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Senior Seminars

Please visit Module Registration for the list of modules offered in the current semester and timetable updates.

Senior Seminars / FacultySynopses
UTC2400 Community Leadership
Dr Tan Lai Yong & Angie Tan
This interdisciplinary module introduces and examines the idea of ‘community leadership’. It focuses on how ordinary individuals identify social needs in the local community and endeavour to improve the lives of vulnerable groups by organising grassroots solutions. These individuals include grassroot leaders in HDB areas, social entrepreneurs and business people. They could be well known personalities or ordinary unsung heroes. Students are required to investigate the emergence of pioneering community leaders combining the socio-historical contexts, personal psychology, networking, negotiation, and socialisation processes and social entrepreneurship. The teaching methodology incorporates lectures, seminar discussion, experiential exercises and field study to interview real-life community leaders.
UTC2403/UTS2403 Citizenship in a Changing World
Dr Daniel Jew & Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay
Originally a concept which bound individual members to a defined nation via relations of rights and responsibilities, “citizenship” in the 21st century is coming under unprecedented pressure from technological change and globalization. This module will trace the development of the concept, the values and social assumptions which underpin citizenship, and the interactions between liberal, communitarian and civic narratives of citizenship from ancient Greece to contemporary Singapore. Three key relationships are considered: the rights and duties of citizens in relation to government, to other citizens, and to non-citizens in and beyond the polity.
UTC2404 (Re)Building Communities: Insights from India
MS Wong Soon Fen & Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay
This module explores the concepts, practices and issues related to “community development”. It focuses on the building and/or rebuilding of marginalised communities (e.g. women, the poor) in developing Asia, particularly within the context of India. It offers students an interactive learning opportunity that combines development theory, classroom discussions in Singapore, and field visits in India. Students will critically examine debates about the nature of community development as well as ethical, social and economic challenges of different models.
UTC2405 Emerging Asia: Successes and Challenges
Dr Linda Matar
Why do certain societies succeed, while others fail? While some countries in East Asia such as Singapore and South Korea have achieved economic success, others in the Middle East (or ‘West Asia’) have undergone a trend of de-development, evident in the post-‘Arab Spring’social unrest. This module explores the contrasting social and economic development models of Asia’s regions. We will explore how states are formed, different economic strategies countries have pursued, weigh the impact of culture, and examine social deprivation and autocratic leadership. We uncover the deep-rooted social and economic reasons behind successful or failed development in different Asian countries.
UTC2407/UTS2405 Work and Inequality
*new module from AY1718 Semester 2*

Dr Yasmin Y. Ortiga
This module introduces students to the concept of “invisible work” – tasks that are an integral part of everyday life, yet remain unrecognized and devalued by employers, governments, consumers and even workers themselves. Students will learn about different conceptualizations of paid and unpaid work, gendered and racialized labor, and the challenges posed by a global market that increasingly relies on flexible, short-term contracts. Drawing from the disciplines of sociology, geography, and anthropology, readings will discuss domestic and professional care work, the emotional labour of service work, and the “hidden” work of information technology industries and business process outsourcing.
UTC2408/UTS2406 Beyond Seeing: Looking at Art
*new module from AY1718 Semester 2*

A/Prof Greg Petersen
Are you curious about the visual arts and their role in society? This senior seminar explores visual perception and the social dimensions of art, examining history, cultural values, symbolic meaning, and how these influence ways of seeing in Singapore and beyond. Through interactive activities, guest speakers from the arts world and museum visits, we will find out how some art works changed the world or are highly valued, and why others have gone unnoticed or discarded. Students will explore the socio-economic contexts that create cultural and counter-cultural movements, as well as cross-cultural exchanges in the art world.
UTS2400 Identities in Asia
A/Prof Anne Raffin, Dr Kevin McGahan & Dr Kankana Mukhopadhyay
This course explores identity-formation in Asia from top-down and bottom-up perspectives, by looking at how authorities, communities and individuals construct their collective identities. The concept of ‘identity’ is a contentious site as it deals with issues of belonging, imagining communities and defining one’s trajectory (identity-formation). Looking at historical cases to cross-compare examples among Asian societies, the course aims to encourage students to investigate groups and their relationships to their surrounding communities (families, societies and gender) and to examine the relations between state and identity, and between social activism and identity.
UTS2402/UTC2402 Environment and Civil Society in Singapore
Dr Joelle Lai & Dr Toh Tai Chong
How ‘green’ is Singapore and how should we preserve biodiversity on this island? This GEM explores the rise of the conservation ethic in Singapore. It traces the scientific, social and economic conditions that gave rise to the global environmental movement, and to its various expressions in Singapore. Students will engage with stakeholders (scientists, officials, civil society) to understand the conflicts and collaborations between advocates of development and conservation. The class will make field trips to evaluate state-civil society partnerships (wildlife sanctuaries, green corridors, water catchment etc), and debate choices and dilemmas for the future.