Aihwa Ong is Professor in Anthropology Amerita at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a member of the Science Council of the International Panel on Social Progress.
Recently, she was invited to be the 2020 SSRC Research Council Fellow Her lecture is entitled "Cloned Monkeys & Gene-edited Babies: Productive Uncertainty in China's Biosecurity."
Ong's study of flows and their ensuing entanglements tends to unsettle stabilized viewpoints and units of analysis in the social sciences. Her inquiry explores how assemblages of technology, politics and cultures crystallize emerging contexts of globality. She has published on a range of subjects: female labor in runaway factories; Asian immigrants in the United States; neoliberal norms in China; and Asian mega cities. More recently, she studies how Asian life science projects, and Chinese experimental art, respectively, mediate and transform global flows. She has lectured internationally and been invited to the World Economic Forum. Her awards include grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation, and some book prizes.
Ong is the author of five works: Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life (2016); Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty (2006); Buddha is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America (2003);Flexible Citizenship: the Cultural Logics of Transnationality (1999), an academic bestseller; and Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline: Factory Women in Malaysia (1986), widely recognized as a classic ethnography of global labor.
She is also the co-editor of Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics and Ethics as Anthropological Problems (2005, coeditor Stephen J. Collier). Other co-edited works include Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global (2011); Asian Biotech: Ethics and Communities of Fate (2010); Privatizing China: Socialism from Afar (2008); and Ungrounded Empires: the Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism (1997). Her writings are translated into European and Asian languages.
2022 "Buoyancy: Blue Territorialization of Chinese Power," in Voluminous States, edited by Franck Bille. Durham: Duke University Press, pp. 191-203
2022 “Citizenship: Flexible, Fungible, and Fragile,” Citizenship Studies, June 2022
2017 "Buoy." Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropolog website, October 24, 2017.
2015 "Why Singapore Trumps Iceland: Gathering Genes in the Wild," Journal of Cultural Economy, vol. 8, no. 3.
2013 A Milieu of Mutations: The Pluripotency and Fungibility of Life in Asia, *East Asian Science, Technology and Society* (2013) 7:1–18
2012 Powers of Sovereignty: State, People, Wealth, Life, in *Focaal, Journal of Global & Historical Anthropology*. 62 (2012): 24-35
2012 What Marco Polo Forgot: Asian Art Negotiates the Global, *Current Anthropology* Volume 53, Number 4, August 2012
2011 Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments or the Art of Being Global. Blackwell, 2011
2008 Privatizing China, Socialism from Afar. Cornell University Press (co-editor Li Zhang)
2008 “The Human and Ethical Living,” In Globalizing the Research Imagination, ed. Jane Kenway and Johannah Fahey, pp.87-100. London: Routledge
2006, “Neoliberalism as a Mobile Technology,” Transactions 31 (2006) 1-6
2006. “Please Stay: Pied-a-Terre Subjects in the Megacity,” Citizenship Studies Vol. 11, no. 1 (2007): 83-93.
2006. Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty. Durham: Duke University Press.
2006. "Experiments with Freedom: Milieus of the Human." American Literary History (March 1, 2006).
2004. Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics and Ethics as Anthropological Problems (co-editor Stephen J. Collier). Malden, Ma. and Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.
2004. "The Chinese Axis: Zoning Technologies and Variegated Sovereignty," Journal of East Asian Studies 4 (2004), 69-96.
2003. Buddha in Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, and the New America (University of California Press, Public Anthropology Series). (Italian translation, 2005.)
2003. "Cyberpublics and Diaspora Politics among Transnational Chinese" Interventions 5(1):82-100.
2003. "Higher Learning: Educational Availability and Flexible Citizenship in Global Space" in Diversity and Citizenship Education, ed. James A. Banks, New York: J. Wiley, pp. 49-70.
2001. Modernity, Anthropological Aspects. In International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 15. N. J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes, eds. Pp. 9944-49. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Oxford: Pergamon.
2000. Graduated Sovereignty in Southeast Asia. Theory, Culture, and Society. 17(4):55-75.
1999. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press. Honorable Mention, Senior Prize, American Ethnological Association (2000) and Cultural Studies Book Award, Association for Asian American Studies (2001). (German translation, 2004.)
1999. "Muslim Feminists in the Shelter of Corporate Islam," Citizenship Studies Vol. 3, no. 3:355-71.
1997. Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism (co-edited with Donald Nonini). New York: Routledge.
1995. Bewitching Women, Pious Men: Gender and Body Politics in Southeast Asia. Michael Peletz (co-editor). Berkeley: University of California Press.
1987. Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline: Factory Women in Malaysia. Albany: State University of New York Press.