FASS Staff Profile


AS1 #03-21

Brief Introduction

I hold a joint-appointment with the Departments of Sociology and Malay Studies. I obtained my Ph.D. (summa cum laude) from the University of Bielefeld in Germany after completing both my masters and undergraduate degrees from the Department of Sociology here in NUS. My core research interests are religion and society, particularly in relation to spirit possession and everyday religiosity; deviance and social control; and sensory studies. Outside of NUS, I have been elected as Secretary-Treasurer of TG07 Senses and Society, International Sociological Association (ISA) since 2012.

Teaching Areas

Department of Sociology

  • Ghosts and Society in Society and Culture
  • Singapore: Imagining the Next 50 Years
  • Introduction to Sociology/Making Sense of Society
  • Singapore Society

Department of Malay Studies

  • Ethnicity and Nation-Building: Singapore and Malaysia
  • Malay Culture and Society
  • Graduate Research Seminar

Graduate Supervision

In Progress

  • Joel Skadiang (2018 to present): Subcultural Capital and Transgression in the Extreme Metal Subgenre
  • Yang Yi-Ju Doris (2019 to present): Gender and the Javanese-ness of Pesantren - The Case of Yogyakarta

Research Interests

Religion and Society
Sensory Studies
Deviance and Social Control
Everyday Life



  • (2017). ‘Singapore Sociology: After Multiracialism’, Global Dialogue, 7(1).
  • (2007). ‘An Interview with Professor Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka’ (with Kelvin Low), International Sociological Association (ISA) E-Bulletin, 8.
  • (2005). ‘Academic Colonialism, Corporate Intellectuals, and “Lost” Ideals: Reflections on the State of Sociology in the New Millennium’ (with Kelvin Low), International Sociological Association (ISA) E-Bulletin, 2, pp. 26-32.  
  • (2005). ‘Exploring the Constructions of the “Drug Problem” in Historical and Contemporary Singapore’, New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, 7(2), pp. 40-70.
  • (2005). ‘Foreign Bodies at Work: Good, Docile and Other-ed.’ Asian Journal of Social Science 33(2), pp. 223-45.


  • (2019, forthcoming). ‘Inter-Cultural Encounters with Malay Food: Ethnicity, Hybridity, Cosmopolitanism’, in Zainul Abidin Rasheed and Mr Wan Hussin Zoohri (eds.) 200 Years of Malays in Singapore, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.
  • (2019, forthcoming). ‘Sensory Experience as Method’ (with Kelvin Low), in Natalie Boero and Kate Mason (eds.) Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of the Body and Embodiment, New York: Oxford.
  • (2019). ‘Vulnerability in the Field: Emotions, Experiences and Encounters with Ghosts and Spirits’, in Thomas Stodulka, Ferdiansyah Thajib and Samia Dinkelaker (eds.) Affective Dimensions of Fieldwork, New York: Springer.
  • (2019). ‘Unpacking Emotional Regimes in Pedagogy and Fieldwork’ (with Kelvin Low), in Thomas Stodulka, Ferdiansyah Thajib and Samia Dinkelaker (eds.) Affective Dimensions of Fieldwork, New York: Springer.
  • (2010). ‘Comfort Food, Memory, and “Home”: Senses in Transnational Contexts’, in Devorah Kalekin-Fishman and Kelvin E.Y. Low (eds.) Everyday Life in Asia: Social Perspectives on the Senses, Burlington: Ashgate, pp. 157-76.


  • (2019). (with Kelvin E.Y. Low and Qiushi Feng). ‘Sensory Disability’. Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging, Basingstoke: Springer Nature.
  • (2006). Singapore: The Encyclopedia (with others), Singapore: Editions Didier Millet and the National Heritage Board.


  • (2018). Review of Volker Gottowik (ed.) ‘Dynamics of Religion in Southeast Asia: Magic and Modernity’, Asian Journal of Social Science, 46(4-5): 565-67.
  • (2012). Review of Ko-lin Chin. ‘The Golden Triangle: Inside Southeast Asia’s Drug Trade’. Asian Journal of Social Science, 40(4)
  • (2009). Review of Syed Farid Alatas. ‘Alternative Discourses in Asian Social Science: Responses of Eurocentricism’. Asian Journal of Social Science, 37(1): 175-78.
  • (2008). Review of Karen Fjelstad and Nguyen Thi Hien (eds.) ‘Possessed by the Spirits: Mediumship in Contemporary Vietnamese Communities’. Asian Journal of Social Science, 36(3-4): 684-86.


