Leigh Jenco

Leigh Jenco

Associate Professor in Political Theory

Office: CON 4.13, Connaught House
Tel: +44 (0)20 7107 5253
Office hours: Wednesday 11:00-13:00 (by appointment via LSE for You)


Leigh Jenco (BA, Bard College; MA and PhD, University of Chicago) was born near Pittsburgh, PA, USA but has since lived for extended periods in Nanjing, Chicago, Taipei, and Singapore. She joined LSE in 2012 but previously was appointed Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Political Theory Project, Brown University, USA (2007-2008); and Assistant Professor of Political Science at the National University of Singapore (2008-2012). 

She situates her research and much of her teaching at the intersection of contemporary political theory and modern Chinese thought, emphasizing the theoretical and not simply historical value of Chinese discourses on politics. To that end, she has given talks in English and Mandarin across Asia and North America, and has published articles in journals such as the American Political Science Review, Political Theory, Journal of Asian Studies, and Philosophy East and West

She is also a steering committee member for a multi-conference project on De-Parochializing Political Theory: East Asian Perspectives on Politics, and has received grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the National University of Singapore.

She is the winner of the 2003 Foundations of Political Theory Best Paper Award for "Thoreau's Critique of Democracy" (Review of Politics, Summer 2003), and the 2008 Strauss Award for Best Dissertation in Political Philosophy, awarded by the American Political Science Association.

Research Interests

  • Modern and historical Chinese political thought
  • Contemporary democratic theory
  • Postcolonial and comparative political theory
  • Interpretive and cross-cultural methods
  • Multiculturalism
  • History of political thought

Teaching Responsibilities 

  • GV498: Multiculturalism
  • GV4G3: Foundations of Political Theory
  • GV4H1: Chinese Political Thought
  • GV510Doctoral Workshop: Political Theory
  • GV503Political Philosophy Research Seminar



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.