Anna Grzymala-Busse is the Director of the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies and the Weiser Professor of European and Eurasian Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan. She received an AB in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, an MPhil in Social and Political Theory from Cambridge University, and a PhD in Government from Harvard University. She taught at Yale University before coming to the University of Michigan.
Grzymala-Busse is the Chair Elect of the Comparative Democratization Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for 2016, and has served on the Board of Directors of ASEEES (the AAASS) as the Liaison for the American Political Science Association from 2006-2012. She has also served on the Shulman Prize Committee for ASEEES, and for numerous book and article award committees for APSA, and continues to serve on several editorial boards for journals and university presses.
Her first book, Redeeming the Communist Past (2002) examined the striking and unexpected reinvention of the communist successor parties in East Central Europe, and the ways in which individual skills and useable pasts allowed some of these parties to radically transform themselves into successful democratic competitors. A second book project, Rebuilding Leviathan (2007), investigated the role of political party contestation in the reconstruction of the post-communist state. Unless checked by a robust competition, democratic governing parties simultaneously could rebuild the state and ensure their own survival by building an enormous discretion into new state institutions. Her most recent book, Nations Under God (2015), asks why some churches have been able to wield enormous policy influence. Others have failed to do so, even in very religious countries. Where religious and national identities have historically fused, churches gain great moral authority, and subsequently extract covert and direct access to state institutions. This access, rather than either partisan coalitions or electoral mobilization, allows some churches to become so powerful. Other research interests include EU integration, informal institutions, causal mechanisms, and political science approaches to history.
Anna Grzymala-Busse has received several awards for her research, including the Alexander George Award for Best Article in Qualitative Methods (2012), the 2008 Ed A Hewett Prize for Best Publication on the Political Economy of the Former Soviet Union and East Central Europe for Rebuilding Leviathan, the Luebbert Award for Best Article in Comparative Politics (2008) and the European Politics Best Paper Award (2004).