Tianhong Ying

About Me

I am a PhD candidate in political theory at Michigan State University (MSU). I study John Locke’s liberalism, with a particular focus on his ideas about reason and revelation. My research and teaching interests span across the history of political philosophy, absolutism and liberalism, religion and politics, American political thought, and Chinese political thought.  

In my dissertation titled “Locke’s Rational Enlightenment and the Critique of Revelation,” I tackle a series of important questions: How does Locke navigate the intricate relationship between reason and revelation? What role does religion, particularly Christianity, play within the context of Lockean liberalism? Moreover, how does Locke mold Christianity into harmony with liberal morality and politics? I argue that despite Locke’s apparent reconciliation of  reason and revelation, he subtly presents a rational critique of revelation to advocate for the pursuit of comfortable self-preservation in this world. Locke grapples with the political challenges posed by Christianity by means of individualizing, moralizing, and de-politicizing it. He also endeavors to reshape Christianity into a civil religion, one that fosters peace within the state and is conducive to morality. Furthermore, Locke’s thoughts on the interplay between religion and politics offer valuable insights into how modern liberal states should address religious fundamentalism in today’s world.

I hold an MA in political science from MSU (2020) and obtained both a BA and an MA in political science from Renmin University of China (2015, 2018). I was also a visiting student at VU University Amsterdam (2016) and Salesian Pontifical University (2019).

Research and Teaching Interests

Political Philosophy: History of Political philosophy, Early Modern Political Philosophy, Puritan Political Thought, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Benedict de Spinoza, Chinese Political Thought, American Political Thought, Comparative Political Thought.

Comparative Politics: Chinese Politics, Asian Politics, Authoritarian Politics.  

Curriculum Vitae


Office 232, South Kedzie Hall, 368 Farm Lane,  

East Lansing, MI 48824



Personal Website


Tianhong Ying