Alisha Gao (née Carpenter)

Research Fellow at the Professorship for Political Science with the Focus on Area Studies China/East Asia

Foto - Alisha Carpenter kleiner

Faculty 03 Social Science
Institute for Political Science
Professorship for Political Science with the Focus on Area Studies China/East Asia

Email: alishacarpenter(at)

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 Employment history

Feb 2016 – Research Fellow at the Professorship for Political Science with the Focus on Area Studies China/East Asia, Faculty of Social Sciences (Institute for Political Science), Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
Aug 2015 – Dec 2015 Student Assistant for the Project “Protecting the Weak – Entangled process of framing, mobilization and institutionalization in East Asia" at the Interdisciplinary Centre for East Asian Studies (IZO) at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main

 Academic  background

Aug 2010 – May 2013  B.A. in International Affairs, minor in Chinese Studies at East Tennessee State University
Feb 2012 – June 2012 One Semester Stay at the North China University of Technology for the Study of Chinese
Oct 2013 – Dec 2015 M.A. in “Modern East Asia Studies" at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main


Scholarship, Projects, Awards

May 2013 Most Outstanding Student in International Affairs for 2012-2013 at East Tennessee State University


Project related research interests

Within the framework of the project "Protecting the Weak: Entangled Processes of Framing, Mobilization and Institutionalization in East Asia" funded by the Volkswagen Foundation in its initiative "Key Issues for Academia and Society" my broad research topic relates to the subject of animal welfare in China.

My current research focuses on analyzing the negative externalities that arose from the modern intensive husbandry system, commonly known as factory farming, which is increasingly implemented in China. The negative consequences pertaining to my research regard animal welfare, and also includes issues such as food safety, food security, social stability, live animal and animal product trade, as well as environmental issues. The relation of modernity is core in my analysis. Through concepts integral to the current animal welfare debate, within the larger debate on late modernity, in which an awareness of the negative consequences that are inherent in the factory farming system is increasingly expressed in China.

How is this increased awareness articulated and conveyed in China? This question can be informed through a broad look at social movements, change in language for the formation and implementation of policies, interpretation by urban and rural citizens, as well as economic and political elite's response to these negative consequences.

Other research interests

In addition to farm animal welfare in China, I am interested in the political and social attitudes towards animal protection: particularly to political elites' responsiveness to wild animal protection, international trade, and the formulation of national anti-cruelty legislation. I am also interested in rural development in China, noting rural interpretation and response to the consequences of rapid modernization.  Additionally, I am researching China's connection to the North/ South divide in agriculture policy. On another note, I am particularly interested in the Cultural Revolution era in China, particularly the politics of Mao and the literature developed from this time period.


Summer Term 2018 Animals and Society in East Asia
Winter Term 16/17 Animal Protection in China



(with Song Wei) “Changing Attitudes: Social and Legal Conditions for Animal Protection in China", in: Critical Asian Studies, 48:3 (2016), p. 380-399. doi: 10.1080/14672715.2016.1196891


June 2017

(with Matthias Schumann) „Animals and the Intricacies of Modernization: The Emergence of Animal Protection Movements in Chinese Past and Present“, Workshop „Calls for Protecting the Weak in East Asia: Empirical Findings and New Theoretical Insights“, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, June 2, 2017
 May 2017 „Solving the Negative Externalities of Factory Farming in China“, China's Health, Environment and Welfare Conference 2017, University of Oxford, UK, May 26, 2017
May 2017 „Modernity in China's Changing Models of Meat Production“, Harvard Workshop on Animal Agriculture from the Middle East to Asia, Harvard University, USA, May 11 - 12, 2017
Feb/Mar 2017 „Factory Farming in China: Pursuit of Modernization“, Animals and Human Society in Asia Conference, The Hebrew University of Jersusalem, Israel, February 26 - March 2, 2017