  • (2018). ‘Sensory Politics in a Multicultural Nation-State: Foodways, Religion and the Everyday’. Conference Paper. Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities. XIX International Sociological Association (ISA) World Congress in Sociology, Toronto, 15-21 July 2018.
  • (2016). ‘Beyond the Material Turn? Sensory Interrogations in Religion and Spirituality’. Conference Paper. The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World, Third International Sociological Association (ISA) Forum of Sociology, Vienna, 10-14 July 2016.
  • (2014). ‘Smelly Mouths, Moral Selves and the Management of Olfactory Transgressions in Everyday Life.’ Conference Paper. Facing an Unequal World: Challenges for Global Sociology, XVIII International Sociological Association (ISA) World Congress in Sociology, Yokohama, 13-19 July 2014.
  • (2010). ‘Raves, Drugs, and “Resistance”: Popular Culture, Youth and the Meaningfulness of ATS Use’. Conference Paper. Sociology on the Move, XVII International Sociological Association (ISA) World Congress in Sociology, Gothenburg, 11-17 July 2010.


  • (2019). ‘The Mobile Life of the Senses in Migratory-Urban Contexts.’ (with Kelvin Low), Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universitaet Berlin, 9 July 2019.
  • (Invited, 2018). ‘Sea Genies and the Monstrous-Feminine: Spirits, Horror, Anxieties’, Leibniz Institute/University of Bremen, 18 December 2018.
  • (Invited, 2018). ‘Decentring the Social Sciences: Relevance, Resonance, Revisions’, Shaping Asia/s. Connectivities, Comparisons, Collaborations, Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (ZIF)/ Center for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Bielefeld, 6-7 February 2018.
  • (Invited, 2017). ‘Sensory Transgression in a Multicultural City-State: Food, Islam, and the Politics of Everyday Life’, Pleasure, Providence and Purity: An International Conference on Food and Drink in Islamic Societies and Cultures, Centre for the Study of Islamic Culture, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 27-28 April 2017.
  • (Invited, 2017). ‘Harmony as Repressive? Sensory Transgression, Religion and the Everyday’, Keynote Talk, University of Liverpool Singapore Criminology Student Conference, 1 June 2017.
  • (Invited, 2015). ‘Sensory Politics, Multiculturalism and Everyday Life in Singapore’, University of Bielefeld, 19 May 2015.
  • (Invited, 2015). ‘Thinking About the Past: Critical Reflections’. Sis(wa)ra: Di Manakah Mulanya Sejarah Melayu (Where Did Singapore’s History Begin?), CITA: Sejarah dan Warga, Singapore, 4 April 2015.


  • (2007). ‘Rave Encounters and the Meaningfulness of ATS Use: Realms of Alternative Possibilities in Singapore’, National University of Singapore, Department of Sociology Working Paper Series, No. 185, 31pp.
  • (2005). ‘The Social Construction of the “Drug Problem” in Historical and Contemporary Singapore’, National University of Singapore, Department of Sociology Working Paper Series, No. 175, 38pp. 
  • (2004). ‘(Re)thinking the Categories of Halal and Haram: Notes on Islamic Food Rules in Singapore’, National University of Singapore, Department of Sociology Working Paper Series, No. 168, 37pp. 

Other Information

Professional Service

  • Elected Secretary/Treasurer, Thematic Group TG07, International Sociological Association (ISA), 2012-Present
  • Advisory Committee, Research and Engagement Department, Singapore Muslim Women’s Association (PPIS), August 2017-Present
  • Occasional Reviewer: Current Sociology; Routledge; Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies; Asian Journal of Social Science; UP Asian Studies

Professional Affiliation

  • Member, International Sociological Association
  • Member, Global Studies Association
  • Member, Hong Kong Sociological Association

Workshop Organisation

  • Co-organiser, 'Shaping Migrant and Mobile Worlds: Connectivities, Comparisons, Collaborations.' workshop, NUS FASS Migration Cluster, Shaping Asia Network, and Department of Sociology, NUS, February 2019.
  • Conference Organiser, Re-thinking and Re-searching the Social Sciences: Interdisciplinary Writings and Inquiries in a Globalising Era. National University of Singapore, 2005.

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