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Centre of Development Studies

Professor William Hurst to join the CDS as the Chong Hua Professor of Chinese Development

William Hurst is honored and delighted to come to Cambridge as the new Chong Hua Professor of Chinese Development, starting in January 2021. He is currently professor of political science at Northwestern University, where his research and teaching focus on political economy, the politics of law and legal institutions, labor politics, contentious politics, and aspects of international relations.

In all these areas, his work has centered on the study of both China and Indonesia. His first book, The Chinese Worker after Socialism (Cambridge 2009), employed a subnational comparative method to examine the economic, social, and political experiences and implications of the more than 30 Million workers laid-off from China’s stateowned enterprises during the 1990s and 2000s. His second monograph, Ruling Before the Law: the Politics of Legal Regimes in China and Indonesia (Cambridge 2018), was the first study to compare the world’s largest and fourth largest countries. Based on extensive field research in both urban and rural areas of multiple provinces in each country, it is also the most comprehensive analysis of the grassroots politics of law and courts in either country, comparing civil and criminal adjudication from before 1949 up through the present day.

Besides these two books, he has also published four edited volumes and several dozen articles, chapters, essays, and other shorter works, many of which have explored areas of comparative urban politics, US-China relations, and local politics and governance in rural China, among other topics. His new and ongoing research is mostly on the political economy and social implications of land and land tenure systems in Mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Malaysia - especially during the critical transformative period of roughly 1945-1965, and the long-term influences of conflicts and reforms then that persist to this day. His teaching and supervision at Cambridge will focus on comparative politics, the political economy of development, Chinese politics, and Indonesian politics, among other themes.