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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)

Law and Politics
Comparative Politics
Southeast Asia


William Hurst works on labor politics, contentious politics, political economy, and the politics of law and legal institutions, principally in China and Indonesia. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the comparative politics of law and legal institutions in China and Indonesia since 1949. For this work, he has completed more than one year of fieldwork in each country since 2006.

He has been at Northwestern University since 2013 before he was a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford and an assistant professor at the Universities of Texas and Toronto.

Teaching and Supervisions

MPhil course coordinator for Paper 320: Concepts and Lineages of the Developmental State in China, East Asia, and Beyond.
I'm particularly interested in supervising PhD students who work on some aspect or aspects of land, labour, or law (broadly construed), and their relationships to the construction, reconfiguration, or contestation of state power. My own work focuses on Greater China and Southeast Asia, but I'm also open to working with specialists in other regions. I strongly value fieldwork and first-hand data collection, as well as careful theory-building, and expect students to be committed to crafting research that can 'walk on two legs' (making novel contributions of both theory and data).
Chong Hua Professor of Chinese Development
Office Hours: Appointment by email
Professor William   Hurst