(print this) IRVING JOHNSON
Associate Professor
Irving Johnson has had a long standing interest in Southeast Asia, particularly in the areas of art, traditional performance and borderland identities. Growing up listening to stories of corpse chin oil, violent deaths and magic from his Kelantanese Thai mother and grandfather, Irving decided to explore the role of dance and magic in a small Thai village in Kelantan as part of his undergraduate (Honours) research at the Southeast Asian Studies Programme, NUS. Returning to Kelantan annually to visit family and friends, Irving's interest in the small Buddhist community soon developed from one of that revolved around things that go bump in the night, to issues of cultural identity. Irving received his PhD in Social Anthropology from Harvard University in 2004 where he worked on issues of marginality, borders, movements and history in Kelantan's northern frontier. Irving has continued to pursue his passion in traditional art and theatre in the region, in particularly, Kelantan, Thailand and Bali. He has studies Balinese masked dance (topeng), classical Thai dance and is an accomplished Thai mural painter. When he is not teaching classes or eating dried fish, Irving enjoys painting old-school (Rama III) type Thai pictures and performing southern Thai shadow puppetry.