Professor Leigh K. Jenco

Professor Leigh K. Jenco

Professor of Political Theory

Department of Government

Room No
CBG 4.25
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Classical Chinese, English, Mandarin
Key Expertise
Chinese Thought, Taiwan, Political Philosophy, Global Intellectual History

About me

Leigh Jenco (BA, Bard College; MA and PhD, University of Chicago) joined LSE in 2012, after teaching at the National University of Singapore. She has held visiting positions at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan; the Department of History, National Taiwan University; and the University of Heidelberg. She has served as associate editor of the flagship journal American Political Science Review and principal investigator for the Humanities in the European Research Area grant project "East Asian Uses of the European Past," funded by the European Commission.

Her first two monographs—Making the Political: Founding and Action in the Political Theory of Zhang Shizhao (Cambridge UP, 2010) and Changing Referents: Learning Across Space and Time in China and the West (Oxford UP, 2015)—pioneered the engagement of normative political theory with the intellectual history of modern China. Her current book project explores the relationship between late Ming neo-Confucian ideas, particularly of the Taizhou school of Wang Yangming learning, to the articulation of otherness and equality in thinkers such as Jiao Hong and Chen Di.


Research interests

  • Chinese political thought (Ming, Qing and Republican periods)
  • Comparative and postcolonial political theory
  • Global intellectual history
  • Taiwan studies
  • Discourses of empire in East Asia

Teaching responsibilities

  • GV4H1: Chinese Political Thought
  • GV4K2: Postcolonial and Comparative Political Theory
  • GV321: Concepts and Controversies in Political Theory: Ideas of Human Nature in Early Modern China and Europe

Selected publications

  • Overlapping Histories, Co-Produced Concepts: Imperialism in Chinese Eyes,” (with Jonathan Chappell), Journal of Asian Studies (July 2020). DOI: 10.1017/S0021911820000066
  • The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Political Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, 2020). Co-edited with Murad Idris and Megan C. Thomas.
  • “Chen Di’s Record of Formosa (1603) and an Alternative Chinese Imaginary of Otherness,” The Historical Journal (August 2020).
  • “Can the Chinese Nation Be One? Gu Jiegang, Chinese Muslims, and the Reworking of Culturalism,” Modern China, February 2019.
  • Changing Referents: Learning Across Space and Time in China and the West (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015).