Anna L. Ahlers is the founder and head of the Lise Meitner Research Group China in the Global System of Science the MPIWG which explores the many facets of China’s rapid and extensive ascent in the global system of science. In her current research projects, she focuses on questions of authoritarianism as an environmental factor for science, and, more specifically, on the interactions of scientists and scholars with the government in policy-making in the People's Republic of China (PRC).
After studying sinology and political science at the University of Tübingen, Peking University, and Renmin University (PRC), Anna Ahlers completed her PhD in China Studies at the University of Tübingen. Before joining the MPIWG in January 2020, she was a tenured Associate Professor in Modern Chinese Society and Politics at the University of Oslo, Norway. She has also worked at the University of Bonn (FIW), the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), Academia Sinica (RoChina), and the University of Chicago where she was a Wigeland Visiting Professor in the academic year 2018/19. Between 2017 and 2022 she was a member of the Junge Akademie (BBAW und Leopoldina) and in 2022/21 a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (IAS).
Anna Ahlers has published widely on the political system of the PRC, especially on local governance, forms of regime legitimation, the implementation of rural reconstruction programs, and the urban “war against smog,” and, in a more comparative perspective, on the bipolarity of authoritarianism and democracy in the 21st century. She is a member of the editorial board of The Environments of East Asia series (Cornell University Press), an editor of Soziale Systeme (De Gruyter), a member of the executive committee of the European Journal of East Asian Studies (Brill), and associate editor of the Journal of Chinese Governance (Routledge).
From Technocracy to Scientocracy? Science-Policy Interactions in the Chinese Local State, 1990–2020
Ahlers, Anna L., Damien Krichewsky, Evelyn Moser, and Rudolf Stichweh (2021). Democratic and Authoritarian Political Systems in 21st Century World Society. Vol. 1: Differentiation, Inclusion, Responsiveness. Global Studies & Theory of Society 5. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.
Shen, Yongdong, and Anna L. Ahlers (2019). “Blue Sky Fabrication in China: Science-Policy Integration in Air Pollution Regulation Campaigns for Mega-Events.” Environmental Science and Policy 94: 135–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.12.005.
Ahlers, Anna L., and Thomas Heberer (2021). “Rekalibrierung der deutschen und europäischen Wissenschaftskooperation mit China: mehr Augenhöhe und Austausch wagen.” In Deutsch-chinesische Kooperationen in Bildung und Wissenschaft: Akteure — Interessen — Chancen, ed. H. Chen, M. Leutner, H. Neddermann, and P. Lu, 56–68. Münster: LIT-Verlag. https://www.lit-verlag.de/detail/index/sArticle/87502/sCategory/6787.
Ahlers, Anna L., and Gunter Schubert (2022). “Nothing New under ‘Top-Level Design’? A Review of the Conceptual Literature on Local Policy-Making in China.” Issues & Studies 58 (1). https://doi.org/10.1142/S101325112150017X.
Ahlers, Anna L., and Thomas Heberer (2021). “More Exchange at Eye-Level: European Research Cooperation with the People’s Republic of China.” Global Cooperation Research 3 (2): 19–23. https://www.gcr21.org/publications/gcr/gcr-quarterly-magazine/qm-2/2021-articles/qm-2-2021-ahlers-and-heberer-more-exchange-at-eye-level-european-research-cooperation-with-the-peoples-republic-of-china.