Ph.D., University of Michigan
Phone: (951) 827-3726
Office: INTS 3110
Areas of Interest:
- Mainland Southeast Asian performance traditions
- Asian American performance
- Performance studies
- Cultural studies
- Identity politics
- Popular culture
- Mass media
Deborah Wong is an ethnomusicologist and specializes in the musics of Thailand and Asian America. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. (1991) from the University of Michigan, where she worked with ethnomusicologist Judith Becker. Her B.A., magna cum laude (1982), in anthropology and music, is from the University of Pennsylvania.
Her first book, Sounding the Center: History and Aesthetics in Thai Buddhist Ritual (Chicago University Press, 2001), addresses ritual performance about performance and its implications for the cultural politics of Thai court music and dance in late twentieth-century Bangkok. Speak It Louder: Asian Americans Making Music (Routledge, 2004), focuses on music, race, and identity work in a series of case studies (Southeast Asian immigrant musics, Chinese American and Japanese American jazz in the Bay Area, and Asian American hip-hop).
She has taught at UCR since fall 1996 and is Professor of Music. Wong also taught as Assistant Professor of Music at Pomona College (1991-93) and at the University of Pennsylvania (1993-96); she has also been a visiting professor at Princeton University and the University of Chicago.
Wong is deeply involved with the Society for Ethnomusicology. She served as its President from 2007-09, on its Board of Directors for three consecutive terms as Secretary (1999-2001, 2001-03, 2003-05), and on the SEM Council (1992-94 and 2006-07)). She was president of the SEM Mid-Atlantic Chapter (1994-96), and served as co-editor of the SEM Newsletter with René T.A. Lysloff from 1994-99. She founded the SEM Committee on the Status of Women with Elizabeth Tolbert in 1996.
Asian American issues and activities are a priority for Wong. She has served on numerous committees addressing issues in Asian American studies curriculum as well as Asian American student needs. She has studied Japanese American drumming (taiko) since 1997 and is a member of Satori Daiko, the performing group of the Taiko Center of Los Angeles. Her book in progress will address taiko in California.
Born on the East Coast, Wong is now an enthusiastic Californian. She self-identifies as Chinese American (third generation), multiethnic, hapa haole, and Asian American. Thanks to the support of the Chancellor’s office, she is a graduate of the 2007 class of Leadership Riverside, a community training program organized by the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce. She is currently the President of the Board of Directors for the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, a non-profit organization that provides advocacy, resources, and connections for folk and traditional artists.
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