Abstract: Kristen Looney will be discussing her forthcoming work, Mobilizing for Development: The Modernization of Rural East Asia (Cornell U. Press 2020). This book tackles the question of how countries achieve rural development and offers a new way of thinking about East Asia’s political economy that challenges the developmental state paradigm. Through a comparison of Taiwan (1950s–1970s), South Korea (1950s–1970s), and China (1980s–2000s), the research shows that different types of development outcomes—improvements in agricultural production, rural living standards, and the village environment—were realized to different degrees, at different times, and in different ways. Looney argues that rural modernization campaigns played a central role in the region and that divergent development outcomes can be attributed to the interplay between campaigns and institutions. Relevant to political science, economic history, rural sociology, and Asian studies, the book enriches our understanding of state-led development and agrarian change.
Speaker Bio: Kristen Looney is an assistant professor of Asian Studies and Government at Georgetown University, where she teaches courses on Chinese and Comparative Politics. Her research is on rural development and governance and has previously appeared in The China Quarterly, The China Journal, and Current History. Her first book is forthcoming with Cornell University Press in spring 2020.