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Cal Poly Pomona Experts Guide

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Jack Fong

Jack Fong focuses his research on the broad question of how individuals and societies respond to crisis situations. He particularly is drawn toward examining alternative or “new” responses expressed by people who seek to build, repair, or enhance their community under stress or when their social systems malfunction as during war or health crises. His research highlights the power individuals have in shaping and establishing community even as a variety of publics around them fall into disarray. By pointing out patterns of cultural and community survival, his sociology makes visible new sources of human empowerment that allow them to prevail beyond circumstances.

Fong’s examination of the benefits and drawbacks of solitude spans the impact of isolation orders in a pandemic and the different impact of social versus physical isolation, to people who attempt to temporarily delink themselves from unnecessary social scripts in a variety of ways. His research on Death Cafes–how communities form to talk about death and dying–has garnered much interest in online readerships such as California Health Report. His recent examination of solitude has garnered interest from Vox, the Atlantic, Elle, Folks and Real Simple. His work utilizes sociological and philosophical perspectives—especially through existential thought—to examine peoples’ desires for empowerment on their own terms.

Selected Publications:

Interviews:

Education:

B.A., Communications, Cal Poly Pomona
M.A., Sociology, San Jose State University
M.A., Ph.D., Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz

Languages:

Conversationally fluent in Thai, Mandarin and Cantonese.

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