Elena Yi-Jia Zeng

PhD Student in Political Thought and Intellectual History
Cambridge Trust Scholar

I start to undertake my doctoral research at Cambridge in 2020. Supervised by Professor Richard Bourke FBA, my project looks into David Hume and Enlightenment scepticism. I am particularly interested in the problems of belief and certainty in Hume and in what way epistemic and ideational factors influence political judgment and public opinion. I obtained the MA in the History of Political Thought and Intellectual History at Queen Mary University of London and University College London in 2019 with Distinction. My MA dissertation was recommended for publication. It interpreted the Scottish responses to the American Revolution in the context of the early modern debates over the republican dilemma of libertas et imperium. I have always been intrigued by different concepts of liberty and therefore committed to the studies of political thought and intellectual history since my undergraduate years. In 2018, I won a national research award for the academic excellence of my BA dissertation, and have thenceforth been publishing articles on leading journals in Taiwan.

Primary: Enlightenment political thought and intellectual history 

Specific themes: ideas of liberty, democracy, popular sovereignty, representative politics, political judgment, political epistemology, scepticism, problems of knowledge in British Romanticism

General: Scottish philosophy, British and Irish political history, history of parliament

'Empire and Liberty in Adam Ferguson's Republicanism', Research Center for Humanities and Social Science, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 21 August 2020.

'Beyond Liberal and Conservative: The Third Way of Reading Hume', Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, 13 August 2020.


Tags & Themes


515 King's College, Cambridge, CB2 1ST


Key publications

‘The Multifaced Hume’, New History, (2020), forthcoming.

‘The Role of Consent in Locke’s Theory of State’, National Taiwan University Historical Journal, 66 (2020), 199–236.

‘The Political Ideal of the Enlightenment in the American Revolution’, Intellectual History, 9 (2019), 491–506.

‘The Historical Depth of Ancient and Modern Political Thought: On Melissa Lane’s Greek and Roman Political Ideas’, New History, 30.1 (2019), 167–178.

‘A Review of Alexander Broadie’s A History of Scottish Philosophy,’ National Taiwan University Philosophical Review, 56 (2018), 177–202.