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Reading Groups bring together students, faculty members, practitioners, and researchers from multi-disciplinary backgrounds to think together about topics specific to each reading Group’s theme. They aim to help students deepen their knowledge through in-class discussion, talks by invited speakers, and projects/interventions, guided by relevant readings from literature.

Reading Groups are not credit-bearing. Participation in a Reading Group will take approximately two to three hours per week during Semester.

CAPTains who are unable to take a college module to fulfil residency requirements can contact the Director of Studies to seek approval to participate in a Reading Group instead, on a case-by-case basis. This will usually involve writing an additional paper.

Here are the Reading Groups offered this semester (AY2018/2019 Semester 2).

Reading Groups

Living in a Welfare State
What does being ‘on the dole’ mean? What is it really like to live in a welfare state? Drawing upon examples of states that provide welfare-enhancing measures to the citizens, the convenors will use their insights (including from dispensing benefits advice) to explicate the effects of different aspects of the British and Canadian welfare systems (unemployment benefits, in-work benefits, disability benefits, retirement pensions and pension credit, housing benefits, health benefits, etc.). Participants will see how the different components inter-relate (or not) in a very complex manner.
Both academic and non-academic literature about welfare benefits will be explored and will cover not just the UK, but also Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Japan. It is intended that discussions will analyse benefits systems from theoretical perspectives ranging from political philosophy and political economy to social policy and social anthropology, and crucially, how such benefits might be implemented in Singapore.

Schedule

This group will meet on Wednesdays, from 4-6pm in the SR5. The first session will be held in Week 3 (30 Jan).

Contact

Dr Linda Matar (linda@nus.edu.sg)

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Minorities & Languages
This reading group will explore the policies, challenges and research related to minorities and languages, with a special focus on Singapore and the region.

Why is Mandarin an official language in Singapore and Hokkien only a “dialect”? What is the difference between a “dialect” and a “language”? How and why has the number of Indian languages available as Mother Tongue in schools expanded since independence? Why have other Southeast Asian countries chosen some languages over others for official status? The group will discuss these questions and consider how language and education policies relate to concepts of identity, ethnicity and nation building.

Schedule

This group will meet on Tuesdays, from 6-8pm in SR6. The first session will be held in Week 3 (29 Jan). The dates for the rest of the sessions will be announced at the first session.

Contact

Ms Wong Soon Fen (rc3wsf@nus.edu.sg)

Assoc Prof Bruce Lockhart (hisbl@nus.edu.sg)

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Discourses on Social Entrepreneurship: Enterprise vs Equality
The fields of Social Enterprise, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation are attracting a lot of attention and investment across different academic disciplines. The conceptual thread that unites the three is the process and practice of using entrepreneurial skills to confront major social and community development issues around the world. However, a key point of the contemporary debate in this area is whether the discourse on social entrepreneurship should be focused on the enterprise or on equality! This reading group aims to explore this debate by understanding the concepts: What is a social enterprise? What are the processes and practices of a social entrepreneur? What are the emerging tools of social innovation? By bringing together scholars from different disciplines (Business, Medicine, new Media & Communications, Education, Human Development and Social Work) with diverse perspectives on these topics, the group will provide a new framework to think about community engagement and the challenges of addressing social and environmental problems.

Schedule

This group will meet on Thursdays, from 6-8pm in SR5.The first session will be held in Week 3 (31 Jan)

Contact

Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay (kankana.m@nus.edu.sg)

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