Expertise:Race and Ethnic Politics, Ethnopoltical Sociology, Race and Ethnicity, Ethnopolitics, Urban Sociology, Sociology of Development, Nationalism, Southeast Asian Geopolitics, Solitude, Social Movements, Isolation, Quarantine, Social Distancing
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.
He is the author of “Employing Nietzsche’s sociological imagination: How to understand totalitarian democracy,” (Lexington Books) one of 16 titles awarded “Outstanding Title” in 2021 by Choice Reviews, a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). Choice Reviews offers approximately 600 reviews every month, identifying the best new books and digital content in academia. With more than 2,400 institutions served worldwide, Choice is the premier review journal of new academic titles.
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.
- Fong, J. (2020). Employing Nietzsche’s sociological imagination: How to understand totalitarian democracy. Lexington Books. Awarded “Outstanding Title” in 2021 by Choice Reviews.
- Fong, J. (2020, April 14). Death cafés. World religions and spirituality project.
- Fong, J. (2019). Mourning a late king through portraiture: Articulations of the sacred and profane in the primate city of Bangkok. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 54(2), 229-247.
- “Mourning a Late King through Portraiture: Articulations of the Sacred and Profane in the Primate City of Bangkok,” Journal of Asian and African Studies (hard copy release in mid- 2019; SAGE 2018 OnlineFirst release, 2018)
- The Death Cafe Movement: Exploring the Horizons of Mortality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
- “Sentiments and Perspectives of Academics about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs),” Journal of Excellence in College Teaching 28(1):49-76, 2017
- “Making Operative Concepts from Murray Schafer’s Soundscapes Typology: A Qualitative and Comparative Analysis of Noise Pollution in Bangkok, Thailand and Los Angeles, California,” Urban Studies 53(1):173-192, 2016
- “The Role of Solitude in Transcending Social Crises–New Possibilities for Existential Sociology,” in A Handbook of Solitude: Psychological Perspectives on Social Isolation, pp. 499-516 (R. Coplan and J. Bowker, eds., Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, 2014)
- “Political Vulnerabilities of a Primate City: The May 2010 Red Shirts Uprising in Bangkok, Thailand,” Journal of Asian and African Studies, 48(3):332-347, 2013
- “The Politics of Burmese Indigeneity: Karen Transcommunalism as Revolutionary and Development Force” in Indigeneity: Collected Essays, pp. 111-157 (J.B. Childs and G. Delgado, eds., New Pacific Press, 2012)
- Fong, J. (2011). Methodological and positional considerations of crisis field research: The Karen struggle against the military regimes of Burma. In Smith, L. & Narayan, A. (Eds.), Research Beyond Borders (pp. 55-74). Lexington Books.
- Fong, J. (2009). Sacred nationalism: The Thai monarchy and primordial nation construction. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 39(4), 673-696.
- Fong, J. (2008). Revising the ethnodevelopment model to address Karen Self-determination in the context of ethnocratic and military-ruled Burma. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(2), 327-357.
- Fong, J. (2008). Revolution as development: The Karen self-determination struggle against ethnocracy (1949 to 2004). BrownWalker Press.
- “2022’s Most & Least Diverse States in America,” WalletHub.com, Sept. 14, 2022
- “Dying for a better life: The pandemic year has taught us that facing the specter of our own demise is the best way to live,” Boston Globe, Aug. 1, 2021
- “Adapting to living in isolation,” CBS This Morning, May 17, 2020
- “How to be alone,” Vox, April 11, 2020
- “Solo Travelling: The Art Of Enjoying Your Own Company,” Elle UK, Jan. 24, 2019
- “How to Find More Times lone – Without Feeling Lonely,” Real Simple, Jan. 22, 2019
- “Tackling Death Over Coffee,”Folks: A Pillpack Magazine. Dec. 5, 2017
- “Overcoming the Fear of Solitude,” Psychology Today, Aug. 6, 2017
- “Walking can improve learning, memory – and possibly delay Alzheimer’s,” The Big Issue, July 13, 2017
- “The Virtues of Isolation,” The Atlantic, March 30, 2017
- “Sylvester Turner calls Houston nation’s most diverse city,” Politifact.com/Texas, Sept. 23, 2016
- “The Death Café: Step Right In,” California Health Report, March 28, 2016
- “On the Ethnopolitics of Burma,” The Scholar’s Circle Radio. May 25, 2014
- “So-Called Death Cafes Help Grieving Talk Openly about Taboo Topic,” KTLA News, May 21, 2014
- “Report: Asian-Americans grow beyond coastal hubs,” San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Oct. 30, 2011
B.A., Communications, Cal Poly Pomona
M.A., Sociology, San Jose State University
M.A., Ph.D., Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz
Conversationally fluent in Thai, Mandarin and Cantonese.