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AVBWI grew up on the Upper West Side of New York City. I commuted to St. Ann's school in Brooklyn Heights from where I graduated in 1983. From 1983 to 1987 I attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where I received a BA in Political Science.

From September 1988 to June 1989, I studied Chinese and taught English at Sichuan Normal University in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. It was there that I met my wife, Isabelle. From April to June, Chengdu, like many other cities in China was caught up in the student movement, although the events outside of Beijing were largely ignored. After the crackdown in Chengdu, I returned home.

In 1991, I came back to China as a representative for a toy company. I was stationed in Shanghai, where I worked closely with state-run import/export companies and township and village enterprises throughout the Lower Yangtze Valley. In late 1992, I moved to Hong Kong and began production on a new retail line with factories in the Pearl River Delta, particularly in Dongguan and Panyu.

I returned to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to obtain my Ph.D. in Political Science in 1994, where I studied under Kenneth Lieberthal. I conducted fieldwork from February through September 1998 under the auspices of the National Bureau of Asian Research during which time I worked closely with Michel Oksenberg and Pitman Potter on the NBR program, "Advancing Intellectual Property Rights in China." From February through August 1999 I returned as a Fulbright scholar attached to the Research Center for Contemporary China at Beijing University. My dissertation, which I defended in February 2001, focuses on intellectual property in China.

I have written articles on intellectual property in China, bureaucratic politics, centralization/decentralization, WTO compliance, and international negotiations and "partial implementation." My first book, The Politics of Piracy, covers a number of these topics.

From 2004 to 2008, my research has focused on the politics of hydropower in China, in which I concluded that during the early-to-mid 2000s, the policy making and policy implementation process in China has become increasingly pluralized in the past decade by which groups hitherto ignored or barred from the policy process are now active participants in it. This is distinct from democratization in the the barriers to entry into the political process have been breached by a certain cluster of actors -- NGOs, the media, and genuinely "peripheral" officials. I began this project with my colleague and good friend, Bill Lowry, with whom I went to China in 2004 to examine the case of Dujiangyan, in Sichuan Province (and the epicenter of the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake). Since then, I have examined other cases, including the Nu River in Yunnan Province. In March 2006, I traveled as far north as slipping across the border into Tibet to see the uppermost of the proposed 13 hydropower stations, that of Songta (in fact, we almost did not make it: we were delayed for three hours when the truck in front of us almost fell over the cliff and then my car broke down; luckily, the truck caught up with me and let me sit in the back until we got to Songta). I have also explored the hydropower station construction around Dimaluo, Maji, and other areas. My book, China's Water Warriors: Citizen Action and Policy Change (see "Publications"), that emerged from this research is now out from Cornell University Press.

In 2010, I began a project in which I analyze the relationship between China and Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge era (1975-1979).  I have found that although China spared little expense in its investment of money, materiel, and human capital, it had little influence on Khmer Rouge domestic and foreign policy, due in large part to institutional fragmentation on the two sides.  I am currently revising a book manuscript.  I have been helped immeasurably by wonderful people at the Cambodian National Archives.

Conducting research in China (and now in Cambodia) is pretty much "like herding cats." But, as the man says, "I wouldn't do nuthin' else..."

From 2001 to 2008, I was an assistant professor at Washington University in St Louis in the Department of Political Science. I am currently an associate professor at Cornell University in the Department of Government, specializing in Chinese politics. I hope to extend my area of knowledge to Cambodian politics as well. I am currently in fourth-year Khmer language and following Cambodia blogs.

I serve as a core faculty member in the Cornell University’s East Asia Program (EAP), Southeast Asia Program (SEAP), and in the China and Asia Pacific Studies (CAPS) Major.  I am on the editorial boards of the Journal of Comparative Politics and Cornell University Press, and on the bord of directors at the Center for Khmer Studies.When I am not behind with my dues, I am a member of the American Political Science Association, the Association for Asian Studies, the International Studies Association, the Midwest Political Science Association and the National Committee on US-China Relations. For a more complete summary of my professional background, please see my curriculum vitae.

I live in Ithaca, NY, with Isabelle and our daughter, Sophie.

I am a cat person.

My hobbies are music and collecting all things Tiki and Maoi. I also love hiking in and around Ithaca (Treman, Buttermilk Falls, Taughannock Falls, etc.).

Contact: am847@cornell.edu