Singapore’s transformation as a “developing country” that is now part of the “First World” has often been considered exemplary. However, the island-city-nation-state also represents an exceptional case. In attempting to understand Singapore as a ‘society’ and Singaporeans as a ‘people’, we first trace its historical roots in pre-modern Southeast Asia and its evolution as a port city and British colony. Against the backdrop of the politics of decolonization, we examine the formation of Singapore as a nation-state, especially the impact of state-led modernization in shaping everyday life and social development. In so doing, we analyze the interrelationships between political rule, economic structure, and cultural change. In particular, we focus on themes such as globalization, nation-building and citizenship, ethnicity, language and religion, population planning and the family, class and gender, and civil society.
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every semester