Kristen Looney

Kristen Looney is an assistant professor of Asian Studies and Government at Georgetown University, where she teaches courses on Chinese and Comparative Politics.

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Her research is on rural development and governance. Her first book, Mobilizing for Development: The Modernization of Rural East Asia, was published with Cornell University Press in 2020. Through a comparison of Taiwan, South Korea, and China, the book shows that different types development outcomes were realized to different degrees, at different times, and in different ways. It argues that rural modernization campaigns played a central role in the region and that divergent development outcomes can be attributed to the interaction of campaigns and institutions. The analysis departs from common portrayals of the developmental state as wholly technocratic and demonstrates that rural development was not just a byproduct of industrialization, as many studies have presumed. Dr. Looney has previously published her research in The China Quarterly, The China Journal, and Current History. Her research has been supported by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Program, the Blakemore Foundation, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships Program, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard. She holds a B.A. from Wellesley College in Chinese Studies and Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University.