Professor Leigh Jenco

Professor Leigh Jenco

Professor in Political Theory

Department of Government

+44 (0)207 107 5253
Room No
CBG 4.25
Office Hours
Currently on leave (MT & LT 2018/19)
Connect with me

Key Expertise
Chinese Thought, Taiwan, Political Philosophy, Global Intellectual History

About me

Before coming to the LSE in 2012, Leigh Jenco (PhD and MA, University of Chicago, 2007; BA Bard College, 1999) taught at the National University of Singapore and Brown University.  She situates her work and teaching at the intersection of Chinese and contemporary Euro-American theories of politics. Her current research compares Chinese, Dutch and Japanese colonial discourse on Taiwan, from the 17th century to the present.  With colleagues at the universities of Zurich, Heidelberg, and Madrid, she manages a Humanities in the European Research Area grant for the collaborative research project “East Asian Uses of the European Past: Tracing Braided Chronotypes” (2016-2019). She is also associate editor of the American Political Science Review.


Research interests

  • Chinese Political Thought of the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Discourses of Empire and Colonialism in East Asia
  • Postcolonial and comparative political theory
  • East Asian Uses of the European Past

Teaching responsibilities

  • GV498: Multiculturalism
  • GV4H1: Chinese Political Thought

Selected publications


Changing Referents: Learning Across Time and Space in China and the West (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Making the Political: Founding and Action in the Political Theory of Zhang Shizhao (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).  ISBN: 9780521760607

Edited volumes:

Chinese Thought as Global Theory: Diversifying Knowledge Production in the Social Sciences and Humanities (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, forthcoming).

(with Murad Idris and Megan Thomas) The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Political Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, under contract).

(with Jun-Hyeok Kwak) Republicanism in Northeast Asia

Political Theories in East Asian Context series. (London: Routledge, 2014).

Journal Articles:

“New Pasts for New Futures: A Temporal Reading of Global Thought,” Constellations (forthcoming).

“Against the Subalternity of Knowledge: Chinese Arguments for ‘Changing Referents’ (bian fa),” Comparative and Continental Philosophy, special issue on “De-Colonizing Comparative Methodologies” (forthcoming).

“Histories of Thought and Comparative Political Theory: The Curious Thesis of ‘Chinese Origins for Western Knowledge,’ 1860-1895,” Political Theory (December 2014).

Revisiting Asian Values, Journal of the History of Ideas 74 no. 2 (April 2013).

Culture as History: Envisioning Change Across and Beyond “Eastern” and “Western” Civilizations in the May Fourth Era, Twentieth-Century China vol. 38 no.1 (January 2013).

From Constitutional Listening to Constitutional Learning, Chicago-Kent Law Review, vol. 88 no. 1 (January 2013).

How Meaning Moves: Tan Sitong on Borrowing Across Cultures, Philosophy East and West, vol. 62 no. 2 (January 2012): 92-113.

Re-centering Political Theory: The Promise of Mobile Locality, Cultural Critique vol. 79 (Fall 2011): 27-59.

'Rule by Man’ and ‘Rule by Law’ in Early Republican China: Contributions to a Theoretical Debate,  Journal of Asian Studies vol. 69  no. 1 (February 2010): 181-203.

Theorists and Actors: Zhang Shizhao on ‘Self-Awareness’ as Political Action, Political Theory, vol. 38 (April 2008): 213-238.

'What Does Heaven Ever Say?’ A Methods-Centered Approach to Cross-Cultural Engagement, American Political Science Review, vol. 101 no. 4 (November 2007): 741-755.

Thoreau’s Critique of Democracy, Review of Politics, vol. 65 (Summer 2003): 355-81.