Marc Blecher

  • James Monroe Professor of Politics and of East Asian Studies

Areas of Study


  • BS, Cornell University, 1969
  • MA, University of Chicago, 1972
  • PhD, University of Chicago, 1978


Marc Blecher is professor of politics and East Asian studies.

His specialty is Chinese politics, and he has published several books and dozens of articles on local politics, popular participation, and political economy in China.

His current research on China focuses on two projects: workers’ politics and local governments’ role in economic development. He teaches about these subjects as well as Asian politics and political economy, Marxist theory, and comparative politics.

Fall 2021

Das Kapital — FYSP 094
Political Economy of Development in Asia — POLT 212
Capstone Project — EAST 500

Spring 2022

Revolution, Socialism and Reform in China — POLT 110
Seminar: Transition to Capitalist Society in China — POLT 313
Capstone Project — EAST 500


Marc Blecher Coauthors Book

October 5, 2020

James Monroe Professor of Politics and Professor of East Asian Studies Marc Blecher’s new book Politics as a Science: A Prolegomenon, coauthored with European University Institute Emeritus Professor Philippe Schmitter, was recently published by Routledge. It provides an overview of the core, eternal, universal issues of political science—or, as we argue it should be known, “politology.” It argues that politics is the most fundamental social activity because it involves the peaceful resolution of conflict without which all others would be impossible. The book includes chapters on politics’ (and politology’s) subject matter, foundations (concepts, agents, cleavages, motives, processes, mechanisms, temporalities, units and régimes), consequences (order, production and distribution, recognition and respect, externalities, and legitimacy), the discipline, research design, and its purpose and promise. It is available Open Access to make it affordable for students, scholars and citizens/subjects the world over. Portuguese and Spanish translations are in process, with more foreign language editions intended.

Marc Blecher Publishes

February 25, 2016

Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies Marc Blecher, along with co-author Hengxuan Wu ’17, published the article "Workers' Politics in China."

Blecher also published “Working Class Re-formation and De-Formation in the People’s Republic of China” in the Handbook on Class and Social Stratification in China, edited by Yingjie Guo. This article compares the development of the Chinese working class in the three decades of Maoist state socialism with that in under the structural reforms that began in 1978. It tries to solve two major puzzles: Why, despite its much improved material life in the Maoist era compared with the despotic conditions of earlier decades, did the working class turn profoundly radical? And why, when the structural reforms knocked the working class off its very privileged Maoist-era perch, has it responded in far less radical ways?

Marc Blecher, Daniel Zipp Publish Article

February 12, 2015

Marc Blecher, professor of politics and East Asian studies, and Daniel Zipp '13, published their article entitled “Migrants and Mobilization: Sectoral Patterns in China, 2010-2013" in the Global Labour Journal (January, 2015). The article analyzes the differences in social protest among migrant workers in China’s apparel, automobile, construction, and electronics industries.

The article is based on research originally done for Zipp's honors thesis, which the pair adapted for a paper they presented at an international conference sponsored by several German and Chinese universities in Nanchang, China, in March 2014.

Marc Blecher Presents at Conference in China

April 30, 2014

Professor of Politics and East Asian Studies Marc Blecher attended the Conference on Governance, Adaptability and System Stability under Contemporary One-Party Rule: Comparative Perspectives at Nanchang University, in Nanchang China from March 27 to 29. He presented a paper jointly written with Daniel Zipp ’13, titled “Migrants and Mobilization: Sectoral Patterns in China, 2010-2013.”

Blecher will present a new version of the this paper as the annual keynote lecture, entitled “Migrants and Mobilization: Labor Politics and Political Stability in China”, at the University of Glasgow Confucius Institute, Glasgow, Scotland, on May 12.


From Double Major to Law School: Emily Kelly-Olsen ’19

July 22, 2020

A student athlete, Kelly-Olsen discovered her passion for politics and East Asian studies at Oberlin. She is currently a student at University of Michigan Law School and working as an associate at a law firm in her hometown of Portland, Oregon.