Andrew Alan Johnson’s research focuses upon the afterlife of environmental and economic catastrophe in the northern and northeastern region of Thailand. His first book, Ghosts of the New City, takes a historical look at the idea of the city in northern Thailand. Taking post-economic crisis Chiang Mai as a starting point, Johnson traces its transformation from Buddhist center to nationalist symbol to site of anxiety as the very idea of progress reaches a state of crisis. His current project looks at spectral sources of power in the lives of Lao-speaking fishermen and migrant workers from the Mekong River in the wake of massive dam projects and environmental disruption.
Before joining Princeton, Johnson was an inaugural faculty member at Yale-NUS College in Singapore. He has also held postdoctoral positions and assistant professor positions, respectively, in Southeast Asia-oriented research programs worldwide, including the National University of Singapore’s Asia Research Institute (Singapore) and the Sogang Institute for East Asian Studies (South Korea). Finally, he has held affiliations with Aarhus University (Denmark), Göttingen University’s Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia (Germany), and Chiang Mai University’s Centre for ASEAN Studies (Thailand).