Authoritarianism, democratization, and social movements in Korea and East Asia are primary research and teaching focus for Dr. Joan Cho. Her research on authoritarian regime support, South Korean democracy movement, and electoral accountability in post-transition South Korea are published or forthcoming in Electoral Studies, Journal of East Asian Studies, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Routledge Handbook of Korean Culture and Society. She is currently working on a book manuscript, Dictator’s Modernity Dilemma: Development and Democracy in South Korea, 1961-1987. The book argues and demonstrates that the structural foundations of modernization (industrial complexes and higher education in particular) had an initial stabilizing effect on authoritarian rule by increasing regime support, but also laid the socioeconomic foundations for emergence of a successful democracy movement in South Korea.
Dr. Cho is an assistant professor of East Asian Studies and Government at Wesleyan University, an Executive Secretary of the Association of Korean Political Studies, and a 2018-2019 U.S.-Korea NextGen Scholar.