We are pleased to announce that Aihwa Ong — Professor and the Robert H. Lowie Distinguished Chair in Anthropology — has been named chair of the Group in Asian Studies. Professor Ong's research interests have always dealt with the particular entanglements of politics, technology, and culture that co-constitute changing societies on the Asia Pacific rim. Currently, her work focuses on modes of governing, biomedical science, and contemporary art in diverse Asian contexts. Her field research shifts between sites in Southeast Asia, China, and the United States in order to track emerging global centers of cosmopolitan science and art experiments that shape East Asian modernity.
As a foreign-born anthropologist, Aihwa Ong's angle of inquiry unsettles and troubles stabilized viewpoints and units of analysis in the humanities and the social sciences. Her inter-disciplinary approach and ideas — "flexible citizenship," "graduated sovereignty," "global assemblages," among others — are featured in debates on globalization and modernity in the Asia-Pacific.
Professor Ong is the author of Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline (1986; 2nd ed., 2010); Flexible Citizenship (1999); Buddha is Hiding (2003); and Neoliberalism as Exception (2006). Recent co-edited volumes include Global Assemblages (2005); Asian Biotech (2010); and Worlding Cities (2011). Ong's works have been translated into German, Italian, and Spanish as well as Bahasa-Indonesian, Japanese, and Chinese. Her awards include grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation, and some book prizes. She has participated in the World Economic Forum and given keynote lectures around the world.
Recent publications include “What Marco Polo Forgot: Asian Art Negotiates the Global,” in Current Anthropology Volume 53, Number 4 (August 2012): 1-24 and a new book drawing on research in Biopolis, Singapore titled Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life (Duke University Press, 2016).