Rural Modernization in China and East Asia

Colloquium | February 14 | 4-6 p.m. | 180 Doe Library

 Kristen Looney, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies, Georgetown University

 Rachel Stern, Professor, School of Law, UC Berkeley

 Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

Kristen Looney will be discussing her forthcoming work, Mobilizing for Development: The Modernization of Rural East Asia (Cornell, 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.