Design-X Project: To Remember, Forget, and Commemorate

Project advisors: 
Dr Lee Mia Ching, email:, tel: +65 6240 8935
Dr. Janice Kam, email:, tel: +65 6248 0326 

Why are some events remembered while others are forgotten? And, who decides?

What we remember and what we forget are key elements in creating a national identity, a collective memory, and a sense of self. Commemorative events, monuments, school textbooks, national holidays all play an important role in establishing what remains a part of the collective conscience. Yet, how do those decisions get made and why?

This course will examine the concepts of state memory, collective memory, collective amnesia, and censorship. Students will, through the use of case studies think through the ways historical actors politicize history and include or exclude various elements and groups. They will also consider how diverse perspectives and depictions of the past can be recovered as people create their own historical narratives.

Through collaboration with local heritage offices, archives, and the Ministry of Education, students will examine the politics of remembrance and forgetting in the context of historical depictions of the pioneer generation and its leaders. Students will reflect on how stories of the nation’s founders provide insight into current understandings of national identity and visions for the future. 

Students will learn the elements of historical research in the following ways:

  1. Evaluate historical narratives (historiography)
  2. Identify relevant primary and secondary sources
  3. Conduct independent research
  4. Reflect on inclusion and exclusion in history writing
  5. Analyse historical depictions of the pioneer generation and its leaders
  6. Present finished poster

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