Welcome

I am a Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Korean Political Economy in the College of East Asian Studies and an affiliated faculty in the Department of Government at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

My research and teaching interests include authoritarian regimes, democratization, and social movements, with a regional focus on Korea and East Asia. I study the relationship between political institutions, socioeconomic development, and quality of governance in nondemocratic and newly democratic societies. My works are published or forthcoming in the Journal of East Asian Studies and the Routledge Handbook of Korean Culture and Society.

My Ph.D. dissertation, The Dictator’s Modernity Dilemma: Theory and Evidence from South Korea, examines the conditions under which political institutions are more or less effective at neutralizing opposition forces in authoritarian regimes. I argue that the co-opting effect of institutions depends on the strength of opposition groups, which in turn hinges on socioeconomic changes that develop nonlinearly over time. The dissertation identifies the threshold at which the cumulative changes of modernization translate into mass mobilization against the regime, and demonstrates that the timing of democratization is conditional on generational turnover in key groups in civil society.

I received my Ph.D and A.M. degrees in Political Science from the Department of Government at Harvard University in 2016 and 2011 and B.A. (cum laude with honors) in Political Science from the University of Rochester in 2008. I previously held visiting fellow positions at the Asiatic Research Institute at Korea University, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, and the Center for International Studies at Seoul National University.