Democracy in Hard Places Seminar -- Democracy When You Least Expect It: Strong State Democratization in Authoritarian Asia


Thursday, October 4, 2018, 4:15pm to 5:30pm


Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn St., Suite 200N

The conventional wisdom is that democracy emerges from the ashes of a collapsed authoritarian regime. In other words, democratic prospects look most enticing when dictatorships become weak, unstable or fall. Counterintuitively, democracy in Asia has tended to emerge when authoritarian regimes have been relatively strong. We call this democracy-through-strength, and illuminate this model through historical examples in Taiwan, Korea and Indonesia, and assess the prospects of democracy in authoritarian stalwarts like China.

Join Joseph Wong, Ralph and Roz Halbert Professor of Innovation at the Munk School of Global Affairs, a Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto, in discussion. Scott Mainwaring, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazil Studies, will moderate. 

Democracy in Hard Places Seminar Series

This discussion is part of the Ash Center's Democracy in Hard Places Initiative, a program co-directed by Scott Mainwaring, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor of Brazil Studies, and Tarek Masoud, Professor of Public Policy and Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations. Democracy in Hard Places aims to foster social science research on democratic experiments—both successful and failed—throughout the developing world to learn how democracy can be built and maintained in a variety of terrains. The initiative's seminar series brings to campus distinguished scholars and practitioners to analyze the conditions, institutions, and behaviors that enable democracy to survive in hard places. 

This event is co-sponsored by the Kim Koo Forum on Korea Current Affairs at the Harvard Korea Institute and the Harvard University Asia Center