Prof. Andrew Mertha

George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies
Inaugural Director of the SAIS China Global Research Center

Bureaucracy, Institutions, Leninist Party Systems, Policy Making and Implementation, US-China Relations

Prof. Andrew Mertha is the George and Sadie Hyman Professor of China Studies since 2018 and Vice Dean of the SAIS Faculty 2020-2021. Dr. Mertha has spent the past quarter century examining and analyzing Chinese bureaucratic institutions that are often invisible to observers but play an outsized role in politics, economics, technological development, and societal responsiveness of Beijing, including interactions between the national bureaucracies and their local counterparts, and, most recently, the role of the Chinese Communist Party in colonizing these hitherto government bodies. 

Prior to his appointment at SAIS, he was a professor of Government at Cornell University and an assistant professor of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mertha has written three books, The Politics of Piracy: Intellectual Property in Contemporary China (Cornell University Press, 2005), China’s Water Warriors: Citizen Action and Policy Change (Cornell University Press, 2008), and Brothers in Arms: Chinese Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979 (Cornell University Press, 2014). He has articles appearing in The China Quarterly, Comparative Politics, International Organization, Issues & Studies, CrossCurrents, and Orbis. He has also contributed chapters to several edited volumes. His edited volume, May Ebihara’s Svay: A Cambodian Village, with an Introduction by Judy Ledgerwood (Cornell University Press/Cornell Southeast Asia Program Press) was published in 2018. His most recent book manuscript, “Bad Lieutenants”: The Khmer Rouge, United Front, and Class Struggle to the Eve of the New Millennium, 1979-1997, is currently under review at Cambridge University Press.

His current China research project looks at the bureaucratic politics of rectification (整风) from the 1950s up to the present day.