to our understanding of Hong Kong's legal history, and it also explores how an understanding of key aspects of Hong Kong's legal history can in turn enhance our appreciation of Hong Kong film. The project builds on the scholarship in the burgeoning field of 'law and film' studies and brings the theoretical material to bear on the Hong Kong context. The project is premised on the view that films are not produced in a vacuum; they both reflect, and participate in, the major social, political, cultural, and most importantly, legal debates of their time. From The Unwritten Law (1985) to Heaven in the Dark (2016), law has a had prominent presence in Hong Kong cinema at least since the negotiations of Hong Kong’s return to China. The recurrence of legal themes, institutions and agents in films should not be regarded as an accident; cinema’s engagement with the law has much to tell us about Hong Konger’s attitudes, anxieties and aspirations towards the law in the (post-) colonial city.

Publications (selected)

  • Dissent, Cultural Schizophrenia and Derek Lee’s Insanity’, Law, Culture and the Humanities (forthcoming)
  • ‘Cases as Cultural Events: the Hossack Murder Trial, Privacy and Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers”’, in Law and Literature, ed. by Kieran Dolin (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2017)
  •  ‘The Artwork of Occupy Central’, in Civil Unrest, Law and Order in Hong Kong, ed. by Michael Ng and John Wong (Routledge, forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘A Legal Hauntology in Hong Kong’, in Economies of Interpretation: Derrida, Agamben, and the Political Theology of Law, ed. by Peter Goodrich and Michel Rosenfeld (Fordham UP, forthcoming 2016)
  •  ‘Law and the Language of Film in Juno Mak’s Rigor Mortis’, in Language, Power and Law: the Invisible Exercise of Power through Language , ed. by Alan Durant and Janny Leung (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2016)
  • Masculinity and the Trials of Modern Fiction (Abingdon: Routledge, 2016)
  • ‘Legal Consciousness and Hong Kong Cinema’, 10(1) Law and Humanities 161-173 (2016)
  • The Rule of Law and the (Post-)colonial Imaginary in East Asia (co-edited with Janny Leung), 18 Law/Text/Culture (2014)
  • Lawyer, Lawyer: Albert Venn Dicey, Joe Ma, and the Rule of Law in Hong Kong’, 18 Law/Text/Culture 82-100 (2014)
  • ‘Ai Weiwei, Oscar Wilde, and the Art of Posing’, 9 (1) Law Culture and the Humanities 7-12 (2013)
  • Reading the Legal Case: Cross Currents between Law and the Humanities (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012)
  •  ‘Screening the Law in China: Law, Visuality and Evidence in Three HIV/AIDS Documentaries by Ai Xiaoming’, 6(1) Law and Humanities 25-40 (2012)
  • ‘Constructing the Meaning of “Obscenity”: an Empirical Investigation and an Experimentalist Account’ (co-authored with Janny Leung), 25(3) International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 415-430 (2012)
  • ‘A Matter of Style: On Reading the Oscar Wilde Trials as Literature’, 31 (4) Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 709-726 (2011)  (HKU Law Faculty Research Output Prize 2011)
  • ‘Doing Things with the Past: A Critique of the Use of History by Hong Kong's Court of First Instance in W v Registrar of Marriages’, 41 Hong Kong Law Journal 125-138 (2011) ‘Law and Humor in Johnnie To's Justice, My Foot!’, 31 Cardozo Law Review 1313-1329 (2010)  (HKU Faculty Research Output Prize 2010)