The Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University are pleased to announce that Didi Kuo has been appointed an FSI Center Fellow, effective March 1, 2023.
Kuo is a scholar of comparative and American politics with a focus on democratization, political parties and institutions, clientelism and corruption, and political reform. Her forthcoming book, The Great Retreat: How Political Parties Should Behave—And Why they Don't (under contract, Oxford University Press), examines changes to party organization over the past fifty years. It argues that parties are central to democratic capitalism, and that understanding democratic discontent requires a closer examination of how parties have evolved in a neoliberal era.
At CDDRL, Kuo is the center’s Associate Director for Research and manages its Program on American Democracy in Comparative Perspective, which examines problems such as polarization, inequality, and responsiveness and recommends possibilities for reform. She also teaches CDDRL’s undergraduate honors students in the Fisher Family Honors Program in Democracy, Development and Rule of Law, which she co-directs with Stephen Stedman.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Didi as part of our intellectual community at CDDRL,” shared Kathryn Stoner, Mosbacher Director of CDDRL. “As American democracy is increasingly threatened, her research is invaluable to the discourse on overcoming these challenges. I am elated that she has received this much-deserved honor!”
As a Center Fellow, Kuo will continue to advance her research agenda while also engaging in collaborative projects with other scholars across a range of disciplines. As a member of the Professoriate and the Academic Council, her work will help to shape our understanding of the challenges facing American democracy today and to inform the policies and practices needed to address them.
“I am thrilled for Didi, and the FSI community as a whole, on this new appointment,” said Michael McFaul, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. “She is an exceptional scholar of some of the toughest issues facing our democracy today. The work she is doing is crucial to helping us understand and fix many of the challenges facing our country.”
Kuo is the author of Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy: the rise of programmatic politics in the United States and Britain (Cambridge University Press, 2018), which examines the role of business against clientelism and the development of modern political parties in the nineteenth century.
In addition to her work at Stanford, Kuo is a non-resident fellow in political reform at New America, where she was a 2018 Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow. She received a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University, an MSc in Economic and Social History from Oxford University, where she studied as a Marshall Scholar, and a BA from Emory University.
“CDDRL has been an amazing intellectual home,” shared Kuo. “I am deeply grateful to my colleagues for the opportunity to continue research, writing, and teaching in this dynamic and collaborative environment.”