Professor of Sociology
Dr. Kirk Johnson was raised for most of his childhood in the mountains of Western India, where he attended an International Baha’i School with students from over 34 different countries. This experience had a profound and indelible impact on his life, world view, and the course of his future career. He returned to the United States for university at the age of 17 and found himself drawn to the social sciences while an undergraduate at Fort Hays State University in Kansas. After earning his baccalaureate degree, he moved to Ohio University, where he earned two master’s degrees in sociology and in international development. Dr. Johnson’s doctoral research while at McGill University in Montreal Canada took him back to the mountains of his youth where he explored the influence of television on the lives of villagers in India.
He then moved to the Pacific, where he has worked at the University of Guam as a professor of sociology for the past two decades. Dr. Johnson has served as director of the Bali Field School, a community development project, since 2004, providing students an opportunity to explore, through a cross-cultural lens, the dynamics between tradition and modernity, globalization and the survival of indigenous peoples and cultures, and highlights the complexity and tensions of social change in the 21st century. His work and service has taken him throughout the Pacific to island nations including Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Kiribati, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Hawaii, the Northern Mariana Islands, and New Zealand. His work in Asia has been primarily in India and Indonesia.
He has published numerous books and journal articles, given over 30 conference presentations around the world focusing on research in the areas of development and social change, religion and education, human ecology, and sustainability. Dr. Johnson’s ongoing work in the Pacific Asia region has allowed him to learn firsthand about the processes of community development and capacity building at the grassroots in many different settings.
Click on the links below to find out more about the Bali Field School, an annual course that is held each year over spring break.
The 2007 Bali Field School produced a five-part documentary series titled "Casting Our Net: Rediscovering Community in the 21st Century." It has been screened at three international academic conferences as well as in Bali, Indonesia.